We all know that Kinza and Madiha Latif have given women a unique and strong voice in a crowded market through their brand, Zuria Dor, how would you describe your design philosophy?
Entrepreneurs who work on producing high quality products understand the importance of both patience and perfection and this drives the core philosophy. Patience to develop a product that is always unique and can set itself apart from a loud and noisy marketplace. Perfection to ensure that the product is to the highest standards of excellence, given the resources at that time in a company’s existence (and this is an important marker).
Patience because it takes multitude of micro decisions to build any garment, from the colours chosen, the fabrics, the drape and flow, the cut and style, and so many other details that subliminally or very overtly impact the garment.
The fashion industry is all about change and innovation, tell us about the challenges you both have to face in the industry to set new trends with a taste of individualism?
More than anything, the industry is about building operational capacities and setting standards for client experiences with robust backend processes. Our biggest challenges revolve around working on improving processes so that it supports our vision for international growth, and this involves many aspects of the business including product development, supply chain management, inventory, ensuring we are quick with responses to our customers, mapping out production possibilities, creating jobs, ensuring employees are coming up to standards expected for exports, ensuring high levels of brand communication etc. New trends aren’t simply product driven, they are also related to operational and marketing approaches. There is an entire journey of a product from research and development to launching and then processing orders. As both of us are trained in engineering, our approach is always divergent from the market at large. We are building for luxury, we are laser focus on product, customer experience and our operations.
“The Era of Fearless Women” was a beautiful yet a dreamy night, tell us about the whole concept behind the show and how was it working with all the strong and independent women?
The collection was created with the question in mind, who is a Zuria Dor woman? For us, she is a strong, independent, confident woman whose presence can own any space. That she is universal in her size and ethnicity. She is somebody whose sense of self and vision allows her to transform and transcend into a more confident version of herself. Far above social biases and judgements, she is unapologetically her own person.
Keeping this woman in mind, the collection was focused around bold and structured silhouettes balanced with exaggerated voluminous detailing. The hand embellished abstract florals and geometries along with incorporation of space-age metallic embellishments depicts the fearlessness of the women whom we envision.
The 11 women, from the host of the segment Khadija Malik to the 10 women who walked, the night was about their stories and who they are. They are, everything a Zuria Dor woman is.
Mehek Saeed Stylist
Mehek started working more than a decade ago, it was at a desk job that involved copywriting. And scary as it was to go freelance stylist — at a time when the profession did not even exist here — and with no guarantee of a steady income, she dipped her feet into that unknown ocean and never stopped swimming.
Fast forward a decade and there are no real fashion shoots without a stylist calling the shots. And yet, Mehek says she feels like an imposter at the idea of fearlessness underscoring the decisions that have lead her to where she is today, especially when what she feels most of the time is fear. The fear of not being able to juggle all the roles she plays — that all women play — the idea of doing and having it all feels a farce. But look at her.
Mehek wears the Layla Dress
Our next woman is very special. As a child, Hajra Khan dreamed of becoming a professional athlete in patriarchal Pakistan. At age 14 she decided that football is life. And she kicked her way through to becoming the captain of the Pakistan Women’s Football Team.
Hajra broke the silence on talking about mental health for athletes, paving the way for her teammates, as well as other sportsmen and women to talk about their vulnerabilities without shame.
Always taking the bull by the horns, Hajra holds Three Guinness World records, performed under the banner of Equal Playing Field, each one set with the intention to get more girls to play football worldwide. Hajra loves Pakistan. And she wears our flag with pride when she travels to represent us at international clubs and games. Fearless in her pursuit of what sets her soul on fire, she is a hero who has blazed an important trail for every little girl who dreams of doing things no one has done here before…
Hajra wears the Arya Skirt Set
Azmeh is an independent legal consultant best known for her advocacy around the Nikah Nama. Her work has shone a light on the fundamental problem of consent regarding the marriage contract. She has worked to lead reforms that include a re-training of the registrars and nikah- khwans responsible for lodging the paperwork correctly – yes, our struggles are that basic. As a lawyer, Azmeh is also driven towards raising awareness for women with regards to their property and inheritance rights. Things which should be fundamental, but which our women today still sadly need to fight for.
Azmeh wears the Dakota Dress
Up next is Hirra Babar. Hirra favours the path less travelled. She looks for ways to do things differently. In her statement making prerogative, she established her luxury handbag label called Warp. She insists on each part of her product to be homegrown. The materials she uses have to be made and sourced in Pakistan. She strives with her small team to craft these into bold and edgy pieces that will find a place in the world of luxury objects.
