Joras and the social media jolt

Designer heavyweights weigh the cost of the Tabassum Mughal mishap against a fledgling fashion industry.

Ayesha Shaikh/saadia Qamar August 03, 2015
The incident took social media by storm, with hashtags and Facebook pages condemning the mishap. PHOTOS: PUBLICITY


Fashion has long been deemed to be an upscale enterprise, a niche only gradually approaching mass-market proportions. Given the persisting chasm between the industry and people at large, any incendiary incident has the potential to further this divide. And as social media continues to lend a watchful eye, it may be difficult to seek redemption and it seems that, in a recent case, rickshaw-shank redemption. Designer Tabassum Mughal, who has been in the spotlight for her alleged involvement in the physical assault of a client over, according to conjecture, the colour of a bridal dress, has paved the way for a series of questions. When approached, Mughal declined to comment.

Considering that a woman’s wedding day holds grave importance in the local cultural milieu, even the intricate details of her bridal outfits may be uncompromisable. “A woman has every right to be as involved as she wants to be for the joras she has ordered,” says Kamiar Rokni of The House of Kamiar Rokni. “But relaxed clients are usually the ones who end up with the better jora. There’s a thin line between collaborating and controlling, with the former being the key to a successful creation,” he adds.

Read: Fashion designer faces claims of verbal, physical abuse against client

With many designers ultimately wanting their signature aesthetics to shine through, disagreement is perhaps, inevitable. But in this case, a verbal spat turned into a physical attack and an FIR was filed against the designer in question, making this occurrence a cause for concern. Although the case has been reportedly resolved after monetary compensation was given to the alleged victim, the incident could bode ill for the local fashion industry.

Tabassum Mughal

“This is a one-off incident. Only a small percentage of such events take place and the fashion industry is growing,” holds designer Adnan Pardesy. According to another designer, Fahad Hussayn, the bad shouldn’t precede the good. “Such situations arise. [But all should be well] if everyone maintains professional decorum. If your name and integrity are at stake, you need to be twice as careful,” he notes.

Since bridal couture demands consistent interaction between the designer and the client, one may wonder what the best possible way is to avert such a situation. “You don’t like somebody [or what somebody is saying], you politely walk away,” suggests Hussayn. Rokni bases his dealings on the ‘customer is always right’ notion. “We try to be polite and are never rude to our clients, so things rarely get ugly,” he shares. Although he hasn’t experienced such a drastic situation, he adds, “When we see that things may take an unfavourable turn, we refund the amount and try to accommodate the client as much as possible.”

Read: TBCW Day Two: The mantra is to think pink

Hussayn feels that getting agitated is never the answer. “One needs to calm down and look at the bigger picture. When you don’t see eye to eye with your client, you need to part ways amicably.” Acknowledging the challenges designers have to face, he says people have become ‘pushy’ nowadays. “So, I just retreat when people get rude. It’s never a win-win situation to get into a heated argument with a client,” he adds. He also laments how social media often gives a lopsided view of a given situation.

To make his interaction with clients foolproof, Pardesy ensures that he issues a receipt when taking an order. “From the receipts to the approval of the design, I make sure everything is on paper. There’s more paperwork involved than fabric,” he states. “This saves a lot of hassle. Surprises are never a good idea.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th,  2015.

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SHAGY | 6 years ago | Reply Just seeing one sided story on this...what does the designer say? what does her staff say? In our country bridal dress is more important than a degree for if the designer is not delivering on time...even the client can go crazy and attack the designer...maybe it was self defense by the stronger party?! I dont believe these fb sob stories!
Mahira Ali | 6 years ago | Reply Good designer, bad designer, good client, bad client, without saying much i believe in responsible reporting.The reporter should get both sides of the story and let the readers decide...i challenge you.
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