KASA, a leading fashion house in the country has always produced innovative designs and high quality products. A style house primarily known for its courageous and in-depth approach on wanting to promote Nepali fashion worldwide. KASA have been included in various multi-national fashion shows all over the globe and KASA is proud to have conducted “Debut Fall Winter 2019”. A high profile and high level of fashion show, first time done in Nepal, featured international models and Manuel Scrima, a famous photographer, artist & director from Italy. LIVING had the chance to sit down and talk fashion with him and peer into his idea of what fashion is.
Artist, Photographer & Director
Manuel Scrima is an Italian-Belgium artist, photographer and director. His works can be found in several continents. A touch of classical and neo-classical inspiration is always ingrained in his artwork and they are also often derived from distant and exotic cultures. Recently Scrima was in Nepal doing a photo shoot for Kasa and Ishaan Rijal met with him for an on the spot interview. Scrima gives an insight into his artistic life especially as a photographer.
Where did you first start in these professions and what inspires you?
I started a long time ago in Kenya, Africa. That is also the place that gave me my first inspiration into perusing my passion for photography and directing. That is another reason I am here in Nepal. I believe that I can get more inspiration when I am away from home, and in amazing places such as Nepal.
Did you go to school to study photography or directing?
No I never went to any artistic school to study my art. I was very fortunate that my father bought me a still camera and a video camera. I am currently 42 years old, so this probably happened around 30-32 years ago. Additionally, back then it was extremely rare to have a camera, so I consider myself very lucky.
After working in many different countries, what are some of the fashion trends that you really like in these countries?
International fashion is always changing so there isn’t really a specific trend that I like or I use. As the fashion changes, my style of taking fashion photography changes as well. For example, currently the latest fashion trends are sports wear. however, I mainly follow European trends. So I look at the fashion in Italy, France and Untied States. However, if I am visiting countries such as Nepal, I follow the traditional trends, such as cultural clothing.
What about your personal style? What do you prefer?
For my own style I would say 99% of the time I would wear a white T-shirt. I would say I am like a cartoon (laughs). As you can see I tend to wear a white T-shirt and blue pants. Today I am wearing a particular outfit by the brand Le Tonerre. This brand is designed by Tony Ranali. So whenever I do a photo shoot for a designer, I ask them for their clothing designs so that I can advertise it around the world. Normally I wear simple outfits, however, if I am doing something special, I make sure I get clothes that fit that special occasion.
What does fashion photography mean to you?
For me, fashion photography is the most interesting and creative type of photography possible, besides art. I believe that because it gives you an opportunity to experiment and try some crazy ideas. When you do other kinds of photography like documentary photography or still life photography, you cannot be as creative. In fashion photography, the designer gives you the stage to experiment and do what you want.
What got you interested in fashion photography?
When I was young, I was very passionate about fashion. However, living in Africa for three years, my interest in fashion was slowly fading. I started to think that fashion was just superficial and about materialist things that do not really matter. One of my friends and a great designer in Italy is Angelo Cruciani. I started to work with him ten years ago. We started working together and also created a fashion line. He is the one who pushed me towards fashion and made me work with various fashion brands and magazines.
What do you wish you could achieve as an international artist or photographer?
What I really want to do is create a completely different world from my imagination. The world would be full of photography and art. Normally when I am taking a picture, I do not take a picture from what I see. I take a picture from what I am imagining in my head. I do a lot of meditation and research beforehand. This is my preparation time before I do any photo shoot. While meditating and studying, I imagine the image in my mind and take the picture according to what I have imagined. After all the research, the picture comes to my mind as an imagination, and on the real day, I try and recreate that imagination from my head. I have this project that I have been working on for the last seven years and I hope this will showcase what I want to achieve as an artist and photographer.
Since you have worked for multiple designers and in multiple places, is there any particular job that you would not do?
For me how I do things matters a lot. So if a client comes to me and tells me what they want to do, and what model they want, and where they want the picture, I say no. I tell them, “if you know how to do it, then do it yourself.” If they want me to do the photo shoot, I have to make sure they are willing to sit down and discuss. Then I like it when my clients take a bit of advice from me, since I am the professional. So if a client wants me to take a picture to their liking, I say no. I like having the freedom to decide how and what to do.
