In an exclusive interview with The Express Tribune, Sana Hashwani and Safinaz Muneer shared their challenges, innovations and marketing strategies.
What’s the future of lawn?
Hashwani: It was everyday wear for women, much of an easy and accessible option, but now so many innovations are taking place, so much more innovation in fabric and style. I believe it will evolve. Designers will dilute it down to high-street fashion.
Muneer: Limitless. This is the new pret of Pakistan. You can wear it from morning till night. Extremely vibrant for our weather.
What is the most challenging aspect of being a designer?
Hashwani: Coming up with collection after collection, after collection and after collection. We need to develop our design team, which we still don’t have. Much like large corporations, we are very professional in what we do.
Muneer: Blatantly being copied. Sometimes one can’t keep up with things being copied. Administrative work too is very challenging for both of us.
What do you value more: Creativity and aesthetic sensibility or discipline and dedication?
Hashwani: A bit of both. Creativity has to be paramount. You have to work on infrastructure, hands free. About three years ago, we were told by Guddu&Shani, our photographers, that we should document what we do, so, that is exactly what we have done.
Muneer: Unfortunately, it is both. They both go hand in hand.
From all your ventures, if only one could survive, which one would you choose?
Your brand was known for not advertising. Now that the brand is at its peak, there is immense advertising. How much of the success do you attribute to advertising?
Hashwani: [About]15-20 years ago when we started, things were very different, now the market is very savvy. Have you noticed how the media, be it electronic or print, has picked up in Pakistan.
We have to change along with the times. So, yes we have done a lot of advertising and we are documenting what we are doing. It’s a global trend now. Your public awareness has grown many times and the country is following the trend.
Muneer: But there has been a back-lash of advertising as well. We see our designs being copied. Advertising is a double-edged sword, the more you advertise, the more you get copied.
What’s the key to your success?
Hashwani: We love fashion. We are able to recognise the strength and weaknesses. I believe the business plan must change, constantly evolve. You need to be innovative to bring in new products – innovation comes with the youth and we need to bring it in.
Muneer: Constant innovation.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 21st, 2011.
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