Her collection at the Pakistan Fashion Design Council (PFDC) Sunsilk Fashion Week had a fair share of hits and misses, yet designer Nida Azwer won over both critics and fashionistas when she brought children from the Save Our Souls (SOS) village on the ramp.
Onlookers’ hearts melted as they swooned over the delectable little models sporting Azwer’s miniature Mughal pieces. That, perhaps, was an eureka moment for other designers who also may have already started considering devoting their attention to this line of clothing.
Earlier this year, one saw the astute business woman Maheen Kardar of Karma launch her line for ‘little women’ and make a splash at the PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week round three in Lahore. Kardar’s giddy girly show elicited widespread acclaim from even the likes of Britain’s fashion authority Hilary Alexander.
This weekend Azwer, who had been quietly designing for her clients’ kids, finally decided to go public with her new move. “Fashion week was a nice teaser and now I’m officially launching my kids’ line,” says Azwer.
Ranging from Rs2,000 to Rs12,000 and catering to ages from three months to 12 years, Azwer’s kids collection is essentially formal wear. “Kids normally just wear eastern wear as formal wear,” she rightfully points out. “The kurtas, angharkas and ghaghras are doing really well.”
True to her usual sophisticated ethic, Azwer’s kids’ line is mostly in ivory and gold with pastels that have her signature embossing and fine embroidery. One sees how cleverly she has managed to improvise though: A robot is embossed on the back of a kurta which also has robot accents on the inside of the collar; another kurta sports a delicately embroidered truck on the front pocket. Another one has simple open-ended threads as a final finish and a white chikan kurta has gold blockprint all over and is fashioned like a Lucknow-style angharkha for men. Each piece can ingeniously be replicated for an adult version and Azwer admits that often they are sold in sets for parents and children.
“Designing for children is much harder than designing for adults,” she admits. “It’s a lot of hard work to get the same kind of fit for kids as we do for adults and the finishing is rather tricky as well. Yet, it is a lot more fun to design for kids,” says Azwer.
Azwer recounts how a client’s child was so forthright and independent regarding her clothes that she would personally come and pick out clothes for herself. “Kids today are so precise about what they want that they don’t let their moms pick for them. A few walked in today and were so excited to go to the trial room and try clothes out themselves.”
Given that few options exist for kids to find age-appropriate quality eastern formal wear, one would not be surprised if soon enough all designers launch a children’s wing. The West, on the other hand, considers children an independent buyer group as a result of which a growing number of brands — including Hermes, Ralph Lauren and Burberry — have a collection dedicated to kids. Here in Pakistan, it is a fresh albeit lucrative concept that plays out adorably on the ramp and it will be interesting to see how other fashion biggies interpret their collections for their mini clients.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2011.