After Hours: Ehtesham Ansari

Published: October 10, 2017
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Ehtesham Ansari has carved out a place for his work in an industry that is rapidly changing, to catch up with global trends and fashion statements. His hard work and never-say-never attitude have earned him his reputation and rightfully so! Many outfits and costumes in the aired episodes of Coke Studio Season 10 have caught our attention, and we’re keen to see Ehtesham’s work in upcoming seasons of the show.  

How did you become a stylist?

It just happened. All my academic life I figured that I’m not someone who could sit and work inside the box. For me, it was not just one element but the entire picture. Luckily my first job turned out to be a stylist’s job and it’s been almost 12 years that I’ve been working in this field.

How do you stay updated on current trends?

Mostly through Instagram, magazines, lots of culture and history books. My style is very different; I was inspired from different styles and now I’ve formed my own signature style. I love following Japanese people as I feel they’re very organic. I also like the 70s and 60s eras. I like to mix and match – it’s a challenge to mix different cultures together with today’s trends. I guess that’s why I enjoy Coke Studio as the show does the same with music.

How important is it for an artist to have a style statement on ‘Coke Studio’?

In our society, people think a style statement has to be something out of the box but that is really not the case: it can be something really simple as well. Ali Noor, for example, wears a basic shalwar kameez with a printed shawl with short hair and that became a style statement. Style statement doesn’t necessarily mean designer-wear or branded, even a simple muslin kurta can make a statement. One should be in their comfort zone while making sure  what is in rhythm with their music. Your style should look effortless.

How important is the communication between you and artists?

It’s very important! I feel that audio and visual go hand in hand and so it’s important to pay attention to the look and style. For this season, Ali Sethi’s song is a tribute to Mehdi sahab. Ali sang Ranjish hi Sahi which is an iconic ghazal but it’s old and sad. People probably expected Ali to look sombre and most likely did not expect his shimmery and vibrant look. But then I ask ‘why not?’ I think Ali carried it off quite well!

Has there ever been a conflict where you thought something else and the artists didn’t agree?

Most of my work is all pre-planned. By now, celebrities have seen my work and they trust me as a stylist. And sometimes even if there is conflict, we talk it out and make things work. A little conflict is healthy; it means people take interest in their looks.

How important do you think it is for a show like Coke Studio to have a stylist?

If you review seasons seven to 10, that’ll give you a very clear answer as to how important stylists are. There’s been a variety of costumes, a certain uniformity to match the feel of the show, and lots of creativity remaining within that feel. It also gives people — audiences, bloggers, the press — many things to talk about. I would say that’s a job well done! (laughs)

Can you make out someone’s personality with the way they dress?

I don’t judge people usually but of course, the way you’re dressed does give an impression of who you are. Or maybe it’s just me thinking too much because it’s my profession. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re a celebrity or not, your style always leaves an impression on whoever you meet.

Three must-haves in your styling kit?

Face wash, a nail cutter and safety pins.

Any special moment on the sets of Coke Studio that you would like to share?

It’s been a great journey for me. Every single song I’m a part of is a special memory. Coke Studio feels like family now.

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