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These Pakistanis have designs on India :-)

Last updated on: August 07, 2014 18:03 IST

Zara Shahjahan: Pakistan's culture has taught me to be creative, to push boundaries

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Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com

Pakistani fashion designers Zara Shahjahan, Faiza Samee, Sania Maskatiya and Rizwan Beyg will be among the bevy of designers showcasing their creations at the Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2014 season in Mumbai from August 20 to 24.

In an email interaction with Rediff.com, the first three – all women – talk about their debut at the event.

We present you Zara Shahjahan, Faiza Samee and Sania Maskatiya brought to India by POPxo.com in association with Hello! Pakistan

What brings you to India? Will this be your first visit to India?

Lakme Fashion Week brings me to India. Though, I have been visiting India quite often, I have family and friends here and of course I usually visit to represent our brand. We hold regular exhibitions in India and have also been a part of Bridal Asia.

What do you think of the fashion scene in India and Pakistan?

Fashion in India is older and more established since the industry is bigger, but I feel Pakistan's industry has grown tremendously in the past decade.

Our council PFDC has played an exemplary role in the establishment and growth of our industry. We have more fashion schools now that are churning out the best of talent. We are surely growing by leaps and bounds.

What are the similarities/diversities between these two fashion scenes you have discerned as a fashion designer?

Both countries have similar cultures when it comes to weddings -- I see similar colour choices, similar taste for jewellery etc.

Otherwise, I see more differences. We as a nation have cultural boundaries, which has played an instrumental role in shaping our fashion industry. Our market for pret is much more established as the modern Pakistani woman still wears shalwar kameez, be it for work or for social gatherings.

This has inspired and pushed designers to create everyday clothes that are fashionable, trendy yet comfortable.

Having said that, I feel the Indian bridal market is way ahead of us.

What inspires you to create your designs? Any Indian muse you have?

I am inspired by everyday day women from all walks of lives who want to look beautiful and glamorous.

My Indian muse has to be Zeenat Aman.

Favourite fashion designers...

Dolce and Gabbana

Fashion tips for the youth in India and Pakistan...

Have a personal style. Do not copy others, rather be inspired and always stick to fashion that you identify with.

Success mantras…

Work hard and stay focused but always take a break to have some fun.

Values that Pakistan's culture has taught you...

Pakistan's culture has taught me to be creative, to push boundaries. We have cultural boundaries and social norms that we identify with.

Like other industries, fashion is also influenced by our culture.

Only that in fashion we have the liberty to be creative and experiment and make clothes that reflect "Pakistan".

We do not copy the west, we take trends and influences and instead create Pakistani clothes that are equally fashionable.

Which young Indian politician/Bollywood star would you love to design for? Why?

Priyanka Chopra because I am inspired by her confidence.

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Image: Pakistani fashion designer Zara Shahjahan will be debuting at the Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2014


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Faiza Samee: Pakistanis have chosen to constantly evolve and re-imagine their traditional clothing.

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What brings you to India? Is this your first visit to India?

I am in India to show at LFW -- it's a first for Pakistani and Indian designers to show at such a forum. I visit India often, I love Delhi and Jaipur and have many friends here.

What do you think of the fashion scene in India and Pakistan?

Both India and Pakistan have a vibrant fashion scene rich in both heritage and talent. The artisanal and technological skills are immense. Fashion in the two countries is quite distinct and individual.

What are the similarities/diversities between these two fashion scenes you have discerned as a fashion designer?

We share a sense of colour, drama and style. Hand embroidery is still very strong in Pakistan and traditional costumes are very much a part of almost everybody's wardrobe.

The shalwar kameez is, in fact, possibly the only living traditional costume in the world today -- it evolves into a new silhouette every few years.

What inspires you to create your designs? Any Indian muse you have?

I find inspiration in everything around me and often in the journeys and travels I take. It can also be an idea or notion of a state or time in place.

The collection I am showing at LFW is inspired by Central Asian landscapes and the old world romance of the Ottoman Empire.

