With only just a few weeks until year-end, it’s the perfect time to reflect. Are you feeling accomplished or a little underwhelmed? Either way, some last minute inspiration never hurts. Here’s a woman who we’ve come to love and admire, with her colorful outfits and personality. Maken Imcha’s lifestyle is a total breath of fresh air that will have you wanting to hit the refresh button on your wardrobe and career goals!
Meet Maken Imcha, Executive Director – International Recruitment and Student Relations, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) as she chats with MoiFavs to give us a peek into her life, work, and her wardrobe!
“I love visiting museums, traveling to new places, learning new things and challenging myself. I’m an avid supporter of pursuing a lifelong education. I believe that given the right opportunity combined with hard work and dedication, anyone can be successful. I’m a product of this belief”
Maken Payne is from Nagaland but currently resides in Atlanta with husband Tim and daughter River. She graduated from St. Stephens, Delhi and briefly attended American Intercontinental University before leaving it (in less than a year) to attend SCAD.
Tell us what makes you happy. Describe yourself in 3 words.
If I had to use three words to describe myself, it would have to be decisive, go-getter and loyal. The most important thing in my life is my family – my husband Tim who is a robotics designer, my precious two-year-old River, and our shorty bulldog Kimchi. Nothing makes me happier than spending time with them.
Tell us about your journey so far.
Before graduating, I had three job offers lined up, one of them was SCAD which was my first choice but my parents wanted me to pursue working in New York. I worked as a designer for the Venezuelan designer Angel Sanchez who is renowned for dressing royal and celebrity brides like Eva Longoria, Sandra Bullock and The Princess of Spain to name a few.
While it was a great experience, my husband and I didn’t feel that New York was the right fit for us. It was then we decided to move to Atlanta and that’s how I began my journey at SCAD. We landed on a Wednesday, I interviewed on a Friday and started work on Monday. Since then there’s been no looking back!
The best part of your Life and Work at SCAD?
I currently head the International Student Recruitment and Relations for SCAD – the premier destination for art and design in the world. This primarily means that my team travels around the world recruiting some of the most talented students in the field of art, design, and technology. There is never a moment of stagnancy in the SCAD world, there are always new challenges and projects. I’ve come to realize that it’s exactly the kind of environment I thrive in.
I love everything that I do at SCAD and for SCAD. What makes my job even more incredible is that I have the most amazing team in the world – we have a very strong bond and work very well together.
It’s also an absolutely enriching experience – in education we’re really changing people’s lives and it’s such a rewarding moment when you know you’ve made such a difference. For example, it is such a rewarding experience when the students we recruit go on to work for global companies like Google, Apple, BMW, Ogilvy & Matter and so on.
What inspires you to dress this sharp every day?
At SCAD, we have an amazing experiential culture – everything around you is beautiful and truly immersive. It’s impossible not to be inspired by the facilities, the décor, the artworks of students, faculty, and alumni. I view it as being a part of an art installation every single day when I dress up and go to work. It makes me truly happy because it gives me the opportunity to communicate a distinct style and at the same time be a part of a community.
I strongly believe that investing in one’s appearance sends a positive message about who you are and how you want to be perceived. When you hold a leadership position in an organization, you have a responsibility to always present yourself with a positive visual identity.
Share some style tips from your own personal style
Go for long-lasting, unique pieces and separates. These have helped me experiment with my daily looks while staying true to my personal style.
I am often surprised by how two garments that you never thought would look good, pair up to become the perfect ensemble. It helps me rekindle my relationship with my clothes and of course, allows me to cultivate an environment-friendly practice of allowing longer shelf life for my clothing.
For some time now, I’ve been wearing my own designs (label Maken Imcha). They are inevitably statemented pieces with a lot of separates – it’s just what I’m drawn to. What I love about separates is that you discover a new look every single time you mix and match outfits.
