Jewellery designer Shazia Deen, whose extravagant diamond creations are sought after by her clientele around the world, likes to wear her craft on her sleeve. Her sense of style is more classic than trendy and her sartorial signature, if you may, is her own jewelry. Deen boldly wears polki strings to lunches and manages to make quite a statement. She’s very clear that she’d rather invest in jewelry than a branded bag.
“If you are carrying a Chanel bag then the only difference is that I am wearing it in my neck,” she laughs when we meet to chat. “The price of both is almost the same. Plus, you can’t be decked up in heavy clothes at lunches as that would be completely out of place but a beautiful piece of jewelry will still make you stand out.”
While declaring that jewelry is ‘for all times’ Deen laments that in country like Pakistan it is considered an investment.
“Buying jewelry only means buy back and investment for most desis,” she says. “I consider land as investment. Unfortunately people are selling jewelry to buy clothes and bags which kills the whole purpose. What’s worse is that people are selling jewelry to go on summer holidays which is a shame.”
Speaking about how she got into the business, Shazia Deen recalls how she made and named her first design after her daughter Rameen. She got her first order on it and that inspired her to take things up professionally.
“I decided to launch my own line (with some prodding from friends) and turned the name backwards to call it Neemar. My daughter has brought so much joy to our life and the word Neemar was distinctive – it worked from a business aspect too.”
Deen has a regular front row presence at fashion weeks in Lahore and she has observations to make, especially with regard to opportunities offered to jewelry designers.
“The whole drill has become too monotonous,” she comments. “There is no platform for jewelry designers at bridal week and it doesn’t get the same kind of attention as apparel.”
Although she has been approached by a lot of established designers for fashion week, Deen believes such collaborations require time and research and should not be done at a last-minute notice.
“A designer should bring me on board to create the collection together and make sure that the jewelry is in the spotlight,” she believes.
Deen also has something to say about the quality of fashion weeks.
“You see journalists and bloggers on the red carpet, which means that there is something seriously wrong with the whole set up,” she opines. “A journalist’s concern should only be his or her writing and not what he or she’s adorning on the given day; it’s nice enough that people are lending them their products. And then I see mismanagement; even if you have ushers, by the end of the day the people who were supposed to be seated are not seated. One should steer clear of such events instead of creating a fuss. One shouldn’t distribute cards randomly just to fill up those seats. I will be really honest with you but I didn’t even go through the Instagram pictures this time,” she disclosed.
This is not to suggest that she looks down upon the fashion fraternity and names her favorites that include Elan, Zara Shahjahan, Faraz Manan and Misha Lakhani. “These designers have really made a name for themselves and I am really proud of them. We really need to think out of the box if the fashion week has to flourish and thrive,” she reinstates.
Coming back to her jewellery and personal style, Deen likes to improvise and present an individualistic look as opposed to blindly following trends. She’s wearing J brand jeans, a Zara jacket and Valentino shoes when we meet at her swanky outlet at 10 Q in Lahore.
“I will be very honest that when it comes to wardrobe it’s always a last minute thing,” she says. “I am not one of those people who will be thinking before hand or plan what to wear. I always get in at the last minute and just put two three things together and the days when I don’t do that it goes haywire. I admit I have my good and bad days but I am not fussy and like to be comfortable with what I am wearing. I prefer to keep it simple. I like block colors and from my own perspective I play very safe,” Deen says, giving us insight in her personal style.
“Dressing up these days is a do-or-die situation for women,” she concludes. “What they tend to forget is that inner happiness and confidence is the best thing you can wear. You’ll look good even on a bad day if you’re confident.”