Saba Ahmed talks to designer Aneeta Nagi Bukhari
1. You’ve said that “Love Indigenous is a tribute to the multifarious worlds, and stories, that form our existence.” Care to elaborate?
Love Indigenous is about taking inspiration from a multidimensional world. On one end of the spectrum, Iâ€™m really inspired by geometric patterns and Islamic art and on the other Iâ€™m exploring the threadwork of interior Sindh and cross stitch of south Punjab. We’re creating one-of-a kind pieces of cross stitch on organza that I haven’t seen anywhere before. It’s proven to be a successful experiment. So for anything in the world, Love Indigenous is committed to pushing boundaries
2. Love indigenous is big on corporate social responsibility. Is this something that you hold dear?
On a personal level, social welfare has always been a big part of my life. As a family, we are constantly creating income-earning opportunities for families that need help and resources to make themselves self-sustaining. Our family has created income-generating opportunities for 20 odd families in our area. My father, who is big on health issues, is providing ongoing treatments and education and so itâ€™s something Iâ€™ve grown up seeing and which I feel very strongly about. Love Indigenous is about taking responsible fashion to a more professional and more organized level. The Love Green initiative is where we source embroideries and hand block prints from families that have the skills and the talent yet donâ€™t have access to urban markets. Sourcing and paying them is not where we end our relationship with them. We go beyond that: any ensemble that gets sold that is hand blocked or embroidered by people from this initiative, a portion of the profit is given back to them
3. Tell us about your design process
There are two arms to the design process, one is where we source from families and women from different parts of the country, and with that we have a decided cut, design and color combinations of the embroidery and of the ensemble. It comes back to us fit to our specifications. The other arm is our in-house production where our team of designers and myself sit together and brainstorm ideas. We donâ€™t have any such set pattern, the floor is open to anything and in fact some of our most beautiful ensembles have been results of random musings. Most of our designs are hand drawn, transferred onto computers and then sent for printing
4. Tell us about your journey into the world of fashion and apparel
Iâ€™ve been exposed to many different and creative ways of expressing myself. I play the sitar; my motherâ€™s a furniture designer and my fatherâ€™s a journalist. When I got married and moved to Karachi, I enrolled at the Indus Valley School for Art and Architecture in the diploma program in Photography. That just connected me to a world of talent and gifted people who I was amazed to come across and then one thing led to another. Exploring photography led me to exploring textiles and I met more and more students studying various mediums, communication design, textiles, and photography. So later, I decided to put it all together and that is how Love Indigenous was formed
5. Are you big on multitasking? How are you at work?
Iâ€™m a homemaker first, I have a two-year-old and actually being a mother makes you a great multitasker! So Iâ€™m going at my own pace and Iâ€™m not competing with anyone but myself. Yes, a byproduct of multitasking is that I tend to micromanage big time. At work, Iâ€™m pretty easy going, and I understand that harmony is very important in the workplace. And striking that balance between accommodation and discipline is something Iâ€™m still learning
6. What are your favorite pieces from your collection?
I do have favorites, one is the hand embroidered jacket by women in Khairpur that I absolutely love and then there is the cross stitch jacket which incorporates hand cross stitch on organza. It’s got beautiful big floral motifs with our in-house digitally designed raw silk shirt. I think generally Love Indigenous is being known more for our statement jackets and coat
7. The market is saturated with designers. How do you feel about this?
I feel obviously that there is intense competition but I also feel that the competition really helps to challenge my creative sensibilities. You have designers that are formally trained and others that are just naturally gifted and the spectrum is so wide, but I think that if you bring something new to the table, you will not be disappointed with the response from the public. I think people are very open and accepting of new people coming into the market. Of course, people have their loyalties and favorites but if you do have something new and different, I think people are still keen to try you out and give you the response that you deserve
â€œMy favourite pieces are a hand embroidered jacket by women in Khairpur and a jacket which incorporates hand cross stitch on organzaâ€
8. Are clients different from city to city?
Probably not so much from city to city for the big metropolitan cities, but internationally, people don’t walk in and demand discounts. That is something that Iâ€™ve noticed as a trend so far. Locally, itâ€™s just negotiate and negotiate for you to bring down the cost! This is something that bothers me especially when people haggle with poor people and are willing to pay exorbitant prices for designer wear
9. How is your ideal day off spent?
My ideal day off is spent being an entertainer for my 2-year-old. This wedding season she discovered the little dancer in her and on most weekends we go mad dancing with her on her favorite music. I feel humor and fun are so important and necessary. My husband and I are big on eating out and hitting the cinemas on the weekend. Thatâ€™s our time to catch up
â€œSome of our most beautiful ensembles have been results of random musingsâ€
10. What is your greatest weakness?
11. What is your greatest extravagance?
Travelling and definitely not touristy places!
12. Pakistani designer you admire most?
Very tough between Ã‰lan and Sania Maskatiya
13. Who from anywhere and from any age would you love to dress?
Iâ€™d love to dress
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