ISLAMABAD: Settled in the heart of Islamabad, one-year-old Plush is a tiny boutique in which designer Pashmina Ahmed alters to the clients’ needs. The boutique offers pieces for ladies who want to make a fashion statement. Born and brought up in London, Ahmed says the concept of the boutique came to her when she worked in Notting Hill. She has a unique sense of design and cuts, and focuses mainly on prints.
In 2009, Ahmed launched her Mona Lisa line at the Pakistan Fashion Week in Karachi. With big prints of Mona Lisa on jackets and dresses, Ahmed created a stir in Karachi and Lahore; but hadn’t quite penetrated the Islamabad market. Isloo-ites were just not ready to take the risk of wearing bold prints. For them, Ahmed had to get off-track and focus on conventional designs that were more appropriate for the Islamabad market. “I used different cuts and safer colours,” says Ahmed. “I met the market needs, but it was something I did not enjoy.” She preferred working with bold designs and colours, but had to hold herself back. However, in 2010 Isloo-ites went on a fashion high and Ahmed went back to experimenting with designs of her preference.
Evolving trends give designers like Ahmed an edge over others. “People until two years ago were playing it really safe; be it cut, style or colour,” she says. As time passed, people wanted bolder fashion which gave me a chance to prove myself. Corals, neons and self-made prints of different characters made Plush outfits unique and popular. Client Samar Hussain says Plush brings a surge of much needed fun and flavour to Isloo fashion. “Designs at Plush are bold and expressive; each piece is a work of contemporary art.”
With its focus on limited edition collections, Plush exhibits one-off designs that keep the element of exclusivity alive. With her Mona Lisa line being a hit, she proceeded to the limited edition Marilyn Monroe print blouses that sold like hot cakes. “I choose to buy Plush because there are just a few pieces,” says one client, Maha Khan. “It’s exclusive and in a small city like Islamabad where the social circle is tiny, I do not want to walk into a dinner spotting my twin sister.”
Plush’s prints are inspired by pop culture — repetition of character faces in cosmic colours and funky prints makes it a unique and fun wear. With her latest Maharani print pieces sold out, she is now working to incorporate Pakistani merchandise prints for her latest collection. Her video game-inspired pieces are soon to be on display.
“These are prints people can associate with. I just made a Tetris print shirt which was ordered once the design was uploaded,” she says. Priced reasonably, Plush tops range from Rs2,500 to approximately Rs5,000. “My wardrobe is a shrine to Plush. I love it because each piece is so unique and makes you stand out in the crowd when worn,” said client Raniya Khan. “Her cuts, fabrics and designs are what set her apart from the generic designers. Plush is definitely one of my worldwide favourites.”
Plush will introduce customised handmade slipper shoes using leather, fabric and fancy work.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 11th, 2013.
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Correction: An earlier version of this article erroneously mentioned Nottingham as a place where Pashmina Ahmed worked instead of Notting Hill. The error has been fixed.
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