On the weekend, L’atelier Boutique celebrated its one-year anniversary with the launch of Mahreen Agha’s JamaZaib line. The collection, a mix of formal and casual wear, particularly emphasises on saris.
According to Agha, wearing a sari is traditionally associated with India as it is the primary formal wear across the border. However, Agha is bent upon making saris sartorial in Pakistan, especially Islamabad.
For Agha, based in Islamabad, this is her first exhibition which forays into the local fashion scene. She has been working in the line for six months straight. Although aware that the market might not be ideal, she is confident that the collection will help establish her name. “This is my passion. I know it’s a big risk at the moment but I’ve got a whole creative team behind.”
Agha is, first and foremost, a businesswoman. “She’s got a good eye and knows what to sell,” said L’atelier’s CEO Zahra Raza. “It’s a new brand and she’s showing a lot of block prints as well.” The prices of the saris range from Rs12,000 to Rs40,000.
“I want to promote saris as people usually have to buy them from India,” explains Agha, gesturing to a variety of pieces, colours and fabrics from her exhibition. In terms of what sets the Pakistani variety of saris apart from its eastern counterparts, Agha believes it is a matter of production and design. “We have work that’s neater. It’s a lot more delicate,” she said.
Agha is also working with simple, embroidered blacks and different hues of pink — two colours she feels women flock to, especially during the summers. She has worked with chiffon, brochia, and shisha silk from Dubai for the saris. Although JamaZaib may stress its sari collection, the brand is not entirely determined by it. Agha’s exhibition also included casual kurtas in bright, seasonal hues — ranging from Rs2500 and up. Although Agha clarified that she is not ‘in it’ to rake in mega bucks from sales, she claims she is mostly here for advertising purposes and to get her name across. To the young designer’s delight, many of the items were already sold.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2011.