1. Kindly tell us something about yourself?
I always had an eye for creative design and high fashion when I was young. After completing my bachelors at the University of Toronto, I completed design school at the Ontario College of Arts and Design. From there I entered the fashion world and began my career working as a designer at Rahmanian – a luxury line specializing in western wedding dresses. When I decided that it was time to start my own business, I wanted to give back to my people and promote my culture – so I decided to launch RMR which specializes in Pakistani haute couture.
2. The business you are in is full of challenges, and do you feel you have been able to cope with them?
Any endeavor that is worthwhile is going to be full of challenges. I am lucky enough to be coping with such challenges in a line of work that I am very passionate about. As an optimist, I view each challenge as an opportunity in disguise to learn from and move forward.
3. Designers normally win over minds and hearts do you agree with this?
While the power of brand over minds and hearts cannot be disputed, I do believe that in the long run it is the quality of the product that will prevail as the critical element in success. The Pakistani consumer market is intelligent and demanding. This is why I put 100% into all my pieces to meet the high expectations of my customers.
4. What are the major ingredients of your brand?
Modernity in cuts, attention to detail, luxury fabrics and embellishments that capture the quintessence of our cultural heritage – and of course, a price that is fair.
5. In pursuing your goals what difficulties have you come across both from the angle of technology and resources?
This is a people business, from start to finish. I always strive to be accommodating and flexible in order to maintain a positive and productive work environment.
6. Any difficulties that you consider insurmountable?
Political and economic stability would be nice – sometimes it seems reaching that goal of being a progressive, productive and peaceful nation is unattainable. But I’m always an optimist. And such factors affect every business in our nation- small or big, fashion or machinery.
7. Now that so many people look up to you for desire fulfillment, do you think you are always able to succeed?
I have not yet had a disappointed customer and most are repeat customers. But, I’m always nervous at the moment of judgment when the client sees the outfit complete for the first time. That first reaction has, Mash’allah, been positive so far.
8. Any dress created by you that stands out in terms of excellence?
My Fall/Winter bridal collection for 2009-2010 I believe is my best work yet.
9. Have the parents been an inspiration in achieving success?
My parents and my family at large have been very supportive and encouraging. They are my most passionate fans and harshest critics – the best of both worlds really!
10. Your family life, has it been affected by business demands on your time?
Of course, there are only 24 hours in a day and an hour spent at work is an hour not spent at home. But I am most happy when running a successful business and this makes me a happier and better member in all my relationships – whether it’s as mother, wife, daughter in law or sister.
11. Along the way, have you been successful in developing a team?
Like I said before, this is a people business. Teamwork is critical! So yes, my management and production team is excellent and just as passionate as me about RMR.
12. Where do the ideas flow from; self thinking or watching competitors and tracking their creations?
There are trends that a designer has to cater to and knowledge of such trends comes from being aware of the market. However, what puts a designer apart is the ability to create and set trends. In this regard, my ideas come from various influences. I am always experimenting with colors, fabrics, cuts and embellishments for my runway collection which consists only of original pieces.
13. Any of your work that has helped to improve the image of Pakistan?
Funny you should ask that question! One of my main reasons for getting into this business was to improve the image of Pakistan abroad. Pakistanis abroad are often deprived of the latest trends and pay a fortune for old designs and poor quality clothes. As a result, the image of Pakistani clothes has been associated with this unattractive look. My product offerings abroad have improved the image of Pakistan in some small way. I also continue to collaborate with my colleagues at Rahmanian who often ask me for some unique design inspiration for their clothes – they call it the “Pakistani touch”.
14. Is it possible for designers to reach out to Pakistanis on the street?
Let’s be frank here. The average Pakistani on the street has so many social and economic problems to deal with that the luxury of looking good is really not on their minds. We must as a country deal with serious underlying problems in our systems so that the average Pakistani can have a chance at success and enjoy the luxuries life has to offer – including fashion.
15. Five years from now, where do you expect to be?
Let’s do this interview again at that time and find out where I am!
There are trends that a designer has to cater to and knowledge of such trends comes from being aware of the market. However, what puts a designer apart is the ability to create and set trends.