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Modernity polished by Tradition: Fashion Designer Kazingmei becomes trend-setter with his Edgy Designs

Kazingmei’s latest collection had been named “Reptonic” and was recently showcased at the Lakme Fashion Week’16

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Asa Kazingmei with a model adorning his Reptonic collection. Image Source : morung.com
  • Kazingmei is indigenous to the art of sewing and stitching from his experience of mending his own clothes since the very beginning
  • Being a resident of Manipur, he had been greatly influenced by the Hallyu wave which could be found in all the films, songs and other cultural manifestations of the place
  • In 2012, launched one of his own line of clothes: Immoral, which was dedicated to the Naga tribes

There has always been a lot of tension between the north-eastern states of India and the rest of India. Rarely, but there are few people who can bridge the gap with their creativity. To make the bond strong, Trend MMS of Assam and the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region organised a show called “Colours of Northeast” on June 29. The show was a gala celebration of the culture of North-east India itself.

Asa Kazingmei, the most popular Naga designer displayed his garments, along with some other contemporaries.

Kazingmei. Image Courtesy : fashioncentral.in
Kazingmei. Image Source: fashioncentral.in
  • Kazingmei is indigenous to the art of sewing and stitching from his experience of mending his own clothes since the very beginning. It had urged him to pursue a career in fashion. This dream of his had taken him to Mumbai, from where he completed his course in fashion designing. International Institute of Fashion Design in Bandra served as his Alma mater. Finally, his edgy style of designing presented him with the opportunity of debuting at the Lakme Fashion Week as one of the seven Gen Next designers, reported the Hindu.
  • Being a resident of Manipur, he had been greatly influenced by the Hallyu wave which could be found in all the films, songs and other cultural manifestations of the place. As a Korean film buff, he manufactures a lot of layered scarves, garments with a burst of pop colours and zany jackets.
  • 2012 had proved to be a landmark event in his career. It bore witness to the launch of his own line of clothes: Immoral, which was dedicated to the Naga tribes. The apparels were greatly applauded at the Lakme Fashion Week’12.
  • Kazingmei had always been adept in martial arts. He is a black belt holder and had taken part in numerous state and district level championships when he was younger. Becoming a martial arts instructor would have been his alternative career choice, mentions the Hindu.
An example of his Changvei collection. Image courtesy : morung.com
An example of his Changvei collection. Image courtesy : morung.com
  • In 2014, his Changvei collection, inspired by the Naga warriors’ shield created a lot of buzz in the Lakme Fashion Week. The thick denims, leather and monotone of black exuded a strong vibe.
  • Kazingmei’s latest collection had been named “Reptonic” and was recently showcased at the Lakme Fashion Week’16. It earned a name for the beautiful use of satin, lace, net, crystal and golden leather, the long, floaty and textured silhouettes.

Other than that, Asa Kazingmei’s designs have become a regular in the Bollywood films. Some of the movies that showcased his garments were Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, Dhoom 3, and Bang Bang. We wish him all the best for his future endeavours. He is an inspiration for all the youngsters of not only north-east India but the entire country.

-This article is compiled by a staff-writer at NewsGram.

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    Amazing that people from north east are taking part in such bug events showcasing their talents in front of the world

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Manipuri Women Are Breaking Barriers, The Birthplace Of Modern Polo

"Their enthusiasm lit a desire in me to play polo. I've felt close to horses since my uncle brought them home. But before that, horses roamed about everywhere. My family was not very well off and my uncle couldn't afford to buy a horse,"

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"Here is one (polo) community whose welfare is so closely tied with the welfare of the animal on which the game is played. We felt that since India did not have any women's polo tournament, Manipur could be, and should be, the home of women's polo in India," Somi Roy says. Pixabay

Polo, often thought of as a game of the rich, has also been generally dominated by men. However, a quiet revolution is taking place at the very place where it all started – the northeast Indian state of Manipur, which is considered the birthplace of modern polo.

While men had been playing this game here for centuries, the spotlight has now shifted to women of the state who now field five professional polo teams to compete with the world’s best. These Manipuri women from humble backgrounds are not only shattering stereotypes that polo is a game for men, but also that it is the privilege of the rich.

