The recipient of the Women Empowerment Award 2017 presented to her by Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty, Syeda Amera has been nominated for the honour again this year. She tells GT how it is working internationally for a global clientele and about her last collection titled Beaded Illusion showcased at the J Winter Fashion Show 2018 in Hong Kong
As a Pakistani designer who has showcased collections in so many diverse destinations, like Australia, England, Spain, Paris, Hong Kong and the U.S.,
Do you ever plan on participating in any fashion shows in Pakistan again?
Iâ€™ve been lucky that it was the international media who approached me first. Later on, I started getting offers from many reputable local platforms, which included PFDC. I showcased my collection walking on Water at PFDC in 2015. As far as participating in more shows here, with all the pre-bookings, award functions and travelling, it has been difficult for me to focus on local shows but still I am looking forward to showcasing my collections on the local platform like I did earlier.
How was your experience at the J Winter Fashion Show 2018 in Hong Kong?
J Winter Fashion Show 2018 has been a remarkable experience. Iâ€™ve participated in phenomenally successes shows at the most exotic runways in Paris, Sydney, New York and Spain. In February 2018, I officially added Hong Kong into my famous fashion showcase series at the worldâ€™s most iconic venues.
Featuring the cityâ€™s picturesque skyline, J Winter Fashion Show 2018 premiered six haute couture and pret-a-couture collections from Europe, Asia, South America, and America on the sky-high sundeck of Costa Neo Romantica cruise ship. Where I was the only designer selected to represent the whole of Asia.
Against the cinematic backdrop, my collection appeared as a vision. Gold embellishments reflecting sunlight in every move and royal velvets dramatized the elegance. My collection called Beaded Illusion comprised of structured jackets, flared pants, and fridge beaded dresses. The expressive collection mixed gold embellishments with Swarovski crystals and ruby jewels against a deep colour palette of sunset red, forest green, and royal blue.
My collection was the most appreciated collection of the show. It was a dream come true, I shared the runway with designers from all over the world in terms of quality, creativity and professionalism. The impact the Pakistani people had during the show was amazing and I felt privileged to be a part of this grand show where I made my country proud.
What inspires you when you design your collections?
I have showcased my collections at the most iconic venues in the world and for every collection I have taken inspiration from the place where I was showcasing it. My love for travelling and exploring different cultures has always inspired me while designing. My achievements have a major role in keeping me inspired to work hard and push my limits to accomplish my goals. I even draw inspiration from my personal identity and experiences.
Tell us about your upcoming projects. Which events are you looking forward to?
Last year I received the Women Empowerment Award for the Most Inspiring Woman of 2017 at the Women Empowerment Gala in New York and itâ€™s a privilege to have been nominated this year too. I am really looking forward to being a part of this phenomenal event, which is organized to recognize the work of outstanding individuals of different professions from all over the world.
What difference do you see between the international markets and the Pakistani market? Do you keep your market in mind when designing your collections?
Yes, definitely I do. As a fashion designer, I strongly believe that we live in a global village where international borders mean little. However, when it comes to international expansion, the importance of cultural differences cannot be underestimated.
I have found out the hard way that what works at home can go down very differently in a foreign market. Keeping a clear idea of your brandâ€™s core values and identity is key to expanding overseas.
Ultimately, you have to believe that your business has something unique and valuable to offer. After that, itâ€™s simply a matter of working out how to best bring these offerings to a new cultural context. International business expansion is no easy feat, as the challenges encountered by these world-leading businesses demonstrate. But, with thorough research, a clear strategy and the right support, thereâ€™s no reason you canâ€™t make your business a success in foreign markets. Different cultures, customs and habits can make or break a brandsâ€™ international launch. While itâ€™s important to adapt your brand to meet the needs of a foreign market, be wary of adapting more than is necessary. Finding the right balance between adapting to local markets and still maintaining a clear brand identity is something that every brand should work for.
What are the trends you love most for the upcoming season?
Fringing is definitely one of my favourite trends of 2018. Fringe beading was the most important highlight of my latest collection, which was recently showcased in Hong Kong. What I love about this trend is that, there is a bohemian taste and a touch of 70â€™s vibe. The fringe detail is surfacing on dresses, crop tops, trousers, skirts, bags, and even shoes. This gives one a choice of what works best for you. It was one of the topping trends in 2017 during Spring/Fall and definitely this year it will continue to be a winning look.
What is your design aesthetic?
Timeless feminine aesthetics is what the brand of Syeda Amera is all about. I not only want my designs to be worn but also to be felt, which can only happen when a woman is comfortable and at the same time feels her inner beauty that comes effortlessly. Be it dress lines with corsets or others draped in sensuality, I not only design for the local woman but also aim to focus on the global image of a woman who is beautiful and glamorous.
What are must-haves every woman must have in her closet?
Well the list is too long but I will name a few that I feel are most important.
A watch should be your signature accessory. I feel a watch gives off a very sophisticated message. It should be simple yet super glamorous.
An investment bag, you should have at least one statement bag in your closet.
A favourite pair of jeans in which, despite of running errands all day, you are still ready to catch up with your friends after work.
Your favourite designer?
Olivier Rousteing for Balmain
Your fashion muse?
Your favourite shopping destination?
Biggest fashion faux pas?
Fashion obviously has no rules or guidelines to follow. Or at least, it shouldnâ€™t. While there are some trends that should remain in the past. The biggest fashion faux in my opinion is wearing sandals with socks. While I feel it is ratty and inconvenient, it definitely hasnâ€™t stopped designers from showing them on their runways. Moreover, my mentality about it has always been, why would I wear sandals with socks when I can just wear closed shoes? However, thatâ€™s not the mentality of a trendsetter I guess.
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