THE FASHION INDUSTRY THROUGH THE EYES OF VETERAN DESIGNER - MAHEEN KHAN
When Maheen launched her latest collection ‘Going Gaga’ we took the opportunity upon us and asked one of the Pakistan’s first ever fashion designer questions related to the industry – from the differences she has seen from yesteryear till today, her growth as a professional and lots more. Read on...
The princess’ stylist picked up a few outfits from a store I supplied. I subsequently got a call to say if I could design three outfits for the Duchess of Cambridge. I have also designed outfits for members of the Jordanian Royal family
Hi Maheen pleasure to always have you here! Tell us a bit about this latest collection ‘Going Gaga’. Any significant meaning behind it?
In the absence of fashion weeks my head has been over-creating. Needless to say with all that unused energy I was going GAGA. I spent a lot of time going through my archives and this was something I had done 15 years ago for Kl Fashion Week. I have always worked extensively with chiffon it immediately hit a spot in me.
You’re both the creative and the business head of your company. How do you balance your time between the two?
I don’t. Luckily for me, I have the backup and support of a super one-stop accounting company that keeps me compliant with rules and regulations. Outsourcing to experts enables me to manage my core business operations without the inconvenience or hassle of managing an extra in-house accounting team. I am totally free to spend all my time designing and sourcing fabric. It’s a good day when I have designed something I’m happy with.
It’s very evident that the future is digital. Nowadays, everything is sold online which takes away the physical essence of a brand. As a veteran, what are your thoughts on this and new designers getting their fame via social media?
An established good designer will always have a physical presence. It is impossible to buy high-end fashion or couture online
The touch, the feel, the fit and the fall are the essentials of a designer ensemble. There is a whole organic connection to the client in styling and fitting a perfect garment that is lost when you sell online. New commercial brands are launched every day on social media but in no uncertain terms are they designers.
It was a very proud moment for Pakistan to have you design the wonderful outfits Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales, wore during her visit to Pakistan in 2019. Tell us a bit about this and how long the planning process took?
The princess’ stylist picked up a few outfits from a store I supplied. I subsequently got a call to say if I could design three outfits for the Duchess of Cambridge. From then on it was a rush. We picked out the colours and sent them to her for approval. It was such a privilege to design for her. I have also designed outfits for members of the Jordanian Royal family.
Is it hard to stay innovative in such times where everything is continuously being plagiarized? What do you think sets you apart from your competitors?
Every designer has a signature. You have to love what you do and stay firmly true to yourself. In the end, the goal is to have left a mark on the fashion industry. Once a garment is out on the rail you have lost it, so the trick is to move on fast.
Those who try to copy my styles can never get it right. In the end it is just a cheap copy
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?
Stay the course.
What advice would you give other young designers hoping to make it in the fashion world?
Either you have it or you don’t, but always be true to yourself.
How is working in fashion different today than from when you started out? Anything you wish to bring back?
I’d love to bring back the style from when I first started out. Today there is only embroidery. I find that very vulgar
How do you want women to feel when wearing your clothes?
Maheen Khan in three words?
The complete woman.
INTERVIEW: SAFA ADNAN
DESIGNER: MAHEEN KHAN
MODEL: ANNIE SIDDIQI
HAIR & MAKEUP: NABILA
PHOTOGRAPHY: NADIR TOOSY