Hirra wears the Olivia Dress
Abeer Irfan Malik
For Abeer motherhood represents a majority of the women in the world. Abeer has managed brands for Haagen Dazs and Mocca Cafe under Cap Ventures Pvt. Ltd., but she has never done so as a career choice. Abeer is a mother first and last, and anything she does, she does because it fits her schedule of motherhood. As a woman who believes in female empowerment and equality, she chooses to be a mother. It is the banner she champions. Under this banner, her children are her trophies.
Abeer wears the Velaris Power Suit
Up next is the very savvy Sara Tanwir. Sara is Pakistan’s first foreign qualified female embryologist, trained from the prestigious Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. In addition to her infertility practice, Sara set up her fertility centre, known as TAMC. In a country where medical facilities are scant, she has created a UK affiliated centre with an international team of doctors, who run a state of the art practice helping couples with infertility issues. Sara has helped produce more than 3000 babies. And for every 10 cases she handles, she offers one pro-bono baby. Infertility solutions are expensive and people in our country live below the poverty line – and so this social service she provides is an example of fearlessness. Especially when our government will not provide it because it clashes with its family planning agenda. Sara is also a recipient of the Charles Wallace Award for her work in social service.
Sara wears the Sienna Pant Suit
Our next star is actor Vardah Aziz. Vardah made a lot of mama’s very happy when she taught Muneeba Khan how to use the Find My Phone feature to track cousin Kamala on Ms. Marvel. Vardah has been acting since she was 17. She’s played the vampy modern girl who corrupts good mama’s boys on TV; she’s playing a footballer breaking stereotypes about sportsmanship and women for a telefilm; and she plans to keep going with roles that will save her from being typecast in a field where pickings are already slim. If that means she will have to write some of these roles in the future, it’s a vacuum she is ready to fill. Gender is a war cry for Vardah as an actor and she stands ready to own the feminist label, and create strong female characters for Pakistani audiences.
Vardah wears the Isidore Dress
Summaiya almost became a doctor — but last minute she switched to art, her true calling. So you will know her as the artist who shot to fame with her creation of the desi Marilyn Monroe. The curiosity that initially lead her to medicine translated into activism through the art she practices today. Summaiya calls herself a proud feminist. She wears the label like a badge of honour. She was involved with T2F and worked closely with Sabeen Mahmud. Today she continues to be an avid participant of the Aurat March. Summaiya creates unapologetic art and hopes that women will stand up and claim their space in todays world.
Summaiya wears the Alita Suit
Up next is Maria Unera. Maria is a powerful vocalist who packs a punch, and you will see that for yourself shortly. She describes herself as a musician with a storied connection to her craft. Maria draws on her life experiences to create her music, and has released a number of original singles to date including Strong and Time, setting herself apart from her contemporaries in her creative expression.
As the January ambassador for Equal- Spotify’s global campaign to highlight female musicians the world over, in their respective countries, Maria featured on a digital billboard in Times Square, representing Pakistan, with her song called Feel.
Maria wears the Milan Set
Our final look is donned by Rabia Butt. Rabia entered Pakistan’s world of fashion when the industry wasn’t quite ready to leave the fair n lovely aesthetic behind. But she walked her way to becoming a top model, and earned the supermodel crown that she wears today. And here’s the rub: Rabia always wanted to be a model. But when she became one she realised that this wasn’t what she wanted. She wishes that everyone should get what they want, so that they realise that life isn’t about that. After more than a decade in the industry she wants to do something to give back – to do something that helps people. As someone whose life has been defined by the loss of her mother, she wants to work on providing a support base to other motherless children.
Rabia wears the showstopper of the night, The Orion Corset Dress
Zuria Dor continues to lead with aesthetic sense while retaining its brand values of achieving excellence in whatever it does, we can’t wait to see what ZD has in store for us next.
Zuria Dor’s fearless women: @khadijaamalik @meheksaeed @hajrakhan.14 @azmeh08 @hirrab @abeerirfanmalik @saratahmed @vardah_aziz @summaiyajillani @mariaunera @iamrabiabutt
Live models: @thesamanmalik @zahra_nq @mehruuuu @rameesha_yazdani
PR Management: @centaur.one | Hair & makeup: @nabila_salon | Jewelry: @swarovski