Nomi Ansari: Ajrak makes a comeback

Published: March 16, 2012
Fashion designer Nomi Ansari gives his signature spin to the traditional ajrak. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Fashion designer Nomi Ansari gives his signature spin to the traditional ajrak. PHOTO: PUBLICITY


Nomi Ansari is a fashion designer known for his use of bold and eclectic colours. He displayed his limited edition spring/summer 2012 collection on Thursday at the House of Ensemble. With just one look at the designs, it seems Ansari has stayed true to his passion for bright hues — except for his formal line where he brings ajrak prints in darker colours into the forefront. The Express Tribune spoke to the designer about the concept behind his print collection and the use of ajrak.

Talking about his casual line, Ansari said, “It is a fun line which is perfect for summers. I’ve used a variety of colours as well as different kinds of traditional embroidery such as the tukk kaam from Khairpur. There is also a formal line which features ajrak prints.”

Signature ajrak prints

On why he decided to incorporate something as traditional as ajrak in his collection, he said, “Recently, I got some ajrak for myself from Hyderabad and stitched a shirt out of it. Looking at its unique and unusual print, I realised that designers have not fully capitalised on this material. So taking this into consideration, ajrak designs have been introduced in this collection but each design is exclusive and none of them have been repeated.”

When asked how he manages to give ajrak a modern flavour, he said that he has taken original ajrak material from Khairpur and added a lot of gold wire and zardozi work on it and stitched them into loose silhouettes.

Shehrnaz Hussain, co-director at The House of Ensemble said about Ansari’s collection, “While ajrak is a material popular throughout Pakistan, very few designers have tried their hand at embellishing ajrak.”

Target market and customer response

“The collection is primarily for the image-conscious and modern woman of today,” the designer said.

Nabila Khawaja, an avid fan of Ansari’s designs said, “Although ajrak material comes from the land of Indus, it’s surprising that nobody has tried to make use of it creatively.” For another customer, Maha Qureshi, it was all about the colour selection, “Nomi always chooses loud and exuberant colours for his line and it’s the way he plays with these colours that sets his designs apart.”

Published in The Express Tribune, March 17th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (2)

  • far
    Mar 17, 2012 - 12:56AM

    sana and safinaz took out a ajrak collection in early 90 i guess and it was also fetured in bbc !


  • sadia
    Apr 9, 2012 - 3:40PM

    Firstly, Nur Jahan Bilgrami started this Ajrak trend back in 2002, She wrote many books, and documented the craft since then. She is the only who had created fusion in the Ajrak look in her exhibition by the name Sun, Fire, and River in 2008. Secondly these ajraks are not product of Khairpur, and Is done by a group of Men in the Hyderabad sector. These Ajraks were never designed by Nomi Ansari. Its a shame that Big names like him steal away other people credibility. Insam introduced these contempory Ajraks in 2009, and now they stock at Labels. Check out http://www.facebook.insam for further viewing of Ajraks. Later on YSB did a fashion show where he also Introduced last year, and never took complete credibility. How is Nomi Ansari doing something different?


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