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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Kalah - Very much the house of craft..

I have a treat in store for everyone!!

I know its a bit lame going back to work after 4 days off but you know what - we gotta keep the economy going!!! Anyway, to cheer us working folk up I have some beautiful photos to ogle at accompanied by a very insightful interview of the extremely talented Mubashra Najm, the creative brains behind the 'Kalah' brand.

I am actually totally in love with her work. I almost placed an order but as she was a little busy and I am a control freak (she wasn't able to send sketches in advance) I didn't go ahead but I massively regret this now - I can honestly say in my opinion this is THE brand to look out for and every pic I see of her bridals just outdoes the last one which trust me is a tall order!





Tell us a little about yourself and how did your label start? 
I graduated around 4 years back from the Indus Valley School of Arts & Architecture in Karachi. i did my Bachelor's in Textile Design which helped build a very strong foundation for drawing out patterns and designs and helped me develop an understanding of colors. i feel these were the two core ingredients which have greatly helped me in my line of work. I'd always been interested in fashion but after completing my bachelors i wanted to apply whatever i had learned during those 4 years and put my skills to work. I also wanted to launch my own brand because I did not wish to work within the restrictions of someone else's design choices. I wanted to design clothes which were consummate with my creative vision. That is how Kalah was born as a brand of formals and bridals.
Where do you find inspiration? 
My philosophy of work has always been to provide exclusivity and customization which is why I've always believed in designing one off pieces. My inspiration are usually my clients, because whenever i design an outfit i design it according to what would suit a particular individual. whatever you choose to wear defines your taste and style; If I know my clients' personality and taste when designing a customized outfit for them, the process becomes that much easier. That's why I like to simply talk to my clients about their vision about their perfect dress before I actually start the design process. I then take them along with me on the whole process of designing which makes it interesting for us both and the end result is always very satisfying. 

You use a lot of pictorials in your outfits - how did this come about?
I use a lot of pictorials in my outfits because they require detail in terms of work and color and make the outfit more interesting. but thats a personal choice. a lot of people share that taste but some of them don't and i like keeping all options open for my clients. 



Your outfits have amazing work on them, how do you source your kaarigars and maintain such high standards?
Ive been lucky enough to find a reliable and a dedicated team of workers who have been with me from the start. it requires time and patience for your craftsmen to understand your tastes and the quality of work you expect them to do. This process no doubt has been challenging but rewarding at the same time.

Which region is the best for crafts?
Pakistan having a rich cultural heritage has the most talented and skilled craftsmen you can find. I've witnessed the crafts of Punjab and Sindh as part of school projects which has led me to appreciate and acknowledge the level of skill present in our country. I honestly cannot pick a favorite since I think they all have their own unique place.



Which trend do you dislike? Is there a style which you think is particularly unflattering?
I think whatever you chose to wear should compliment your body type and age. One particular style which i feel didnt flatter any body type were the dholak shalwars with short fitted shirts. that for me was a complete no no!

Which designer do you feel really sets the stage for Asian fashion? There are a lot of great designers doing some excellent work but my personal favourties are Zuhair Murad, Ellie saab, Naeem Khan, Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla, Ritu Kumar, Bunto Kazmi & Umar Sayeed.

What is your favourite type of embroidery? i love doing embroideries which involve a variety of stitches in one design, so you'd see a lot of resham work, pita work, load ka kaam, mukaish ka kaam, sitay ka kaam, sequins, swarovski work etc.



Are there certain things you will refuse to do in an outfit if you really believe the end result wont work?
During my discussions with a client if i feel strongly about something not working in an outfit i usually explain why it won't work. Although i incorporate my clients input into my designs but ultimately every dress is a reflection of my design aesthetic hence the responsibility of it looking great is also mine. it is very imp to trust your designer's sense of judgement because they can probably visualize the complete product and if they feel that something is not going to work, its best to stick to what they're suggesting. you should let your designer know exactly what you expect from the outfit and the necessary elements and then leave it upto them.

Give us your style prediction for this year
We're starting to see shorter hemlines making their way back. Although when speaking in terms of couture lots of volume always looks more graceful. people have become more experimental in terms of cuts now so you can chose whatever length and style suits you best!
Lastly, some words for anyone thinking of ordering from you…
Kalah is one of the few fashion houses where the clients can get one off customized bridals. Every Kalah bride is adorned in a dress created especially for her and one she has always envisioned herself wearing on her big day.