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Up close and personal with Farida Hasan

Farida Hasan gets candid with Instep about her design aesthetic, summer trends for 2017 and why women with dark skin should never be discouraged from wearing pastel colours

Up close and personal with Farida Hasan
Mother-daughter duo:Khuban Omer Khan and Farida Hasan.

There are few names that come to mind when one speaks of elegant fashion and designer Farida Hasan easily tops the list. Having been around since 2010, Hasan has marveled her buyers with the finesse and feminine flair she brings to the table and has established herself as one of the leading designer labels of the country. What started off as a pop up exhibition has brilliantly flourished.

The label has very recently launched a new Spring/Summer 2017 Luxury Pret collection, a beautiful depiction of summer, which is why Instep got in touch with the mother-daughter duo, Farida Hasan, Creative Director, and Khuban Omer Khan, Managing Director, to talk about their work.

“The woman who wears Farida Hasan is free spirited and someone who isn’t afraid to embrace her feminine side,” answered Khan when asked to describe the quintessential ‘Farida Hasan’ woman.  “She’s a woman who appreciates trends but also values timeless and classic ensembles which she can wear season after season.”

Further describing the label’s unique selling point, the the designer elaborated: “Our summers get really hot and women enjoy wearing a subdued colour palette. Perhaps this is why designers cater to this desire. Having said that, we’ve been doing luxury pret using pastel colours and signature floral hand embroideries much before the floral trend started. It’s something that comes naturally to us. Our attention to detail and our embroideries definitely set us apart.” The brand heavily invests in each embroidery, almost as much as a bridal designer would. But Farida Hasan treats each pret design like a work of art.

What would she recommend to women as summer trends for this year?

“We feel that layering with ruffles and frills with lace organza and pearl detailing are trending this year. However, we can never part with our standard chikan and cotton silk kurtas, which have a distinctive boho chic vibe and are super comfortable to wear in the heat.”

Pastel colours may be a favourite for the brand but the designer has an important thing to say to Pakistani women. There is a lot of dialogue around who should wear light pastel shades, where darker women are made to feel as though their skin colour does not allow light colours.

“We wouldn’t ever discourage anyone who has dark skin not to wear pastels. We absolutely don’t believe that pastels only suit a particular skin tone,” confirmed Khan, and we wholeheartedly agree with her.

The Farida Hasan brand is available at several leading stores nationwide and internationally but have yet to venture into the fashion week circuit. The designer cleared out as to why that is so.

Fareda-2“We do realize that participating in fashion week immediately ups your brand value and gives you recognition beyond what any advertisement campaign can do but we believe in moving things at a rate that is comfortable for us. We want to grow organically. We don’t want to participate one year and disappear for three years after that. It has to be sustainable for the long haul and it can’t be at the expense of enjoying our work.”

But does the designer think that designers who show at fashion week have an edge over those who don’t? “In terms of brand recognition yes. But not necessarily in terms of sales or customer satisfaction,” she reiterated.

Being a huge designer label means that success doesn’t come easy. It’s a lot of hard work, one that requires a lot of time and commitment. Hasan sheds light on the realities of working in the fashion industry, and shares some of the obstacles and hurdles faced in the business.

“Interacting with labour is what we find most exhausting,” she said when asked what part of designing and running an operation of this magnitude entailed. “This involves dealing with their internal politics, negotiating with them when they clearly want to black mail you into submission and dealing with the crises that ensues once they get poached by other designers. Of course we value and respect their work and this industry cannot exist without them. But we feel that the industry could do with a bit of ethics and stability in the labour department.”

As the world moves towards the digital era at an alarming rate, everything is now happening online, including marketing and social media plays a huge role in marketing a product effectively. Farida Hasan is one of those successful labels that has enough clout that it doesn’t really need social media marketing to help with sales. However, Hasan recognizes social media as an emerging tool for marketing and thinks that it’s something the brand will be delving into soon.

“We have never spent on social media marketing but we feel it is very important and we should do it because visibility is important with so many brands out there.”

On a concluding note, the designer shared with us that it’s the brand’s dream to open a standalone store. “We wish to open a store that reflects our design philosophy. Boutique and multi brand stores is where we stand at the moment. Also, our E-store is coming up soon!”

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