CELEBRATING THE MAGIC OF WANIYA BY MEHR AZAM WITH MUSE FROM ACROSS THE BORDER ADITI RAO HYDARI
I think any kind of artist shouldn't have boundaries
Art has no boundaries! For the bridal collection ‘Mehrunnisa’, Mehr Azam went to our neighbouring country to showcase her talent by having the superstar Aditi Rao Hydari as a muse. She is looking strong and fierce in it, and we had a one-on-one conversation with the talented Mehr. Read the full interview …
Hello Mehr, pleasure to have you here. Tell us a bit about yourself and your upbringing?
Hello, thank you so much. My name is Mehr Azam. I'm a full-time mother, founder & creative director of Waniya. The brand is named after my daughter who is two-years-old. I was raised by two very strong women, my grandmother, and my aunt. I have been privileged in every way possible only because of these two. Most importantly they have taught me to be strong, independent, humble, helpful, and thankful, which I try to live by.
When and how did you come up with the idea of starting a clothing brand? Was this your childhood dream?
After graduating from the Pakistan Institute of Fashion Design in 2015, I wanted to gain some experience. By the end of 2020, my brother was the one who pushed me to start my brand as I was always a bit hesitant. Now when people ask me why I waited so long, the answer I give is that Waniya had to come into the world. It's all written in the stars as they say. I was a very creative child; I was always good at arts and crafts. I think I was 16 when I started watching a lot of fashion shows and magazines, that is when I decided I wanted to study fashion.
My brother was the one who pushed me to start my brand as I was always a bit hesitant
If Mehr was running some other business apart from the fashion industry, what would it be?
If Mehr was running some other business, it would be definitely something related to being creative. An interior design firm, I guess.
What is your major source of inspiration? And why?
The main source of my inspiration I think is everyday things around me, whether it's people, nature, or a graffiti on the wall
It can be anything when it comes in terms of design and especially embellishment. I think it’s very important to be aware of the things around and then of course historical references.
Being an artist - creative roadblocks come every now and then, how do you overcome them?
Yes, of course, roadblocks do come every now and then, but a creative person's research never stops. I never stop researching about history, and current fashion, sometimes design inspiration can come from just the texture of the sky. So, for me it is research, research, and research, so one never stops learning!!
How was your experience of working with Bollywood actor Aditi Rao?
She embarks such poise, and she was exactly the same when I met her. Such a delightful person.
I was very impressed with her patience to understand the campaign and she knew what to do
India and Pakistan have a long history, being a Pakistani fashion designer, did you face any kind of discrimination having Aditi in your campaign? Or everyone was welcoming?
We do have a long history, but I didn't really face any kind of discrimination at all. Everyone was quite welcoming and excited. I think any kind of artist shouldn't have boundaries.
You have worked with some of the biggest names of the industry in Pakistan, what made you go across the border for a shoot? And why Aditi Rao?
Ever since we started working on this campaign, the first face I had in mind was Aditi.
I have always loved her (Aditi) as an actress and a model. I always knew she would be the perfect face for the campaign
Our Fashion Industry is always evolving and changing with times; as a designer do you feel currently we should adapt anything from the fashion industry of our neighbouring country or perhaps Bollywood in particular?
Fashion keeps coming back after years, our neighbouring country does play with a lot of experimental cutlines, but I think it varies from country to country.
I think we, us as a Fashion Industry, are pretty strong itself.
Where do you see your brand ‘Waniya by Mehr Azam’ in five years?
I see Waniya by Mehr Azam as one of the most admirable brands in the industry.
You are running a successful brand ‘Waniya by Mehr Azam’ and are going global; what advice do you have for young people starting a clothing brand?
I'd like to say that just go for it! Believe in yourself and work hard. Design has no borderline. If you're stuck thinking about starting a brand or not, take a jump and dive in. You'll have fun and I wish success to anyone who's reading this.
Interview: Maryam Zuberi @zuberimaryam
Designer: @waniyabyma @mehrazam2
Hair & Makeup: @marianna_mukuchyan
Visual Direction: @mshahroz.tariq
PR & Coordination: @tnbtpr