A rendezvous with cotton

Supermodel-turned-entrepreneur Vaneeza Ahmed sets base in the design world, this time with a ready-to-wear collection.

Saadia Qamar December 09, 2014


Entering the fully stacked multi-label store on a given Monday evening, the ground level of the Labels store was filled with a colourful range of Vaneeza Ahmad-Ali’s Cotton Cambric collection.

Featuring a wide range, dominant in solid hues, the model-turned-designer conferred a casual stroke to the day-wear collection. With an assortment of colours to choose from, the target consumer is the everyday working woman who doesn’t wish to compromise on style. From white, to different tints of pink and peach, to sky-blues and turquoise, and burnt orange, vivid reds and beige, her anthology of cottons feature straightforward eastern silhouettes. A slight tinge of floral embroidery on the neck and hemlines seems to be an overriding trend in the design set. Said to be a regular collection, new designs will be added to racks every fortnight.

When inquired about the idea behind a ready-to-wear Cotton Cambric collection in Karachi, she spontaneously replied, “The darzis. After undertaking the lawn project, I realised that the darzi troubles a modern woman of today, exceedingly way too much. Also working women today require a no nonsense kapra/outfit; so, I did this simpler version of a kurta for her,” Vaneeza told The Express Tribune. But what really made her think was a chance meeting with a lady doctor who shared the difficulty of getting clothes stitched in time and hence, decided to go ahead with this idea. “I believe, everything else is available in the market but simple, understated kurtas are not easily accessible so I decided to tap into this market.”

Asked why the city of lights was chosen for the commencement of her novice collection, Vaneeza tells us, “Generally, Lahore and Islamabad’s weather is very different; I will be launching the marina fabric there. But this one is specifically for Karachi and Hyderabad based customers.”

The retired supermodel elaborated on the design theme she was aiming to capture, “I told my creative team, the ensembles had to be classic and not complicated! That is the look we wanted to achieve.”

But these simple stitch, cut and style patterns could easily be replicated and distributed in the market. Regarding that, she says, “There is a market which copies it. We have seen many copies of other branded stuff, it happens everywhere. Be it big brands like LV, Gucci and Prada; they can’t do anything about it, as their copies are made in many other China Towns. So this will happen everywhere we go, anywhere in the world.”

From being a supermodel to a prominent designer and entrepreneur, it’s been quite an expedition. She asserts, “I am a business person not a designer. This was a very natural step for me; coming directly from the ramp to design prêt! I have done lawn for nine years while designing shoes for two but this new cotton collection will continue for sure.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 10th,  2014.

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