Maken Imcha wearing her own design (Photo by Woojin Chang, and Illustrations by Maken)
Walk us through a day in your life
I travel a lot, so my day-to-day activities change on a regular basis – but this is what it looks like when I am at home:
- 6:00 am: Wake up and read the news (BBC, Times of India)
- 6:15 am: This is the most precious time of the day for me. I bring a half sleepy River from her room and we both lay together in the family room for about 15 minutes. She puts her head on my shoulders and hugs me very tightly. It’s such a precious ritual –I often think about how fast she’s growing.
- 6:30 – 7:30 am: Get ready and eat breakfast
- 7:45 am: Drop River off at school
- 8:30 am – 5:30 pm: Back to back meetings. A light lunch at work or dine out with my team and guests. I drink green tea and water throughout the day!
- 5:30 pm Pick up River from school
- 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm Tim, River and I go running
- 7:45 pm: Family dinner
- 9:00 pm: After putting River to bed, Tim and I watch a movie or just hang out.
- 1:00 am: Sleep
Regardless of the timezone, I wake up at 6 am, it is extremely important because it sets the tone of the day for me. In the morning and evening, I facetime with my River, Tim, and Kimchi (my dog). Since I travel so much, it is very important to me that I’m the first person (apart from my husband) that she sees when she wakes up and sleeps at night.
My schedule is quite hectic while traveling – I work 7 days a week most of the time; mainly involves visiting high schools and universities, building relationships with them, attending fashion shows, art exhibitions and surveying the market.
My closet space is shared equally between my clothes and accessories, where shoes and jewelry take precedence. Some shoe brands I own: YSL, Valentino, Marni, Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Kate Spade
I’m currently obsessed with Indian jewelry, most of them are from New Delhi, Jaipur, and Mumbai.
- Favorite Restaurants
In Beijing there is a beautiful restaurant called Temple Restaurant Beijing (TBR) – it is an ancient historic site that has been restored into a French restaurant. The entire aesthetics, cuisine, and service are just so elegantly stylized. TBR has the perfect ambiance to spend time with friends and family.
- Favorite Food Pilgrimage
La Boqueria in Barcelona is one of the largest open food markets in Europe. They sell everything from olives, meats, seafood, fruits, cheese. They also offer tapas restaurants – I could eat here every single day of my life and not tire of it.
What’s on your playlist?
Daft Punk, Black Keys, Broken Bells, Bon Iver, Ghost of a sabertooth, Kanye West, classic Bollywood and Kpop.
Si by Giorgio Armani
Any hobby/collection that you have?
I love binge watching Korean dramas (it’s my guilty pleasure!) and also designing garments for my daughter. On a more serious note, I started collecting Indian jewelry two years ago – they are ever so exquisite and I hope to pass them down as family heirloom pieces to my daughter.
Favorite Beauty Brand/Product
My favorite is Sóley, an Icelandic brand. I discovered it during my trip to Reykjavik and now holds a permanent place in my beauty regime. Countries like Iceland have extreme weather so their products are suitably measured for extra skin nourishment and anti-aging.
Favorite Instagram accounts
Founder of SCAD, Paula Wallace (@paulaswallace) is my inspiration, Delpozo (@delpozo) hands down my fav designer, Business of Fashion (@bof), Ogilvy & Matter (@ogilvymather), A Designer’s Mind (@adesignersmind) and of course Nagas Street Style (@nagastreetstyle)
“How I Met My Husband”
I first met Tim at the Atlanta Marta subway station on my way home from school in 2007. Through conversation, we found out that we were from the same college – American Intercontinental University (AIU). We didn’t exchange emails or numbers because I was in a hurry. Six months later, all of a sudden, I found myself thinking of him very much. I tried to find him at school but did not know his name or his major.
Finally, Facebook rolled out in 2007. Luckily, the network was university-based. The school network had 225 students’ profiles and I was determined to find him. I went through each profile and Tim turned out to be the 223 person. I messaged him and he responded immediately. We met that very evening and six months later we got married. We just celebrated our 10-year marriage anniversary this September. We still use facebook messenger to communicate with each other while I travel. It’s the one habit we are okay with continuing.
So folks, can we now agree that a near-perfect life is not impossible? All we need is a good dose of hard work, passion, people who inspire us and a wardrobe full of designer shoes and clothes! What do you guys think? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!