February 01-15- 2020






























Award-winning couturier, Sania Maskatiya, has multiple accolades to her name. From making a mark in the Pakistani fashion industry with her sought-after, feminine and contemporary aesthetic, to gaining international acclaim, she’s one of the finest fashion designers we have. In this exclusive interview with Haider Rifaat, she discusses her journey

How would you define your relationship with fashion?

I launched my brand with my brother Umair Tabani, who made Sania Maskatiya a reality. We were lucky to translate our passion into full-time careers with the support of our parents.

My sister, Sarah Tabani, is a stylist and she assists us in all of our showcases and shoots. The success of our label is a direct result of our love and dedication towards it. Our business is an integral part of our lives now.

What keeps you motivated to continue growing your brand?

Turning my ideas into reality and bringing them out for the world to see has kept me afloat. My clients’ feedback motivates me every day to work harder.

“We received an overwhelming response from the international community and seeing the potential for growth, we may consider operating abroad”

How has western style inspired Pakistani fashion?

Western style has had a positive impact on our local industry. Our fashion has gone a step ahead with the perfect fusion of western and eastern wear. It’s brought something unique to the table.

How was Sania Studio conceived?

Sania Studio is the sister brand of Sania Maskatiya. The concept emerged when we decided to execute a dedicated western line with our signature prints and embroideries.

What was your experience like showcasing Sania Studio at New York Fashion Week?

I wanted to represent Pakistan in a positive manner and promote our brand’s aesthetics. We received an overwhelming response from the international community and seeing the potential for growth, we may consider operating abroad.

The process of translating my creativity and imagination into a collection shown to a foreign crowd was challenging and surreal. It was a great experience and we’re excited to return to NYFW soon.

“I launched my brand with my brother Umair Tabani, who made Sania Maskatiya a reality”

Why didn’t you consider Pakistani models to walk the ramp for your show at NYFW?

All international and local fashion sprees have their own modelling agencies assigned to the designers for auditioning. We had no option in choosing Pakistani models to take charge of the ramp at NYFW.

What are some tips to keep in mind when styling western wear?

Minimalism is on trend these days. Don’t overdo anything, that’s the rule.

What makes an ideal winter ensemble?

It can be anything my clients feel warm and comfortable in. We launch our winter festive collection each year in jewel tones and warm fabrics. Shawls and jackets are also hip this season.

What’s new for Sania Maskatiya?

For now there is a lot happening. We’re in constant search for new luxury prêt, semi-formal and formal designs. We’re gearing up for the upcoming fashion season, especially our showcase at NYFW 2020.

Does your brand offer reasonable price points?

We have something for everyone in store from high-end couture to affordable fashion.

“We’re gearing up for the upcoming fashion season, especially our showcase at NYFW 2020”

What do you feel sets your brand apart?

Our brand caters to luxury prêt and bridal couture. My work consists of quality fabrics, tailoring and unique design that reflect in all my pieces.

Apart from fashion design, what else are you passionate about?

My love for art has brought me here today, so anything related to it catches my interest. Travelling provides me the right kind of exposure, as I’m able to draw inspiration from new places.

Meet Natasha Noorani and Zahra Paracha, forces behind the Lahore Music Meet (LLM), an annual, two-day extravaganza, featuring live performances, masterclasses and interactive talks with some of the country’s finest musicians. Continuing with LMM’s tradition of nurturing the local music landscape, this talented duo is gearing up for the fifth edition, scheduled to take place at Alhamra Art Center in Lahore. Mehek Raza Rizvi finds out more

What do you hope to achieve with LMM?

LMM exists as a space for the ever-evolving music industry to get together, celebrate their talent, share their stories and connect with Lahore’s growing audience. The idea is to create cohesion in our music ecosystem.

Apart from the live music, the audience at LMM gets an opportunity to witness interactive sessions with musicians. How important is establishing a culture of musical awareness to the essence of the event?

Interactive sessions are crucial to the LLM experience. Most of us have grown up without an opportunity to understand the musical process and while this may be changing, the progress is slow. There are multiple styles and techniques well-suited to potential artists; if they get to see and hear something that sparks an idea or interest, it would be a huge win for us.

Many believe the genres celebrated at LMM are western and therefore not relevant to our culture. How do you respond to that criticism?

Sure, genres can be defined by geography, but if musicians stayed within those limitations, the world would miss out on a lot of great music. People who enjoy different genres at LMM have already made them a part of their daily playlists. Most of these, now termed, ‘world genres’ are easily applicable everywhere they’re heard. It’s what makes them popular, desirable and easy to spread. Having said that, LMM also strives to create a growing interaction with indigenous South Asian genres of which there are innumerable subsets and breakdowns. Like we say, there is room for everyone.

Being musicians yourselves, do you feel LMM provides valuable exposure for rising talent?

We’d like to believe having a platform to perform and sharing the stage with artists you admire should give any up-and-coming musician a great sense of accomplishment.  Our hope is that this opportunity translates into confidence and motivation for them to carry on the hard work.

Recently, Pakistan has seen a lot of ukulele/acoustic guitar wielding underground indie rock bands. Rap and EDM have begun to find their footing. What western genre would you like to see Pakistanis take on next?

It’s all growing so naturally and organically, honestly, we wish for more of everything.

The more the better, the farther it reaches and the more people it moves, the better. We’d also like to witness the preservation of our indigenous styles and instrumentation; that’s something we’d love to contribute to.