L. Somi Roy, conservationist and partner at Huntre! Equine, has been one of the main crusaders for women’s polo in the state and sees it also as a campaign to save the iconic Manipuri pony, whose numbers have been declining over the years. He says while Manipuri women traditionally did not play polo as it was an equestrian game coming out of a martial tradition, in modern times, in the 1980s, they got inspired by their male relatives.

“The All Manipur Polo Association encouraged them. About 40-45 per cent of polo players in the world are women. So we are just catching up. It’s pretty gender free as a sport, so it puts them on the level of men when they play together,” Roy tells IANS.

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“Playing with the United States Polo Association (USPA) team was a great experience. Though their skills are very different from ours, we could learn a lot,” she says.
Pixabay

While Manipur produces one-third of male players and three-fourths of women players in the country, Roy says most of these players from an isolated, economically-underdeveloped state are not members of the Indian Polo Association.

Yet, the state has India’s longest polo season — November to March — with two international and four state tournaments, including the Manipur Statehood Day Women’s Polo Tournament, the only such tournament in India where teams from the US, UK, Canada, Kenya, Australia and Argentina have participated alongside Manipuri girls.

The matches are held in Imphal’s Mapal Kangjeibung Stadium, the oldest running polo ground in the world.

Filmmaker Roopa Barua, who started documenting the story of women’s polo in Manipur in 2016, says a young polo sisterhood is developing in the state that ploughs on despite adversity and political turmoil.

“Around 2014-15, there was an effort to bring in international women players to play in Manipur. Part of this effort was to create a campaign to save the Manipuri pony which is endangered. I saw a symbiotic relationship developing and I followed this story for four years,” she tells IANS.

This documentation culminated in a film which intends to take the story of these strong women players to the world. The documentary film, “Daughters of the Polo God” was showcased earlier this month at the IAWRT Asian Women’s Film Festival in New Delhi, and would also be screened at the Bombay Stock Exchange on March 26.

“Manipuri players are natural horsewomen and extremely athletic. As I stayed on throughout the tournament, I saw that women’s polo was becoming a growing story. The symbiotic relationship between women’s polo and the endangered Manipuri pony was a very unique concept,” Barua said.

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“Horses for centuries here are owned by people, they are trained, they are broken. And then they are let loose to graze freely in the open wetlands of Manipur.”
Pixabay

Nineteen-year-old Tanna Thoudam, one of the protagonists of the film, was inspired to play polo when she saw some women players playing in a match in 2010.

“Their enthusiasm lit a desire in me to play polo. I’ve felt close to horses since my uncle brought them home. But before that, horses roamed about everywhere. My family was not very well off and my uncle couldn’t afford to buy a horse,” she says.

Tanna joined the Assam Rifles Polo Club in 2011 and became the only junior to make it to the final Manipuri team for the 2017 Statehood Day Women’s Polo Tournament. “It was the happiest moment of my life.”

Thoinu Thoudum, founder of the Chingkhei Hunba Polo Club, says it is good to have a women’s tournament as it encourages girls to start playing polo while also showing solidarity and respect for women players.

Jetholia Thongbam started playing polo in 2016 and carried on even after her sister stopped playing following her marriage. She believes that Manipuri players are becoming better every year by playing with international players.

“Playing with the United States Polo Association (USPA) team was a great experience. Though their skills are very different from ours, we could learn a lot,” she says.

N. Ibungochoubi, Secretary of the Manipur Polo Society, says the relationship between Manipuris and horses is special.

“Horses for centuries here are owned by people, they are trained, they are broken. And then they are let loose to graze freely in the open wetlands of Manipur.”

But lately, the Manipuri ponies have lost their home to urban blight with their numbers declining from 1,893 in 2003 to just around 500 in 2014.

This is where this symbiotic relationship between humans and horses can potentially be a game-changer.

“Here is one (polo) community whose welfare is so closely tied with the welfare of the animal on which the game is played. We felt that since India did not have any women’s polo tournament, Manipur could be, and should be, the home of women’s polo in India,” Somi Roy says.

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He adds that going to play polo in Manipur is like going to Mecca.

“For people who know the history of polo, Manipur is a special place – that’s where it all came from. And then we say it’s going to be played on the original Manipuri pony, and then we tell them that it is on the world’s oldest living polo ground. It’s a fairly irresistible invitation,” Roy adds. (IANS)