KARACHI: Fashion forces got candid at a discussion organised by entrepreneurship programme WomenX at the Pakistan Society for Training and Development on Wednesday. Featuring a triad of Fashion Pakistan Council forewomen, Chairperson Sanam Chaudhri, CEO Wardha Saleem and board member Mahin Hussain, the panel served as a guiding light for industry hopefuls present at the event, aptly titled ‘Fashion Speaks’.
In the up close and personal interaction, the trio shared the struggles that young entrepreneurs should be willing to endure if they want to make it big in the fashion scene. Hussain, who is also an accessory designer, spoke about the inevitable self-doubt a novice feels and how it subsides with time. “Initially, one doubts oneself but training and experiences can take one all the way,” she noted.
Competition in the fashion industry has become stiffer as it continues to grow in scope, which, according to Saleem, has made it a totally different ball game. “Back in the day, there wasn’t much competition but with the emergence of social media, things have changed,” she said. “Now, when you launch your own company, you need to have to set aside a budget for social media marketing, services of a PR firm, an accountant and a tax lawyer to address your financials.”
On how to break into the industry, Chaudhri said the best first step is to stock at a multi-designer store, followed by launching an e-store. To this end, it’s also essential to streamline one’s purpose of setting foot in the market. “You need to decide whether you’re in it to showcase your credentials as a designer or just to mint money,” she stated. Saleem shared originality is key when it comes to gaining ground in the industry, adding one should consider drawing inspiration from one’s cultural milieu. “Focus on your work, establish your target market and put the price tags accordingly,” she recommended.
“In this struggle of becoming a designer, you have to be stubborn,” said Chaudhri. Saleem feels that one should be a go-getter and push boundaries to achieve one’s goals. Hussain shared what she holds is imperative to be successful in the industry, saying, “Designer Maheen Khan once told me to develop a third eye. Go into the depth of things, never feel what one has achieved is sufficient and strive for the best.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 13th, 2015.