March 16, 2024 FDCI

Alpha Women

 Inca or incarnation by Amit Hansraj is for women who are mature, confident and know that clothes are extension of them not the other way round and it is this individuality that he hopes to celebrate each season.

By Asmita Aggarwal

Amit Hansraj has been in the fashion world for the last 20 years, but coming from a small town, Hamirpur, unlike the glamorous Dharamsala, in Himachal it was not an easy task to break into the fashion industry, which is till today a playing ground of the affluent.

His sojourn to Delhi and first stop was Ghaziabad, where he had little or no exposure to fashion, and worked odd jobs like backstage helper, till he got a break to work with Malini Ramani, then Ritu Beri which took him to Paris and of course Bina Ramani. “I owe my fashion education to these three, I learnt by observation,” says Amit the founder of the label Inca, which showcased at the FDCI x LFW 2024.

Soon, he began styling, and luckily got to study various aspects of fashion, and also co-founded a label with Amit Aggarwal, then moved on to work with Zubair Kirmani. “Tina Tahiliani is a visionary, and I worked at Ensemble as a curator, brought in contemporary fashion from 2017-2020. The burnout forced me to take a break and came back to Delhi from Mumbai. The pandemic happened and it turned everything on its head,” he reveals.

It was almost a sabbatical from the crazy universe of clothes, and this gave him time to ponder over what he can call his own, and the isolation made him think. He saw the terrazzo flooring with those chips, unlike the heavy-duty rich homes marble, being alone he was often staring at the floor of his rented home in Hauz Khas. Then he decided to create a line of curtains, with similar patterns, which later took shape of a capsule collection with a help of an “off duty graphic designer and skilled masterjee”. “Inca is the short form of incarnation,” he explains, the concept of God is timeless and as he is quite interested in Hindu philosophy, he thought this would be ideal.

His ideology is oversized clothing but not frumpy but cool, think “Smita Patil and Parveen Babi” he laughs, both are his favourites. His clothes are a “collection of experiences”, maybe in some ways an ode to the invisible people we see around us, as he says, “my label was made with multiple broken moments.”

Fashion must be enjoyed is his mantra, the inner working of the garments is effortlessness, and you feel good and sexy without revealing too much, “sexy is a feeling”, he believes. Everyday things and incidents inspire him and “fashion should be not be restricted to palaces, Kashida, kings and queens, but if you look at the Taj mahal no one is talking about the thousands of workers who built this monument of love! “History is not written by the common man we all know that,” he smiles.

Remembering his childhood he says, his dad was extremely progressive and well-travelled by he did not come from money, so his label is a celebration of what he saw, those who were marginalized, had no voice, he hopes to tell those stories. “I launched the sari, but it is functional, it can be worn, while you are doing all kinds of jobs—that includes dusting your book shelf,” he says, adding his choice of show stopper was keeping this philosophy in mind too.

Dia Mirza is an actress and an activist she has lived her life on her own terms, as she ages, she has not chosen to continue in a race, and taken on any and every Hindi movie that comes her way. “I find older women attractive, because experiences of life make you confident, there is a glow of knowledge, and that confidence adds charm to your personality. Dia choses to live life by what she believes I find that endearing,” he admits.

Hansraj cuts his clothes circular, the fabric manipulation gives it the freedom to take the shape of the wearer, and his evolved clientele, if they don’t see an armhole is not terrified by it, in fact they embrace this new shape. “I love monochromes, and silks, satins and pure fabrics in mustards and purples,” he concludes, as he opened his store in the Kila last year filled with his vintage artifacts/photographs that he has collected over the years. “I don’t understand the whole ‘influencer’ space I can’t resonate with them. But I feel I want to make a label that makes the wearer feel happy, and only then will she think of me again,” he signs off.

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