“Whenever I want to treat myself, I invest in a good bag or a nice shawl,” says Zeba Husain, the owner and director of the retail store The House of Ensemble. Perhaps it’s this love for shawls and their designs that Husain decided to toy with the idea of bringing the kaani designs — usually associated with shawls — on summer fabrics like silk, chiffons and cottons.
Thumbs up to Husain for creativity and a sharp entrepreneurial sense. On a recent trip to India, she took around 180 pieces of unstitched fabric to New Delhi, where she met Indian printers and asked them to design the same kaani designs on them. For the designs, Husain says she took inspiration from various books and from her own collection of shawls.
While talking about her target market, Husain says, “Since winters in Karachi are so short, people here can’t wear kaani shawls for long, that’s why I decided to bring the same designs to cooler fabrics that people can wear as evening outfits.”
Additionally, Husain has also introduced kaani-inspired scarves. “It’s a limited edition and we’ve kept the prices reasonable,” she states while adding that the collection will be placed at One, their store in Dolmen City.
If this latest experiment pays off, Husain says she plans to have kalamkar and jamawar collections in stores soon.
Unstitched Cotton: Rs4,500
Stitched Cotton: Rs5,000 to Rs 12,000
Unstitched Silk Crepe: Rs14,500
Unstitched Chiffon: Rs17,000
Stitched Chiffon: Rs17,000 to Rs 24,000
Stitched Jamawar Silk: Rs24,500
Scarves, short ones: Rs1,500
Scarves, long ones: Rs2,500
What is kaani?
Kaani, believed to be indigenous to Kashmir, is a superfine texture. It’s the Kashmiri name given to a wooden spool which works most while weaving a shawl on the loom. An unbelievable amount of concentration is required for weaving just an inch of the shawl.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 16th, 2012.
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