There seems to be a certain mindset present in the country that looks down upon music and art. How can LMM counter that narrative?

The only effective way to counter such narratives is to create space for another. We’re not here to tell someone that their mentality is flawed, we just want to create an alternative for anyone who’s looking for one. Giving people the freedom of choice is the strongest statement to make.

Now that LMM has established itself as an important cultural phenomenon, what’re people’s expectations of the event? Do you feel the pressure of meeting expectations year after year?

We hope and try to keep growing every year, but with that come growing expenses and sadly, not so much growth in sponsorships. Keeping LMM free for all is an essential feature of what makes the festival the phenomenon you say it is. We really hope we can continue to keep it that way. The curation and musical line up is another aspect we’re very particular about; everything we put out needs to be well researched so our audience can enjoy themselves.

The maestros at Guddu Shani pull off yet another captivating editorial for our readers. Browse through to see art come to life.

Photography and concept: M Ali Abbas ( @maliabbasofficial) at Guddu Shani

Shot For: Guddu Shani (@guddushani)

Talent: Bakhtawar Anjum (@bakhtawar_bk)

Wardrobe: Mahpara Khan (@mahparakhan)

Makeup: M Mansoor Khan at Guddu Shani (@ma.nsoorkhan)

Styling: Usaf Ahmed at GudduShani (@usafahmed)

Post producer: Ali Butt at GudduShani (@crtvthink)


Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and it’s time to talk all things love. Shops are soon going to be filled with over-the-top products that are meant to profess your love for that special person in your life. From those who have just found it, to those who have settled into the companionship that a long-lasting romance brings, everyone is expected to demonstrate how much their partner means to them on the 14th of February. I initially wanted to talk about the history of Valentine’s Day and the commercialisation of this day. But then again, that’s old news isn’t it? Capitalism has taken over every aspect of our lives and whether there is any point fighting it is a discussion for another day.

This time when I was brainstorming for what to write about for the Valentine’s Day issue, I decided to just look around me. My own cynical self would just have yielded a long-winded article on how love is pointless and futile (and I hope many of you would have agreed with it); however, I thought that was going to be too morbid. Last year I wrote about how love and relationships have become quite complicated due to the digital world we live in. I talked about how we’re constantly chasing the next best thing, which hinders us from staying put in one place for too long, ultimately leading us to be dissatisfied with whatever relationship we find ourselves in. It was a reflection of what I noticed around me and perhaps that’s why it resonated with so many of our readers.

Looking around me this time, I began to observe how a lot of people weren’t only hung up on their exes, but in many cases were in active communication with them as well. Ranging from the toxic to the amicable, there were various degrees of ‘staying in touch with your ex’ going around me. So I did what any millennial does best and put it up as a poll on social media.

On my Instagram, I inquired after people’s opinions on staying in touch with their former partners. From the ninety two responses that I received on the poll, sixty five people chose for ‘no’ and the remaining twenty seven went for ‘yes.’ That’s a 71% response rate for not being in touch with your ex at all. Understanding the delicacy of this question and the varied nuances that it accompanies, I encouraged people to send in their views through DMs as well. Naturally, identities of all people involved will have to be kept secret.

I was mostly interested in those who were keeping in touch with their exes or felt that it was harmless to do so. In this regard, I would like to state that I was mostly looking at pre-marital and pre-children relationships. Divorced couples often have to stay in touch when there are children involved and therefore, they weren’t really the subject of this article.

Those who don’t stay in touch cited reasons such as “they’re you’re ex for a reason” and “the past is the past.” A number of people voted no in the poll, but reached out to me via DM to state that if the break up was amicable, they don’t see any harm in being in touch. Others, said they don’t stay in touch, but occasionally keep tabs on their exes. To these people I recommend counselling, as this is very unhealthy behaviour. Obsessing over an ex isn’t healthy at all and certainly doesn’t qualify as staying in touch with them.

Interestingly enough, those that voted ‘yes’ to staying in touch with their exes referenced to this decision as a ‘mature, adult’ one. Unless there was any toxicity and violence involved, this small minority believes that their exes were essentially a major part of their lives and were good friends once. Ending the romantic and intimate part of their relationship was hurtful, but they chose to move on in a healthier way and not let it affect the understanding they had built up with each other.

Sitting down to write this article, I’m as confused as when I began my research for it. Clearly, this is a complex, quite nuanced debate and a simple poll on social media doesn’t yield much. Human emotions and relationships are ever-evolving and intense. How they form and how they progress are unique to every relationship, thus it makes sense that the aftermath of a broken relationship would be equally confusing and not lending itself to generalisation.

However, there are a few stray observations that I believe are pertinent to this topic. Staying in touch with an ex isn’t wrong, as long as you can confidently say it doesn’t impinge upon your ability to move on and form new relationships. The moment it becomes an obstacle, is the moment you need to learn to distance yourself. Staying in touch with an ex, while in another relationship comes with its own problems — taking your current partner in confidence is the only key to success here. Running back to a toxic ex is not equal to staying in touch with them. Learn to empower yourself and get rid of such negativity from your life.

Your ex is essentially just another relationship, but a dormant one. How you choose to deal with it depends on a number of factors that you should be willing to look at before making this decision. I will leave you with this one thought that in my opinion should be irrefutable: calling your ex because you’re lonely on Valentine’s Day is not something you should do.

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