May 292015

The local fashion industry seems to be in its heyday as designer after designer brings forth collections. Among the latest to showcase her line is Shazia Hashwani, who recently held a one-day exhibit at multi-designer store Labels in Karachi. Currently based in Dubai, she operates from a workshop but plans to launch her store in the coming year.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Shazia revealed her line caters to Pakistani women, who travel extensively. “It’s a feel-good collection and inspires women to go on a holiday this season,” she said. Zahir Rahimtoola, CEO of Labels, said, “Although she’s based in Dubai, her latest collection will do well for travellers here, who are planning a vacation in this sweltering weather.”

Exhibiting here for the first time, she feels “it [was] time to exhibit in Pakistan as people in the country should know [her] work.” Commenting on Shazia’s collection, Zahir Rahimtoola, CEO of Labels, stated, “This is the first time that Labels is housing a resort collection by any designer. It’s a first-of-its-kind for us and also Shazia’s first exhibition in Karachi.”

The collection involves a playful combination of fabrics, including net, chiffon and raw silk. It boasts a colour palette, which ranges from dark hues, such as blue, orange and red, to earthy tones, such as off-white, beige and deep gold. The tops and tunics feature intricate embellishments on the neck-line, sleeves and hemline. Also gracing the racks were digital-printed, kaftan-inspired outfits. “You will find Middle-Eastern influence in her collection. In the retail-store business, we hardly get to see resort collections,” shared Rahimtoola.

Shazia shared that, when she first started her label, it was called ‘Shaznoor’. “The earlier [brand] was launched in association with my mother two years back. I’ve re-branded it and made it eponymous, which helps bring out my identity.” Starting off her business in 1993 in Islamabad, the designer is now working towards making her designs known in the country.

Although Shazia has mainly kept away from the limelight as compared to cousins and designers Sana Hashwani of Sana Safinaz fame, Ayesha Farook Hashwani, who locally popularised cocktail dresses, and Shamsha Hashwani, recognised for her prêt-wear, she has managed to gain ground. Rahimtoola said, “In this clan, each one of them has got a fashion vibe. Fashion is related to bigger investments as well.”

Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th,  2015.

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