1. Kindly tell us something about yourself?
I am a fashion designer based in Lahore. I have been in the business for almost ten years. I started the label karma in 2000 and helped establish s a leading brand of couture and prêt a porter until parting ways in 2007 to create my own label" Kamiar Rokni". I am a women’s wear designer with a fairly wide range, and am comfortable with many styles and enjoy making eastern, western, bridal, fusion, casual and formal clothes. I am very passionate about what I do and have met with success and recognition early on in my career. I have three Lux Style awards under my belt, an Indus style award and a Maku Hari Grande prix award from Japan from my student days.
I see myself working in fashion for as long as I can however recently I have branched out into the world of media. I am a chat show host for Dawn News, my show "No Reservations" is in its third season and I am also a radio jockey for FM89. I occasionally write as a social commentator. I believe in finding avenues to express myself through. One day I intend to act, sing, dance and sail around the world.
2. The business you are in is full of challenges, and do you feel you have been able to cope with them?
All businesses have challenges. One has to be resilient, smart and ultimately positive. I have been very lucky to always have support and therefore have always coped well with my work.
3. Designers normally win over minds and hearts do you agree with this?
I don’t know weather we win over minds and hearts but we certainly capture the public’s imagination. It is a glamorous business it is also a very visual one and therefore we get a lot of attention. All creative people look for a response.
4. What are the major ingredients of your brand?
My brand is all about the celebration of femininity, colour, elegance, glamour, functionality and individuality. My philosophy is to constantly innovate and yet stay within the boundaries of eastern attire. The Kamiar Rokni woman appreciates quality and a retail experience that is civilized and a product that makes her feel confident and beautiful.
5. In pursuing your goals what difficulties have you come across both from the angle of technology and resources?
It is always a challenge, to manufacture in Pakistan- deadlines can be a problem. We hardly ever have electricity these days therefore keeping productivity and expenses in proportion can be bit of a struggle. When you run your own business you are always working so the main resource which is the designer himself can get a bit over worked at the same time one wouldn’t have it any other way.
6. Any difficulties that you consider insurmountable?
There is nothing that cannot be overcome in my opinion.
7. Now that so many people look up to you for desire fulfillment, do you think you are always able to succeed?
I would like to think so, and the fact that I have continuous repeat cliental is indicative of the fact that customer satisfaction is provided.
8. Any dress created by you that stands out in terms of excellence?
I have so many garments that I love. I do think that the entire body of my new work is of quality and possesses a refinement that was not there before. You mature and evolve as you go along- ones recent work is always ones favourite.
9. Have the parents been an inspiration in achieving success?
My parents have always been very supportive of my choices. But in terms of style inspiration my two grandmothers are very influential.
10. Your family life, has it been affected by business demands on your time?
I am single so it has not affected my family life any more than usual.
11. Along the way, have you been successful in developing a team?
I have always been lucky with the team I have had. But currently my team consists mostly of my family. My cousin Tia is my partner in design and business, our cousin Rehan is our absolute wingman. My workers are very loyal and most of them have been with me from the beginning.
12. Where do the ideas flow from; self thinking or watching competitors and tracking their creations?
Inspiration is all around. It can be in the form of the world around you, the visual aspect of what is around you is something I am very sensitive to, l love nature and the design and colour that one can find in it. People can be very inspiring and so can be the work of others. It is however an unconscious process for me. I am Thankful for the inspiration -it just comes.
13. Any of your work that has helped to improve the image of Pakistan?
The fashion industry collectively presents a better image of Pakistan. We definitely represent the progressive and creative aspect of this fantastic and misunderstood country.
14. Is it possible for designers to reach out to Pakistani on the street?
I think all high-end fashion has a trickle down effect. So, yes we reach the street because we get copied and our copies get copied. There is always a convoluted version of your work roaming the street and I think that’s great.
15. Five years from now, where do you expect to be?
I hate predicting the future. But I hope to see Pakistan as a design force in the rest of the world and me of course be in the thick of things.
Kamiar Rokni, a leading fashion designer of Pakistan talks to Fashion Central