What are some ways we can mix western fashion with Nepali fashion?
I think Kasa is already starting to go in the right direction. They are slowly fusing western fashion with Nepali fashion. They are mixing traditional outfits with contemporary outfits, which is a great way to blend two different types of fashion. This is also the right way to create a fusion of two different types of fashion. The best way I would say to do this is by bringing the beautiful Nepali fashion heritage and then creating a contemporary outfit of it. If done this way, it would be easier to get international recognition and those brands will be able to break into the international market much more easily.
Do you have any future plans/shows here in Nepal?
Yes actually. We are planning to establish a photography institute here in Nepal. This institute will be a center for students here and abroad to come and learn photography. And after the studies, the students will have a chance to visit Italy where they can get real experience on Italian fashion scene.
Zambian model, Miss Zambia Universe 2018
Melba Shakabozha is a 24- year- old model from Zambia and also the winner of Miss Zambia Universe 2018. Her career in modeling started in 2014 when she took part in Miss Zambia. Her country has two Miss Zambia pageants- Miss Zambia Universe and Miss Zambia World. In 2014, Melba took part in the latter one and ended up as one of the top 10 finalists. Winning the contest in 2018 changed her life completely.
Tell us about your early experiences as a model.
I was an amateur in the modeling industry and began to understand that while modeling may just look like it’s all about glamour and style on the surface, actually when we go into the depths of it, it’s also about confidence and hard work. After that, I took a break from modeling to go to college but I didn’t stop learning about it in theory. In 2018, I finally thought I was ready enough to take part in the Miss Zambia Universe pageant and well, I won the title and my career as a model bloomed too.
Describe the modeling scenario of your country.
The modeling scenario of Zambia is minute and still growing. People are still in the process of accepting modeling as a respectable career. The taboo that arose from the belief that modeling is “high fashion prostitution” is also gradually going away. I, myself, have been persistently trying to remove the stigma present in our Zambian society related to models.
What does fashion mean to you?
For me, fashion has a broad and diverse meaning. It’s not only what I wear but it’s also how I feel when I am wearing something and what kind of persona I give off while wearing it.
Define your personal style.
My go to style has to be comfortable chic. I prioritize comfort while I style myself. I am also comfortable showing enough skin.
What are the current fashion trends in your country? Which ones do you like and which you don’t?
Funnily enough, I have not been really following the local trends that are in vogue in my country. I am trying to set my own trend by introducing bright colors which bring out our beautiful Zambian skin and also as I love shimmers and sequins, I am incorporating those too.
What do you wish to achieve as an international model?
As I am still trying to bring change in the modeling industry of my country, being an international model means that I get to represent Zambian model industry internationally and give it a global recognition so that it earns respect in the Zambian society.
Do you have any limitations when it comes to any type of modeling?
Not really. I can do most shoots except spiritual ones as I do not want to involve my spirituality with my work.
Indonesian Model, Face of Indonesia 2019
Alfirda Alifia is the Face of Indonesia 2019 and has also participated in the Face of Asia 2019 held in South Korea. She has been modeling for a few years now and is very excited to be a part of the KASA Fashion Show just held in Kathmandu, Nepal.
What got you into fashion?
I got interested in fashion because I feel being fashionable is important. When people look at you for the first time, they see how well you dress and how well you present yourself and fashion helps you with that. It creates a lasting impression when you meet people for the first time.
What does fashion mean to you?
I think regardless of what your personal style is, fashion should be seen in a bigger context. The bigger and more important thing is to be comfortable and confident in your own skin regardless of what you wear and what trend you follow.
Define your personal style.
I like to dress in classical/old school style. Old school trends are really making a comeback and I myself feel really comfortable when it comes to old school fashion and like to dress in such clothing as it makes me feel more comfortable and chic.
Since this is your first time in Nepal, how do you find Nepal.
I love the natural beauty that Nepal has to offer and since this is the first time I am doing a fashion show where the location is surrounded by temples and statues (laughs), I am very excited about that. Also, since this is my first time and I am here for a fashion show, I have not been able to explore the city and I would love to travel around the country. I will definitely go hiking the next time I come to Nepal and I really love the country. It is very beautiful.