|The Bridal Maestro
by SALEHA ABBASI
Launched in 2009, Zainab Sajid's brand is all about elegant couture. Her main emphasis is on detailing with intricate embellishments, elaborate elements, innovative cuts while utilising the finest fabrics. In a very short span of time this talented designer has set formidable benchmarks in the fashion industry and is a force to be reckoned with. She takes inspirations mainly from life and from all the beauty of this world, in general. Although, her main area of expertise is bridal wear, she also designs beautiful formal and semi-formal wear and has recently launched her prêt label. MAG recently got a chance to have a chat with Zainab. Excerpts:
Tell us a bit about your background and how you got into designing.
My father is a garment industrialist and I think I acquired this eye for fashion from him. When I was young, I always used to be finicky about stitching clothes and I remember going every weekend to our garment factory, which used to be open on Sundays. However, my father wanted me to get into the family business so I did my MBA and after getting married, I joined Indus Valley School of Arts. Soon after that, I started my business from home. I faced a lot of criticism from my family but I really wanted to do it, so I was quite satisfied with my decision.
How has fashion inspired you? What was the first article of clothing you ever designed?
The first article of clothing I designed was my own bridal dress. After that I started designing for friends and family.
Please describe your target market.
Currently I want to cater to brides from all strata of the society, not just from the elite class. As a designer, I try to be reasonable with the pricing too.
As a female designer what challenges have you come across while pursuing your goals?
Earlier I used to say that there are no hindrances, but as a matter of fact there are. There are certain family values that everyone has to follow. If you are married then you have to give time and attention to your husband and kids, there are responsibilities that you have to take care of. Although, there are no restrictions from my family, but I know my responsibilities. My youngest son is one year old so whenever I have to travel for work I have to take him with me. Recently, when I went to London for a show he was with me the whole time. It gets a bit difficult but it's manageable.
What differentiates you from other bridal designers?
I think I am more reasonable with my pricing and I try my best to accommodate my clients as much as I can. Other than that I think my colour palette is quite unique and I don't just stick to monotonous designs. I experiment a lot and I love blending colours. I think that's my forte as well, my unique colour combinations.
What matters to you the most as a designer?
Colours and quality matter a lot. However, I believe that quality is the most important aspect, because if you lack quality, you won't be able to sustain in the market, no matter how captivating the designs are.
What motivates you when it comes to designing? From where do you seek your inspiration?
From all over the world I guess. Everything is so beautiful that one can get inspired by anything, it could be my kids as well.
What do you love the most about your job?
The creative part of it!
Who do you consider to be the greatest fashion icon?
The greatest fashion icon for me would always be Princess Diana. I always admired her and wanted to dress her, I still do. There is nobody else like her.
Which other designers inspire you and why?
All senior designers like Maheen Khan, Rizwan Beyg, Umer Sayeed and Sana & Safinaz are truly amazing and everyone has their own forte. I think most new and upcoming designers aspire to be like them.
Please tell us something about your latest collection.
I recently showcased at the Bridal Couture Week where my collection was inspired by the Mughal era and was called Riwayat. Other than that, I also showcased a collection called Mera Pakistan that was inspired by everything in Pakistan. My focus was to capture the cultural essence of our country through this collection. I took inspiration from our beautiful landmarks like Minar-e-Pakistan, Ghanta Ghar, Bab-e-Khyber and other cultural elements like kites etc. Critics assumed that I had taken my inspiration from Gulabo, but that was not the case because Gulabo was only based on truck art.
Do you have a design muse? How would you describe the Zainab Sajid bride?
The Zainab Sajid bride is very regal and royal!
With so much competition in bridal fashion, how do you stay true to your creative vision and remain inspired?
I truly love my job so I think that's what keeps me going.
Where do you see the bridal trend in the near future?
In Pakistan, people usually go for very traditional bridals and superstitious values are also taken into consideration. So as far as bridal wear is concerned, there is not much room for experimentation and innovation. However, this time around I tried to experiment with gowns, instead of shararas and two-pieces. Moreover, I also showcased black bridals at the BCW, but nobody has placed an order for a black bridal outfit yet.
Do you believe in the saying 'clothes maketh the man'?
Yes I do believe that, clothes play a vital role.
How would you rate the style quotient of Karachi?
I think its getting better now. Earlier on, street fashion didn't exist but now because of these prêt labels, street fashion has improved a lot. People are more fashionably aware nowadays and they have started focusing more on their casual wardrobe. So the style quotient has improved significantly.
Do you have any plans of taking your label to the mass market?
My ready-to-wear label is actually for the mass market because of its affordable price range.
You recently showcased your exclusive bridal collection at Pakistan Fashion Week 2012 in London. How was your experience and the overall response to your collection?
The response to my collection was excellent because I took my entire desi collection. A lot of designers showcased their western collections too, but I honestly believe that no matter how creative we get, we cannot do western wear better than the westerners. However, I believe that when we showcase our traditional clothes there, it is appreciated more because our clothes are not easily available in that region. So overall I think I got a massively good response.
What do you like to do when you are not working?
I have a very good circle of friends in the industry so I mostly hang out with them. Moreover, I am still friends with my school mates and we are always doing things together. There is at least one day in a week which I spend with my friends. Other than that, I absolutely love playing with my kids!
Of all that you have achieved till now, what according to you is your greatest achievement?
I think it is yet to come. I have had a lot of achievements in my life but if I start saying that I have achieved something, it won't keep me going. I want to achieve more!
What are future plans?
Well I definitely want to open several outlets of my prêt label. As far as my bridal line is concerned, I know that I have made my mark.
Any piece of advice for aspiring fashion designers?
Just be consistent and dedicated in what you are doing and be original!