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Fashion Designer ZARI FAISAL: Journey to the Fashion Ramp

Zari Faisal is a talented fashion designer who has gained popularity among women of all age group and in fashion industry in a very short span of time. Having interest in Fashion since her childhood she grasped as much as she could about fashion while roaming in markets with her mother and grandmother when she was a kid and then hitting recently held FPW 5. Zari Faisal has proved herself as young inspiring designer that can bring a clothing line that looks to incorporate some fun and style into your wardrobe. With a background from the london school of economics and the university of Warwick, Zari Faisal is a shrewd marketer with a sense of style and fashion to boot.

FASHION TO ME IS A REFLECTION OF WHO YOU ARE, YOUR PERSONALITY, YOUR MOOD. MORE THAN FASHION, I THINK YOUR SENSE OF STYLE TELLS A LOT ABOUT YOU!

Her fashion philosophy is simple; dreamy, ethereal, wearabla fashion with a focus on good cuts, embellishments and exquisite fabrics. From Indian Chicken Kari, to especially hand embroidered nets and a variety of embellished laces and fun cottons, her collection offers a little bit of everything. Splus had a chit chat with Zari Faisal about her designing, inspiration, collections and much more which you did not know about her.

Zari Faisal Collection at Fashion Pakistan Week 2013 Day 1What drew you towards fashion and specifically to start your own line?

I have always been interest in fashion, ever since I was kid. I remember roaming around the bazaars with my mum and my naani, and I get excited about any opportunity I got to tag along with them. From there I picked up my knowledge of different fabrics; funny things you pick up as a kid.

What is your educational and professional background and how do you feel it prepared you for a career in design?

I went to the London School of Economics for management, and then the university of Warwick where I did Gender and Cultural studies, so I don’t have a background in designing as such. But I have always been interested in it, and I think it’s something that came naturally to me since I was 12 year old. I used to design and stitch clothes for my friends throughout A levels and university years. I think more than anything else, my educational background prepared me to market my brand well, to see what makes consumers tick. I think that’s as important as good designs.

Who is your inspiration?

My fashion inspiration has always been my mother. I still remember some of the most gorgeous outfits I saw her wearing when I was a kid; and the most interesting part is so many of those styles are coming back in fashion now; I have a whole box of ideas locked away in the back of my mind from the stuff I saw her wear, ready to be incorporated very soon.

How would you describe your own sense of style?

I am very moody when it comes to what I may like to wear on any particular day, but in one word, Minimal. I don’t like over accessorising, I don’t like over the top fashion. Simple, minimal is good!

You recently showcased your new collection in FPW, how would you define the style of that collection?

My FPW collection was fun, flirty, young, sumery. We used lots of florals, and coral was the main colour palette. It was very girly and catering to a younger audience.

Zari Faisal collection at Fashion Pakistan Week 2013

What was your inspiration behind Plush Collection?

I love everything vintage, and that’s exactly was the inspiration for my collection.

How was the experience of participating in FPW and what response you got for your collection?

It was a fabulous experience. I was nervous and excited. But there were great people around to guide me, and give me help when needed. Deepak, Maheen aunty, Freiha were all beyond helpful. So was Munira Walika, who is a rockstar backstage. I learnt a lot, I saw the mistakes I make, areas where I can definitely improve. I would advise most new comers to take the step; it helps you to look at things from a much more serious and focused perspective.

How many collections do you have?

I have done a variety of collections; but my two favourite ones so far would have to be the FPW collection, and my western wear Tea Party collection. Hopefully the best is yet to come, have to constantly challenge and improve myself 🙂 !

IT WAS A FABULOUS EXPERIENCE. I WAS NERVOUS AND EXCITED. BUT THERE WERE GREAT PEOPLE AROUND TO GUIDE ME, AND GIVE ME HELP WHEN NEEDED. DEEPAK, MAHEEN AUNTY, FREIHA WERE ALL BEYOND HELPFUL. SO WAS MUNIRA WALIKA, WHO IS A ROCKSTAR BACKSTAGE. I LEARNT A LOT, I SAW THE MISTAKES I MAKE, AREAS WHERE I CAN DEFINITELY IMPROVE.

What is your latest accomplishment?

It’s something in the pipeline right now which I am going to be announcing very soon. I am extremely excited about it! Fingers and toes crossed!

What is the price range of your label? Is it affordable to niche class only?

