Store launch: Wealth of ethnic wares

New lifestyle boutique brings wide range of traditional items to fore.


Maryam Usman May 08, 2014
Traditional artforms from all over Pakistan come together under the AHAN roof to provide a holistic shopping experience. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD:


Slowly but surely, lifestyle boutiques have carved a niche for themselves in the capital. An emerging trend in the field has witnessed a mushrooming of such spaces specifically dedicated to artisan-based and handmade products which are labours of love, bearing character and a history.


In the spirit of celebrating and showcasing the traditional goods of Pakistan, Aik Hunar Aik Nagar (AHAN), a non-profit organisation working under the Ministry of Industries and Production, launched its flagship store in a bustling commercial block of Sector F-7.

Shireen Arshad Khan, a jewellery designer and chairperson of the organisation, shared the store’s concept at the red-carpet launch on Tuesday. “We are basically striving to promote Pakistani products, to facilitate market access to them and enable international linkages.” Representing indigenous art forms, the products originate from the country’s four provinces.

AHAN Chief Executive Officer Imran Ahmad said, “This is for the uplift of rural artisans and craftsmen of the country. We train them and transform their products into contemporary works of art, equipping them with income-generating opportunities.”

The boutique houses a sizable variety of products — textiles, ceramics, wood, silverware, leather and ethnic embroidered motifs. Exuding a cosy vibe, the boutique offers the casual observer a taste of the diverse and eclectic Pakistani aesthetic sense. A team of 25 qualified designers are working in various sectors of the organisation to keep the goods coming.

Commenting on the design, model and fashion blogger Marjan said, “When you hear about a non-profit organisation, you naturally expect the clothes to be very traditional and typical — but the team here has incorporated some out-of-the-box ideas, keeping the outfits trendy and wearable, yet genuinely ethnic.” The range of women’s apparel boasts a variety of casuals, formals and semi-formals, while men’s footwear includes leather sandals.

“The idea is to have a one-stop shop for people who want see all these traditional items on sale under one roof,” said the event manager Rezz Aly Shah. “The store launch with glamorous models also promotes a soft image of the country,” he added.

This is the brand’s third store in the country, with two others previously launched at Xinhua Mall in Lahore and Centaurus Mall in the capital.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 8th, 2014.

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