Cover shoot


How do you think the role of a fashion designer has changed since you started your career?

Replication is one of the biggest challenge for any fashion designer I mean It’s hard to sell original high-value garment when everyone wants cheap knock-offs.

What according to you is a favorite part of being a fashion designer?

The constant reinvention and willingness to try new ideas.

What are your favorite fashion trends?

Shackets and coord sets.

Tell us a bit about your new collection

Our new collection Inspired by the age-old architectural charm that the ancient world has to offer, Ruya Wedding Couture ’23 is an ode to the rendition of heritage and tradition. The arches of the architecture are related to the soulfully crafted scalloped finishing while the classic handwork and embellishments are perfectly representing the craftsmanship that has been practiced behind the artful and historic structure.

Who are your style icons and why?

Personally for me I don’t really have any style icons because I love anyone who is fierce and fashionable.

Risham Saqib
ties the knot exuding ethereal elegance & timeless charm!

We love how the bride kept everything so fresh, glowy and magical. From the dreamy floral decor to meticulously crafted attires everything looked no less than a fairytale.

Bride: Risham Saqib
Nikkah, Mehndi & Barat outfit: Rishmal
Walima outfit: Faraz Manan
Jewellery: Neemar Jewellery
Photography: Mobeen Studio

The contemporary yet traditional aesthetics of the collection exude leisure and elegance with the most sought out handcrafted work of the artisans

Brand: @zubiazainab
Styling: @zahrasarfraz
Models: @mahatahiraniii @atikahgardezi
Photography: @najam.mahmood_official
Videography: @shehroz_mehmood
Jewellery: @waseem_jewelers
Makeup: @ayanamir.thestylist

Elaf presents their latest Bridal collection for the upcoming wedding season. The collection is based in a diverse colour palette making it perfect for day festivities or evening events. It pays homage to the traditional festivities and grandeur of Pakistani weddings.

Models: Zarminay, Alizeh and Atikah
Make-up: Qasim Liaqat & Mansoor Khan
Photography: Shayan Sherwani
PR & Coordination: Shamail Butt
Art Direction: Hashim Ali
Creative Director: Daniyal Hasan

Fall-Winter 2022/2023

This Collection takes much of its inspiration from nature, the colours and silhouettes taken up by the raw environment and how the complexity translates into something that looks yet so simple to the viewer. Much like most of our work which is based on a simple yet elegant design with a complex handmade construction and meticulous detailing.

Photographer: Asad bin Javed
Stylist: Yasser Dar
Makeup: Maryam Luni
Art Direction: Mehrunissa Kabir
Models: Rubbab Ali, Syeda Aleezey Jibran & Mamia Gul

Tell us a little about your new webseries.

My new webseries, called ‘Khoj’, is by Pikchur Tv – A new streaming platform that is has an application where you make an account and watch the series, absolutely free! The director is Areeba Naveed, who I was very lucky to have gotten the chance to work with. In this crime-thriller, I play the role of a police sub-inspector, alongside the esteemed Samiya Mumtaz.

How did you decide to pursue acting/modelling as a career? Did you always want to become an actor?

I joke about how I knew I wanted to be an actress before I was born. It’s true! It’s something I’ve always known and never questioned. Modeling is something that kind of just happens to you if you’re in this industry.

What are your hobbies outside of modelling and acting?

I love hitting the gym and doing pilates and yoga. I enjoy spending time cooking for myself and my loved ones.

What is your beauty routine?

My ‘beauty routine’ isn’t limited to skincare. It involves something for the mind, body and soul – This may sound cheesy but I feel like if you take care of these three things, you feel pretty beautiful. I focus on a clean diet, as much as possible. I work out regularly, and take time out for myself in order to stay connected to myself and recharge my batteries. Haha. Spending time with people who encourage me to grow and learn is also pivotal. For me, this is my beauty routine!

Do you work out?

Yes. My day feels incomplete without some sort of movement.

Acting in Pakistan is still considered very taboo. Did you face problems when you decided to pursue this career?

None, whatsoever. I am incredibly blessed and lucky to have come from a family full of artists, who understand what it means to have a creative drive, along with the inherent need to bring this creativity to fruition.

How do you handle the fame that comes with being an actor? Does the hate or the pressure ever get to you?

Haha. I don’t think I’m there yet! I wouldn’t call it fame. But being in the public eye comes with its own tribulations. I have become more thick-skinned, and I feel it’s extremely important to have a close-knit circle of loved ones. This makes it easier to deal with any negativity your audience may direct towards you. It also allows you to get constructive feedback from people who really know you, so that you can also grow and learn if you are in the wrong. I’m lucky and blessed to have a great circle of loved ones who I can rely on.

What’s your favourite part about your work?

Being allowed to immerse myself into the reality of another human being.

Who is your favourite designer?

I love Rano’s Heirlooms. Always have. Growing up, I’d see Rano Khala’s designs and they always seemed so magical. Forever my favorite.

Name three things on your bucket list.

Acting in a leading role in a Hollywood Production, with a great script and crew. Times three.

Who is your inspiration?

My parents and my brother. Honest, driven and hardworking. So, so talented.

Describe your perfect day off when you’re not working.

Working out, spending time with loved ones, cooking and making coffee.

What advice would you give to young actresses?