I have a variety of ranges; my casuals are under 10,000; then semi formals between 13,000 – 22,000 and then heavy formals upward of that. So a little bit for everyone.

How do you create a different niche for your clientele?

I am a self proclaimed social media junkie, and I really found a market for my clothes online. That’s how I launched my business, and honestly it has really helped me push my brand forward and keep constantly engaged with customers. My niche has been carved by engaging in conversations with people through my page, people I have never even met, many who live abroad. But today they are some of my most loyal clients.

I AM COMFORTABLE WITH BOTH TRADITIONAL AND WESTERN WEAR; THERE ARE SO MANY DIFFERENT SILHOUETTES TO PLAY WITH. MY WESTERN WEAR SHOWS MY MORE FUN AND EDGY SIDE, AND FOR TRADITIONAL CLOTHES IT ALWAYS HAS TO BE CLASSIC AND FEMININE.

Considering the competition in the fashion industry today, do you think it’s becoming harder and harder to survive?

I think the level of competition in the market is definitely an overwhelming factor. And then a lot of the work that we do is very high investment, so you really have to manage your finances well, especially if you are young and starting out. But, slow and steady and you get there eventually.

Do you think it’s essential to own a retail store to succeed in today’s fashion climate?

Retail is a big part of the Pakistani fashion environment, and becoming bigger as more and more brands launch their own stores. We still don’t have the kind of market where consumers are comfortable shopping online, and making payments, so in that respect yes an outlet definitely gives you an added advantage. But it’s great to have a variety of multi label stores for people who can’t afford that level of investment yet. It gives everyone a chance to be part of the retail boom.

What do you think is the most effective means of brand building?

Brand building is all about conversations; you have to keep your consumers engaged and willing to talk about you in their own time. When they start doing that, you know that you have arrived.

What factors contributes in your success?

Having a good support system and great team is what has helped me get where I am today.

What are your most comfortable designing?

I am comfortable with both traditional and western wear; there are so many different silhouettes to play with. My western wear shows my more fun and edgy side, and for traditional clothes it always has to be classic and feminine.

Where do you see your label 10 years from now?

As one of the most popular, and identifiable fashion brands around.

Are you daring when it comes to colour schemes or do you play it safe?

I love colours, and they change with my mood. So yes, definitely daring.

How do you manage to strike a balance between professional and personal life?

There is a certain level of flexibility in how I put in my work hours. When not working, I love to go for a run, and yoga is a very important part of my life. A certain level of spirituality help me get through stressful work periods. I would like to take out more time to travel though so that’s the goal, hopefully very soon!

At which places your label is easily available?

I have been operating from my own studio and through my Facebook page but now have something in the pipeline where the Zari Faisal brand will become accessible at a lot more outlets across Pakistan. My FPW collection is available on the labels e-store as well.

Have you thought about designing clothes for men?

I have thought about it, but no plans as such in the near future to actually venture into designing men’s clothing.

Have you plan to work in bridal line also?

Yes. that is definitely on the cards, It will be soon.

What was the first outfit that you designed?

The first outfit I designed was this really simple white outfit, with a gorgeously worked six inches border in a variety of colours. It’s probably my most popular design, and I still get order requests for it to date. Good feeling!

FROM PAKISTAN, I WOULD LOVE TO SEE SYRA YOUSAF WEAR ONE OF MY OUTFITS; I AM PROUD TO SAY THAT SHE ALREADY OWNS SOMETHING FROM THE FPW COLLECTION AND I CAN NOT WAIT FOR HER TO ROCK THE OUTFIT!

As a fashion designer yourself, do you find it harder to buy clothes designed by other people?

No not at all; honestly it’s a nice change to go out and buy something made by another designer. It’s nice to add variety to your life and wardrobe.

Name one celebrity that you want to see wearing your label?

From Pakistan, I would love to see Syra Yousaf wear onf of my outfits; I am proud to say that she already owns something from the FPW collection and I can not wait for her to rock the outfit! Otherwise, I would love for Deepika to wear a Zari Faisal someday; I think she is absolutely stunning and carries off clothes beautifully. I shall make it happen someday.

Message for our readers…

I don’t want to put in a brand plug in my message to the readers, but I do want to ask them to please keep constantly engaged with us, and to give us their feedback as this is what helps us improve. Your feedback helps us make the beautiful clothes that we do, you are part of the process of creation at Zari Faisal. Other than that, on a general note, be happy, be comfortable with who you are, with your sense of style… and own it. Beauty, peace and love to all.

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