The philosophy of Hilal Silk has always been simple: To provide the finest quality Silk in Pakistan. For over seven decades, the heritage brand has produced finest quality hand woven silk, which due to its exquisite craftsmanship remains a favourite of bridal designers to this day. The fourth generation in the business, Talha Batla’s contribution to the brand has been to merge contemporary style with traditional silk-making technique. Talha tells Sana Zehra how the brand has evolved over the years
Who is Talha Batla?
I am actually the fourth generation in this business. It was started by my great grandfather in 1949 and then my family continued the legacy. Initially, my plan was not to join the family business but to be a corporate lawyer. I finished my ACCA and then my LLB, ready to enter the corporate world but God had other plans for me. In the summer of 2011, my grandfather asked me to computerize his accounting system. I had just given my final ACCA papers and was waiting for the result. I had already applied for LLB and thought it was a good way to apply my financial knowledge to my familyâ€™s business, while completing my second degree on the side. It took me six months to get customized software made and implement it. While developing the software I started to learn the other core operations of the business, like production and designing. I decided to continue with Hilal till I was done with my LLB. My law degree finished in 2014 but by then I had already decided that I love doing what I was already doing and after that, there was no looking back. I joined Hilal Silk and here I am, after seven years in the business already, being a major part of this amazing family heritage.
How has your brand evolved over the years?
In 70 years, weâ€™ve grown from having one outlet to multiple ones across the country and from making only silk to offering a wide range of pure fabrics, along with the recent addition of couture.
Describe your line Talha Batla by Hilal Silk?
At Hilal Silk, we cater to everyone with different preferences and style sense from the masses to the classes. Talha Batla by Hilal Silk is my effort in bringing contemporary designs in bridal and handwork range, while keeping the traditional Hilal Silk style alive.
Do you sell any other fabric than silk?
We initially started with silk, now we offer chiffon, tissue, net, maisuri and embroidered fabrics.
What is the key difference between your silk and other silk available in the market?
We take great pride in our products as all silks are pure and produced on hand looms giving it the strength and durability that last for years. Itâ€™s superior in quality to anything else available in the market. And Iâ€™m sure everyone would agree
Does the brand believe in fair trade? How does your CSR (corporate social responsibility) differ from others in how you treat your employees?
The oldest employee we have at Hilal Silk has been working with us for the past 55 years, so you can imagine how well we treat our employees. Once they work with us they never leave us. We believe in fair trade and are working very closely to streamline it better.
What is your source of inspiration?
Inspiration for me can come from anything. Nature, i.e. birds, flowers, and their colours inspire me. The most recent inspiration I had, came from a carpet in a mosque, the colours were so beautifully blended that it gave me the idea for a new design.
If youâ€™d choose to dress any celebrity who would it be and why?
Being in this industry, you get a chance every now and then to dress up celebrities. We usually work with easter wear. If I had to choose one celebrity to dress it would be Sushmita Sen because of the grace and elegance with which she carries her clothes.
Favourite all time designer?
There are many, to name a few Alexander McQueenâ€™s work really inspires me. For eastern wear, Dr. Haroon and Sabyasachi have to be my favourites.
What are the key trends for bridal and wedding wear for the upcoming season?
Bridal is all about colours and cuts. Sadly, embellishement takes the back seat. But to me, people have finally started understanding what intricate work is and how it can enhance the look of the whole outfit. So if you ask me, people who are just using big stones and thick (mota) dabka are so last season because people want intricacy and thatâ€™s what bridal wear this season should be.
What trends would you like to see die?
One trend which I really want to see die is Angarkha cut in bridal dresses. I just hate seeing Angarkhas for bridals, it just kills it for me.
What do you hope to see more of from designers in bridal and wedding wear this season?
I want designers to experiment more with colours. Sticking with red for the wedding day needs to go. Itâ€™s so overdone
What is coming up this season? ?
Our next line is coming by the end of September. Itâ€™s a modern take on some of the most traditional dresses, like saris. We also have fresh looking Nikkah outfits.
Will we see Hilal Silk in fashion shows and changing its marketing style from old school to contemporary?
Frankly, Hilal Silk doesnâ€™t need marketing. It has been the going strong with word of mouth for decades now and I donâ€™t think itâ€™s going to be any different in the future. Although you might see Talha Batla by Hilal Silk changing the game and creating a niche.