HT Brunch meets Imran Amed, one of the most influential voices in the world of high fashion
A young fashion writer meets Imran Amed, the Indian-origin management consultant-turned- fashion blogger, who has become one of the most influential voices in the world of fashion today
I’m going to tell you a story that you’ve probably heard before.
The germ of an idea
BoF was not an overnight success. Amed’s original business idea was to create an incubator for young fashion designers in London in 2006. Eight months later, the project tanked. “The idea was maybe ahead of its time,” he muses. “But while I was setting up that business, I was keeping a private blog for my friends and family because everyone was quite curious about the company I had started. This was way before smartphones and social media. But, I had a digital camera and I would take pictures. It was so stimulating – everything that I was seeing, all the people I was meeting!”
Amed – one of the few fashion leaders in the world with an Indian heritage – seldom gives monosyllabic or trite answers, probably because he’s often the one asking questions. He has interviewed legends like Karl Lagerfeld, Kate Moss, Giorgio Armani… the list is endless. At Mumbai’s Soho House, he’s all set for yet another talk, this time with Bollywood (and now Hollywood) dreamboat Deepika Padukone and Indian couturier Sabyasachi Mukherjee.
India and other stories
Over the years, BoF has helped its readers navigate an ever-changing social, political and cultural climate. The fashion conversation around Me Too, for instance, started with casting agent James Scully giving a talk at Voices, revealing shocking stories about the way models are treated. This was way before the media take-down of Harvey Weinstein. “What we’ve learnt from the Me Too movement is that it isn’t isolated to one industry. It’s politics, media, fashion, entertainment and sports. It’s even in the Vatican!” says Amed. “But it was a reality check for the fashion industry. Our social values are shifting. There’s more transparency. And these secrets that were kept behind the scenes, it’s not possible to do that anymore. We’ve seen LVMH and Kering put out a charter for the protection of models, and also Condé Nast. They all had to. If you ask me, it’s a bit late. But I’m glad it has finally happened.”
His advice to Indian designers wanting to tap into the global market is similar to what veteran writer Suzy Menkes once told Sabyasachi: ‘There are 1.2 billion people in India. Why’re you worried about the world when you have this huge market at home?’ Amed pointedly notes, “You can’t have this schizophrenic approach where you’re going after all these different types of customers. If your customer is international, then do what Ruchika (Sachdeva) has done at Bodice. There are only a few Indian designers who have tapped into both markets. One brand that has been able to do that is Péro by Aneeth Arora. You’ll see her clothes in the coolest stores in Japan and you’ll see them working here as well. There’s an opportunity to create a hybrid, but it’s not easy.”
A modern entrepreneur
When he hands me a copy of BoF’s recent print edition themed around ‘Modern Entrepreneurs’ – chronicling the growth of some of the most successful businesses in fashion – I point out that the story rings true for Imran, a writer and an entrepreneur, as well.