Meet Chingngam Awungshi Shimray, a Mumbai based fashion designer who recently started her own label inspired by the fashion scene in Harajuku street – centre of Japanese youth culture and fashion – which started as a result of the young people’s curiosity towards western culture.
Harajuku fashion can be described as an outer expression of something inside that is just waiting to get out and this is how people in Japan use fashion – as a means to express themselves. Chingngam Awungshi Shimray is one such designer who brings out her inner expressions and creativity through her clothes and describes her clothing label as ‘fun fashion‘.
I had a brief chat with the upcoming designer over WhatsApp , and here’s an excerpt :
- Tell us something about yourself
“I am from Manipur. After graduating from St. Mary’s college in Shillong Meghalaya, I followed my heart to become a fashion designer and moved to Mumbai. As a fashion designer, I believe that inspiration does not have a measure. It hits me at random moments . But, I do have to say the Japanese street fashion has always been my compass – at least so far.”
- So how did it all start?
I was gifted my first ever doll on my third birthday by a family friend and this was back in the early nineties. In the midst of cooking up ideas for new designs to dress up my doll, I found my passion at a very young age. I was hooked to playing dress up and the magic they can do to transform your whole look.
I’ve been designing for a year now, starting my own label wasn’t planned. After graduating from fashion college, I did not take up any job offers as they were design styles were very different.And to be quite honest, working under someone was not what I had in mind. I, in my own childish stubborn head, wanted to create something untraditional.
- You say your main source of inspiration is Harajuku [in Japan]. What about your roots? How do they inspire you?
The fact that Harajuku is an outer expression of something inside that is just waiting to get out – is so relatable to me.My designs are all about expressing your true self – about celebrating individuality and the added eccentricity that comes along with it. That is where I see a connection between my Harajuku fashion and my roots. From where I come from, people value individuality a lot, and fashion is often used as a form of self expression – to stand out from the crowd. That’s the spirit I want to encourage through my designs. It is amazing to acknowledge just how far we’ve all come. In a few years time, I am confident that North East (of India) will soon become the Harajuku (fashion centre) of India.
- Anything else you would love to share with the readers of R&L?
A lot of people back home have the misconception that fashion is a waste of time and too shallow to be taken seriously – especially as a career. But I would say that, it is far from the truth. As long as you are focussed and talented – and work hard enough , you can achieve great heights in your career. Also, be open to new learnings always – without losing sight of where you’re from. Be proud of your roots. Always 🙂
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