Amaan’s pursuit of fashion designing was purely accidental as she was inclined towards either studying math or garment design but managed to get through the University of the Arts in London right after school. Being an introvert by nature, fashion helps her put across her thoughts and views on different things through her very own creative expression. For her, it is a medium of personal expression on subjects that speak to her. Whilst they may vary or be considered beautiful or gruesome at the same time, interpreting and channelling these thoughts by manipulating fabric in a way that it enhances the beauty and makes a person look and feel empowered, has been crucial to her process. She has newly launched a series of “conceptual corsets”, titled “Surgical Distortion’s.”
She was born in Kashmir and in order to have a stable life and better opportunities for personal growth, she, her mother and brother moved to Delhi, where she pursued her schooling. However, the rest of her family still resides in Kashmir and she goes back every chance she gets, identifying that as ‘home’. Even though she has lived in Delhi for the time period of her schooling, she always felt like an outsider. The opportunity to live and study in London is where she thinks she truly became conscious of her interests and developed her identity as a creative soul. In her second year in London, an inclination towards bespoke tailoring and a project exploring the concept of ‘Gender Ambiguity’, led her to Savile Row where she was privileged to shadow and receive training in the preserved tradition and craft of Bespoke Tailoring: Jacket Making, from Mr George Adamou at the prestigious firm: Anderson & Sheppard. Later, after graduating with First Class Honours in 2014, she proceeded to be a part of a small yet highly talented organisation, assisting in the realisation and development of the ‘immersive’ presentation and collection of Gareth Pugh, London. After becoming a fashion graduate, she looked forward to putting her skills to use in a practical and commercial environment and was recently fortunate to explore and work on the diverse branches that constitute a global brand, Thom Browne, NY: Menswear and Womenswear, runway and commercial. Working in coordination with the highly skilled and valued sewing team from Japan, she assisted in the creation, as well as organisation of the Women’s SS 17 Runway presentation for the brand.
As Pablo Picasso said ‘Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist…’ she believes that to create a piece of work that is purely true to your personal vision, one needs to completely immerse oneself in the traditions and craftsmanship, study and question them in order to successfully 'decipher' and ‘sabotage’ them with time and knowledge. This juxtaposed with the personal identity of both the craftsman and client is essential to construct modern identities while evoking a sense of empowerment from the garment. Having an interest in human psychology, she tries to understand and learn from the minds of the people she meets and by studying the lifestyle and work of the artists, musicians and women in history that inspire her. By thoroughly researching books and watching documentaries, she likes to immerse herself both emotionally and mentally into the subject matter in order to have a comprehensive understanding and a sincere perception. Inspired by strong women such as Queen Victoria, she has a deep interest in British history and its impact on shaping different nations around the world, especially India. Originally from India and having studied in London for four years, she likes discovering the diverse links connecting the two nations, in terms of history, ideologies and the diverse forms of dressing. Visiting museums, historic sites and distant villages, to learn about specific skills and the varied ways of survival, facilitates this.
Exploring the dichotomy between power and restraint ideologically enacted upon the female body, while portraying contradicting connotations of elegance and repression, empowerment and victimisation. Drawing on the research studies of Valerie Steele, the chief curator and acting director of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, ‘Surgical Distortions’ intends to use the study of corsetry to unveil the symbiosis of ideology with fashion to define the beauty standards and help create the idealised image as a cultural construct in Western society. Through a series of ‘conceptual corsets’, she aims to investigate the contradicting perceptions of the corset as an ‘instrument of torture’, while being symbolic of power, rebellion and female sexual empowerment. While the garment itself has fallen out of fashion, comparing it to present day trends of body modification, it can be observed that the corset ‘represents a fundamental shift in the concept of clothing and tailoring; instead of shaping clothes to the body, as had been done throughout the Middle ages and Renaissance, the body began to conform to the fashionable shape of the clothing worn.’
In order to do further develop her knowledge and skills of bespoke tailoring, she aims to do a cutting apprenticeship at Savile Row in the near future. Her new project after ‘Surgical Distortions’ explores the powerful yet complicated history of the pantsuit, ‘Tailored Migration’ and aims to discuss the aspirations of strong women seeking to defy gender norms and inciting public disapproval that intent on keeping us in our place. Distorting the lines between the masculine and feminine characteristics, with a keen interest in British bespoke tailoring; the concept of ‘gender ambiguity’ and ‘rebirth’ is explored through a series of tailored garments. With this collection she aims to throw light on the concept of the thought process, which speak of the resurrection of a tainted phoenix, depicted in the form of a woman. A woman who just likes a phoenix ‘in order to rise from its own ashes… first must burn.’ A beautiful transition and exploration of finding beauty in the darkest of places, through strong silhouettes and traditional hand stitching techniques, she aims to portray the essence of strength and beauty. An experimental process of deconstruction and reconstruction is executed through the observation of a classic tailored men’s jacket on a woman. Using its minimalism and construction to create an illusion of empowerment. This is done through the cut and application of the acquired knowledge and skill of hand stitching techniques [through her previous experience at Savile Row] on the garment.
TEXT NIDHI VERMA