Ammara Salahuddin of ‘Salahuddin & Pasha’ Fills us in on her Journey as a Designer
When Ammara launched her label ‘Salahuddin & Pasha’ a few years ago she was on a mission to make high quality contemporary, fresh styles that women could invest in. Armed with a couture degree from Paris, she set out and built a steady clientele across the globe with time. ‘I wanted a gender-neutral name for the brand as we do bespoke menswear as well.’
‘I’ve been creating and over creating designs in silk - a fabric I love playing with; we don’t typically work with polyesters of any sort. When we launched our new collection ‘AMOUR’, I wanted to release fun, festive wear that was not overly embellished or too traditional, but outfits with cinched waistlines, innovative cuts, elegant drapes and beautiful jewel tones in high quality fabrics. The way the fabric falls, fits and contours are the basic elements of designer ensembles. Commercial brands don’t understand that, they have a different market altogether.
Every designer has a signature. It brings me immense pleasure to see women enjoying my imagination. ‘AMOUR’ was a commercial success both in Pakistan and abroad and that made me feel more confident designing ensembles that represented us - contemporary, high fashion and staying firmly true to yourself.
I have a strong team because of my decade-long work experience and they are the reason for my success. I believe in supporting one’s team and uplifting and preserving the craft. At the same time, I also believe in mechanized processes in production to make the business a commercial success.’
Ammara’s story started in 1993, as her friends watched Saturday morning cartoons in the city of Nairobi, where she spent her formative years, Ammara’s five-year-old self was busy watching Christian Dior shows on CNN. ‘I vividly remember the neon suits, strong shoulder pads and cinched waists on the beautiful Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista as they strutted down the runway to jazz. I was mesmerized by the world of high fashion.’ After high school, she studied fashion from PIFD in Lahore and later Mod’spe Paris to further hone her skills. Back in Karachi, she opened her atelier after gaining work experience. ‘My client list grew rapidly in tandem with my reputation for high quality formal and bridal wear’.
‘I love giving a touch of glamour to my outfits and don’t believe in adding laces and frills to make a silhouette feminine. I believe in sensual, fluid, strong silhouettes with glamour. The cuts of the outfits are made with the intention to flatter the feminine form, not hide it.’
Her couture and ready-to-wear lines are gaining popularity among A-listers, as seen on Sarwat Gillani, Hira Tareen, Noor Zafar Khan and in music videos featuring Coke Studio sensation Natasha Baig. ‘I love designing for women; you learn so much along the way and I am passionate about my job and the responsibilities that come with it, my brides know that.’