Kayseria: Going back to the roots

Waleed Zaman, head of the clothing brand, talks about the philosophy behind Kayseria’s prints.


Hani Taha January 09, 2012

LAHORE:


The lawn explosion this summer saw many new players enter the market and several seasoned ones upping their ante to define their hallmark in the wake of the ‘designer lawn’ phenomenon. While most took the embellished border and gala route, the brand Kayseria, a scion of a prestigious local textile house, retained its claim of ‘magic in prints’. Under the direction of its young and dynamic director Waleed Zaman, Kayseria utilised its captain’s art education to create fabric that appeared like tapestries and canvas on print. It’s been a year since Zaman held the reigns and one can clearly see his education at The Prince’s School of Tradition Arts’ London take form in prints that are inspired from Islamic geometry, icon and miniature painting, western calligraphy and wood parquetry.  The Express Tribune speaks to Kayseria’s captain to see what lies ahead for 2012.


Where do you position your brand Kayseria amidst this recent lawn explosion?

Well, there are these big textile houses on one hand and then these individual luxury pret designers on the other, and there seems to be no synergy between the two. Kayseria, however, is an art and design studio with a rooting in the textile industry that makes it special. So, what we create are artistic prints that are affordable yet appealing to the discerning customer.

How do you see the lawn hysteria?

I like the competition. Lots of new people will enter the market and some will also leave. The idea is to keep raising the bar.

There’s been a growing trend of getting designers on board for promoting lawn. Although, you are an artist yourself, would you still consider attaching Kayseria’s name with a ‘designer’ label?

I admire designers like Rizwan Beyg immensely. The way he does embellishments is superb. Pakistan should be proud to have someone like him who has done justice to every tradition he has sought to revive.

We are always open to getting designers and, in fact, we’re the only company willing and prepared to give royalties to designers for their due recognition but our experience so far has been that they are too demanding and unprofessional.  We’re very supportive of the creative process and feel that it should be given due credit. Hence, we have many young fresh minds from design schools working for us. So we are not insecure about attaching ourselves with a designer just for the sake of it.

Do you think you could have done all this without formal education in arts?

Education brings about a revolution. The word revolution is not just used for uprooting and destroying but is also for giving a 360 degree turn and of going back to the origins to start from a new perspective. My education in art, both in my undergraduate and graduate studies, allowed me to discover my essence and that’s the vision that I have for Kayseria. I just love going to the origin of things and how they came into being and so Kayseria prints are also about that history of creation of a particular artistic tradition.

How do you feel about the fashion weeks’ wave that has taken over the country?

We participated in the PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week in March 2011 but got stuck in the afternoon voile programmes that only a handful of people attended. It was disappointing to see that PFDC didn’t treat the voile shows as part of their overall event.  Our purpose was to display our design revolution and to be direct with our design approach.

What are your plans for the future?

We want to start the trend for printed saris again. Sari is the noblest ensemble for a woman of the subcontinent and we intend to create these artistically rich saris in the purest of chiffons. Our saris will be hand painted, luxurious and undeniably feminine.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 10th, 2012.

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