It’s only been a year since the young textile graduate Sania Maskatiya launched her self-titled designer wear brand and she has already dressed an Oscar nominee — the proof of which hangs proudly in her shop window. Needless to mention, Maskatiya is thrilled and brimming with excitement that she was chosen over fashion greats like Bunto Kazmi and Sana Safinaz by the documentary film-maker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy for her Oscar tryst.
“Did you see it?” she asks her face aglow with pride. The kameez itself is cream and self-embroidered with an intricate tree motif with tiny birds sitting on it. The craftsmanship is immaculate and evocative of a rich culture. There are not many who can do nature replete with animals, insects and trees as well, something that Maskatiya managed to deliver so gracefully.
Even designer Mahin Karim, who is lauded for emphasis on cuts and silhouettes rather than embellishment, is a fan of Maskatiya’s work. “As you can probably tell from my own sense of style, I am not very into the ‘pretty, pretty’ clothes that is why I love Sania’s work because it’s super wearable yet very glam and very much geared towards women our age,” said Karim. Indeed, her last fashion week collection titled ‘Dilkash’ saw Maskatiya demonstrate how effortlessly she can work with both cuts and embellishment — working prolifically with birds, paisleys, unique block and screen prints for instance. However, one can see that Maskatiya is quite aware of the exclusivity her brand holds and even though she is humble in her demeanour, the prices of her designs are anything but.
Despite the prices, with jumpsuits averaging Rs13.000 and embroidered pants priced at Rs10,000, the brand still sells like hot cakes and one believes that it’s not just the creativity that makes her so popular, it’s her attention to detail with something as basic as sizes that most clothing stores ignore, which makes her stand out. Above each of her lines, be it pret in cotton or silks, or the ‘orders only’ section, there is a sign with body measurements to denote sizes. “There is great variety in terms of styling,” notes designer Adnan Pardesy. “Their value additions and the collections’ sleek finish are things you don’t really find easily. I love Sania’s work for her experimentalism, her sense of textiles and the quality of her embroideries.” And it is this dexterity that had women from both a traditional sensibility, like Memon and Chinioti aunties, as well as the young urbane modern girls, queuing up at her store to satisfy their retail binge.
The invite to the one-year celebration event mentioned that attendants clad in Maskatiya dress will be eligible for a lucky draw, the prize of which is an outfit by the designer. Fans of the designer took the lucky draw seriously and dressed in their Maskatiya outfits to bag an outfit. The turnout and the response at the event was without a doubt, any one-year-old label’s dream come true.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 21st, 2012.