At the core of each collection is our focus on achieving a balance between rich traditions, and a wearable, contemporary look.

I don't have a single muse as such. Women, for whom I create these outfits, are my muses.

Your favourite fashion designers...

There are many designers creating fabulous work in their various individual styles, whose work I admire. My favourites change from collection to collection and season to season.

Fashion tips for youth in India and Pakistan...

Don't be afraid to be an individual. Develop a personal style and nurture it. Most of all, always be true to yourself. Being comfortable with yourself and in what you wear makes all the difference.

Your success mantras…

Be honest with your work. Be true to yourself. Remain grounded.

Values that Pakistan's culture has taught you...

The shalwar kameez is, for me, a great manifestation of contemporary Pakistani culture. Rather than rejecting our traditional forms of dress, Pakistanis have chosen to constantly evolve and re-imagine their traditional clothing.

Being rooted in traditional values without ossification is a wonderful cultural attribute, and you see it outside fashion too: in family life, in cultural expression and in our music.

Which young Indian politician/Bollywood star would you love to design for? Why?

Sonam Kapoor, because she has the ability and poise to carry off almost every style effortlessly.

As you must be knowing that India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi loves to dress up. How would you rate his fashion quotient?

PM Modi does have a very individual style which I like. I notice that he tends to modify traditional wear to suit his personal taste. He always looks comfortable and assured.

If you were to design clothes for him, how would you dress him up?

A lot of the work we produce is custom made so I would like to spend some time to consult with him or generally get some sort of a brief first. I think this is an important part of the design process.

I certainly visualise him in a kurta and a sadri, with touches of the exquisite hand embroidery that we are known for.

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Image: Pakistani fashion designer Faiza Samee will be debuting at the Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2014


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Sania Maskatiya: I love India. It is vibrant, safe and progressive

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What brings you to India? Will this be your first visit to India?

The House of Sania Maskatiya is set to represent Pakistani fashion with a debut invitational show in India at the much coveted Lakme Fashion Week platform in Mumbai.

This will be my fourth visit to Mumbai.

I love India. It is vibrant, safe and progressive.

What do you think of the fashion scene in India and Pakistan?

Fashion is growing and evolving in both the countries; it is a great, vibrant and exciting industry and with the world (becoming) a global village the people of the subcontinent are very aware of international trends.

Now, more than ever women and men are willing to experiment with their dressing.

What are the similarities/diversities between these two fashion scenes you have discerned as a fashion designer?

The people and the cultures in both the countries are very similar, yet I feel the dressing is quite different. In India there is a bigger and growing demand for western wear whereas in Pakistan the dressing is more conservative.

Also the colour palette in both India and Pakistan vary depending on the occasion.

What inspires you to create your designs? Any Indian muse you have?

Many things inspire me: travel, books, movies, life in general… all these inspire me.

Favourite fashion designers…

I love Mary Katranzous’s take on prints and Bunto Kazmi’s craftsmanship remains unmatched in Pakistan. Love Sabyasaachhi and Anamika Khanna from India.

Favourite models…

From Pakistan it is Huma Khan, Aamina Sheikh and Amna Ilyas.

Fashion tips you have to offer to the youth in India and Pakistan…

Don't follow fashion blindly, see what suits your body type and pick and choose separately to create your own unique look.

Success mantras…

Have a clear five year business plan, have a good team and divide responsibilities.

Values that Pakistan's culture has taught you…

The resilience to move forward despite all the hurdles in our way and more importantly to embrace all cultures within our country.

Which young Indian politician/Bollywood star would you love to design for? How would you dress them up? Why?

Katrina Kaif, Anushka Sharma and Sonam Kapoor. They are beautiful, strong and extremely talented actresses. I would dress them up in our signature cuts and prints from our luxury pret line.

If you were to design clothes for India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi how would you dress him up?

Depending on the occasion it would definitely be something very elegant.


Image: Pakistani fashion designer Sania Maskatiya will be debuting at the Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2014


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