Believe in yourself, even if others may not. Work on your craft. Polish it. Take constructive criticism. Don’t get lost in the superficial nature of this industry. Respect your coworkers, and your crew. Do not compromise on your values for momentary gains. What is meant for you will come, even if it takes time. Stay grounded, and don’t forget to take breaks and recharge.

We talk to Lahore based therapist Izzah Zainab about mental health practices in Pakistan, tools to overcome anxiety and what you should look for in a therapist.

Can you tell us a little about your work and your education?

I am practicing as a mental health counselor in Lahore, Pakistan, and I work primarily with adults (ages 18-65). After my undergraduate from Lahore University of Management Sciences, I went to New York University as a Fulbright Scholar for my Master’s in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness. I received my professional training in New York City as well, at a mid-sized private practice in Soho.

What led you to begin a career in therapy?

My interest in psychology dates back to my childhood when I would religiously follow the “Psychologist answers” section in every magazine I could find. I always had a penchant for understanding the human experience, but for some time, that inclination was overpowered by the drive for more “socially desirable” careers and the race to climb the corporate ladder.

I quickly found my way back when I realized that the most rewarding moments of my day were the ones in which I experienced raw vulnerability with another human being – whether it was sitting with someone in their pain or hearing them talk about their dreams with a spark in their eyes. I thrived in those hours of connection and that realization made me commit to this field as a lifelong career. I couldn’t be happier with that choice.

What, in your opinion, are some challenges of being a therapist in a country like Pakistan?

One big challenge is the lack of resources and formal networks such as support groups, rehabilitation centers, helplines etc. An individual’s mental health is not a one-person job; it needs several systems to thrive. Those who finally seek counseling are often restricted by their financial, social, and systemic constraints in the face of their challenges.

There is also a huge gap in the increasing demand for therapists and the limited supply, and many therapists have months-long waiting lists. It hurts to send people away who reach out to you for support just because you don’t have the space to accommodate them.

What are the different sorts of therapies and which one do you practice?

I use a trauma-informed, emotion-focused, and integrative approach to suit each clients’ unique needs and goals. I borrow from several modalities, including Psychodynamic theory, which looks at your unmet needs and the role of caretakers in your early childhood; CBT (Cognitive behavioral therapy), which focuses on dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs; Gestalt and relational therapy, centered on the experience of ‘here-and-now’; and Internal Family Systems (IFS), which explores how different “parts” of us interact with one another.

Has there been an increase in virtual therapy since 2020?

Definitely. 2020 changed the course of therapy services across the globe. Clients and therapists alike are exploring the newly discovered power, accessibility, and convenience of virtual therapy. In fact, many therapists now practice entirely online. However, telehealth comes with its own limitations. A lot of body language cues are lost in transmission errors and masked behind the 17-inch screen.

What should people look for in a therapist? What some important qualities a therapist should have?

Besides the appropriate training, experience, credentials, and adherence to established ethical guidelines, the right therapist meets you where you are, while providing enough challenge to encourage growth. Here are some questions to ask yourself: Do I feel understood by my therapist? Do I feel seen? Do I feel respected? Do I feel challenged?

The same therapist may be a great fit for someone else but not for you. Hence, the process of finding your ‘fit’ requires some trial and error.

What are some of the most common mental health issues you see amongst people in Pakistan?

I’ve found anxiety, depression, and emotional dysregulation to be fairly common across clients. Most of my work is with young adults struggling with difficult family dynamics, life transitions, and self-esteem issues. Particularly in Pakistan, I see clients repeatedly bring up the theme of societal pressure and judgement toward their choices.

What affect has covid had on your patients? Has there been an increase in the number of patients?

Certainly. For many of us, this pandemic marks a time of unprecedented uncertainty and collective isolation. The lack of human touch and social stimulation led many into a downward spiral with their mental health. In contrast, some of my clients with social anxiety found comfort in wearing masks and the reduced pressure to socialize.

Covid-19 also left a traumatic impact on our collective grieving process. Those who unexpectedly lost loved ones were often unable to travel, hug, and comfort their family members. I believe that even after the pandemic ends, the mental health repercussions will probably linger for generations.

What are some tools that you recommend to people who are struggling with anxiety or depression?

Many CBT-based tools for anxiety are easily accessible online. You can keep a journal or use a mood-log application on your phone to mindfully monitor your thoughts, feelings, and symptoms. There are also plenty of videos and helpful guides for learning breathing skills, grounding techniques, and mindfulness-based exercises (try the apps “Calm” and “Headspace”).

With depression, it can be hard to find the motivation to even look for any of these fancy tools. So it’s important to start slow and aim for motivational “baby steps”, even if they seem as simple as taking a shower or getting out of bed today. Remember: one baby step at a time.

What is your advice for people who want to embark on the field of therapy/counselling?

Start within. To empathize with someone else, you need to be connected to your own vulnerability first. Seek therapy yourselves and know your own biases, blind spots, and limitations.

What’s your advice to someone who wishes to start therapy but is reluctant because of the stigma attached to it?

It’s okay to hold some shame around seeking therapy because the stigma is deep-rooted indeed. However, when a part of our body is hurting for too long, we seek a professional, a doctor, without any shame. Then why treat our mental health any differently from our physical health?

Contrary to what the stigma tells you, you are not broken for seeking help. In fact, it requires immense courage and vulnerability. And alongside the reluctance, there’s a part within you that wants to feel better. Connect with that part and embrace the compassion that it holds for you; you deserve every bit of it.

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