Surrealist Flavors in the Making
Amal Kiran Jana, born in India where has a very fruitful culture for a designer to nourish. He had his master’s degree in Milan. His collections were exhibited in various capitals of fashion including Milan, Berlin, London and Kiev. Creating his unique silhouettes, he just reflected what he had learnt from life as a result of his voracious curiosity.
Choosing materials, he preferred to stand on the sustainable side and started his AFTERLIFE Project by which he integrated many other designers for whom all lives in this planet matter.
“A summer trip in 2011 to the Masurian Lakes in Poland allowed my mind to question life and its existence, waking up next to the Lake Hancza was empty without any life to the contrast of India where I was born.”
Can you please briefly advise how the adventure of Anoir started?
Anoir was born in 2012 as a brand but the philosophy was conceptualized during my MA thesis. A summer trip in 2011 to the Masurian Lakes in Poland allowed my mind to question life and its existence, waking up next to the Lake Hancza was empty without any life to the contrast of India where I was born. The thesis project was highly appreciated and showcased in Domus MA exhibition in Milan; this feeling allowed me to continue with the process of creating and without questioning the consequences and reality.
Initially for a few years I went on creating only accessories, slowly discovering the reality of establishing a global brand. Upcycling and sustainability was not a trend back then but I stayed focused, managed to survive each season and each season kept on bringing something new and interesting, there were some great people who always supported my ideas and now since years I am creating a complete collection of clothing and accessories.
You are the founder of AFTERLIFE project. What is the philosophy behind this project?
The idea behind AFTERLIFE Project is to create a platform to support designers and bring them to the global fashion market but with a story or practicing sustainability. Now the project supports designers in 360 degree starting from conceptualization to material innovation to physical sample to reaching the right retail point. There are some key people in the team who dedicate their energy towards the same vision.
“The inspirations are always around noir, science, surrealism & avant-garde feeling that can come directly from art, culture, film, travel and books.”
What inspires you in creating your designs?
The inspirations are always around noir, science, surrealism & avant-garde feeling that can come directly from art, culture, film, travel and books. Sometimes I have inspiration from material aspects or even from a pattern or shape that allow me to play and experiment; if you see my use of materials or silhouettes are very unconventional also the idea is to always support re-use, sustainable, slow-fashion and anti-mass production/consumerism.
Till which point you wish your brand to grow?
To be honest I never expected my brand to grow till here, it was a continuous process and every season got something new. I am ok to continue growing the brand till the time I feel passionate and happy creating.
You had exhibited your collections in many countries? Which city inspires you more, why?
It is very difficult to answer only one city, well Milan always stays close to my heart as studying there and being able to start my brand from there has something special always. The Berlin subculture, diversity and innovation is very inspiring and London for its openness, accepting everything and also the best place for me to sell sustainable fashion.
You prefer to work with natural materials. How is your approach to newly innovated sustainable materials?
Since the beginning I have always worked with only natural materials; the leathers I used were always re-use from industry surplus, then I have experimented to create various materials as we have our own flat knitting, weaving and dying facility. I have worked with natural cotton, hemp, silk, hemp jersey, bamboo jersey, knitted linen, knitted silk and wool. Also, I try to mix various natural dyes to create unique colors, even dip dye or piece dye.
Which areas do you feel you know less and want to learn more?
Honestly, all the areas are somewhat unknown, every day is new learning. Things change so fast that I know today becomes very limited tomorrow and I feel this is how it should be, the curiosity of learning should not be satisfied so easily and it is impossible in one lifetime to know everything. Recently I am trying to explore more with modern online marketing and philosophy of numbers in social media.
How will be the new normal in fashion after the pandemic?Evolution is a continuous process since the beginning of creation and today what we see is nothing new. Maybe in our lifetime, this is something new that we are observing and it is good in some way. This pandemic is challenging our behaviour of being human. In fashion the pre-pandemic consumerism will be affected, fashion will become more transparent; as people have started caring for themselves more and spending more time at home, thus, fashion will revolve around quality and uniqueness.