GT – October 01-15 2018


Mahlia S. Lon

Youth culture dominates the world. Not only are young people good to look at but edgier as well. Those of us who are older hopefully have wisdom to offer in return. Keeping this in mind, we have hunky Aimal Khan gracing our pages in a scintillating shoot for Deepak and Fahad’s edgy label. Yasmeen Hashmi, the model of the moment and the GT It Girl this fortnight, showcases her personal style and answers a fun rapid fire round. Having studied in Switzerland and a true Karachi girl at heart, she regales us with anecdotes injected with her enthusiasm. Additionally, the superstar of our beauty industry, Nabila refreshingly advises Pakistani women to look like themselves and not like ash-blonde clones. Embrace and love yourself and the world will follow suit. Be happy!

Who? Amal Khan

Why? Amal looks cool and stylish in black trousers and fun snakeskin heels

Who? Sahar Noon

Why? Loving Sahar’s delicate floral shirt and loose curls!

Who? Daneese

Why? The perfect Dior bag and feather slides make this ensemble a winner!

Who? Rabia

Why? All black with studded heels makes this look classic and chic!

Who? Maham

Why? By opting for culottes, she shows off her slim ankles while adding a dash of colour with the coral bag

Who? Sara

Why? The latest quirky Gucci bag and a classy scarf are always the right accessories!

By Afshan Shafi

Yasmeen Hashmi is one beautiful young lady who possesses all the qualities we admire, with an incredible sense of style to boot! Kitschy, funny and down to earth (and with an awesome jawline) she is one of our most recognizable young models. Having starred in campaigns for Sapphire, SFK bridals and countless others, she is one to watch out for.Here, Yasmeen styles outfits by W by Whyte, and Suffuse with gorgeous accessories by Republic. Read up on her fun rapid fire with Afshan Shafi.

How I chill:

By going back to khi, getting lots of sleep and hanging out with my fam and my dogs.

Name three thing you love:


Flaming hot Cheetos


Name three things

you hate:

Hate is a very strong word that messes with my vibe. I keep things cool and kosher but generally dislike dirty makeup brushes, sexism and cruelty towards animals.

I would describe my

style as:

Sporty Chic, borderline androgynous, no ruffles, lace or frills!

I love high ponytails and sleek hair.

Dream career:


Best thing about modelling:

Opportunity to be creative

Worst thing about modelling:

Not being able to live out my full foodie potential

After winning the top prize in ARY Digital’s reality show Hero Bannay Ki Tarang in 2011, Asad Zaman quit his job in the corporate world to focus on becoming a model and actor. With one film under his belt and another in production, Asad tells Ally Adnan about his fledgling career in show business, the the importance of image management, and his penchant for the martial art Wushu

You have a master’s degree in International Relations and worked in the corporate world for a few years. Why did you decide to make a move to show business?

I was working both in show business and the corporate world during the final year of my studies. Once I had the degree in hand, I knew that I could no longer straddle the two worlds and had to pursue a single career with complete focus and devotion.  I decided to follow my heart and make a living in show business. I was offered the role of the male lead in Hijrat shortly thereafter. The feature film marked the formal beginning of my career in show business.

Have you ever regretted your decision to pursue a career in show business?

No, I have not. I enjoy the energy, creativity and freedom of the world of show business. I like the ability to make decisions about the amount and pace of work that I do. Modeling and acting make me happy. And, I have always believed in doing what makes one happy. Of course, I have days when things appear to be difficult and unpleasant but those are few and far between. I believe that I made the right choice by deciding to make modeling and acting my primary vocation.

“I enjoy the energy, creativity and freedom of the world of show business”

What are the biggest challenges faced by show business professionals in Pakistan?

The Pakistani show business industry is hampered greatly by widespread and pervasive unprofessionalism. There is a general lack of discipline, trustworthiness, honesty and dependability. People in positions of authority tend to use their power to mistreat others. The planning and execution of projects is often flawed. Payments are often delayed. The environment can be toxic at times. We will need to change all of this if we want to compete with Bollywood and Hollywood. The good thing is that change is already in the air. A lot of well-educated, highly talented people are joining the industry in large numbers and bringing discipline, professionalism, competence, propriety, and civility to show business. I am very optimistic about the future of Pakistan cinema and television. I believe that it is only a matter of time before the two industries will be ranked among the best ones in the world.

You have been a part of the world of show business for almost a decade now and have been a part of reality shows, television commercials, movies, television dramas, and fashion shows but super stardom seems to have eluded you. Why is it so?

I like to work at my own pace and only take on work that I can do comfortably. I select projects after careful consideration. I do not make moral or ethical compromises to get ahead in the business. I enjoy the work that I do and am in no rush to become a superstar. I believe that superstardom lies in my future and, when it comes, I will have earned it. The most rewarding success is one that comes because of hard work, talent and competence. That is what I want for myself.

You keep a low profile socially, attend very few industry events and are not very active in social media. What is the reason behind this reticence?

My career in show business is very important to me but it is not the entirety of my life. I attend industry events that I feel are important, interact with my fans on a regular basis and spend a reasonable amount of time on social media but do not let the trappings of show business take over my life. I believe in maintaining a balance between work and life. I am also a private person and do not believe in laying my life bare on social media. Thankfully, there is more to my life than just my show business career. I like to read, watch movies, hand out with friends, spend time with family, devote time to kids, work out, and practice Wushù.

“The most rewarding success is one that comes because of hard work, talent and competence”

As an actor, do you find yourself working harder to develop your histrionic abilities or your looks?

I would say that I work harder on my craft and am committed to developing my skills and abilities as a model and an actor. I do pay some attention to my looks but not as much as is common in the industry.

Do you have an image consultant?

Yes, I do. It is PH Solutions.

Is it necessary for actors and models to have image consultants?

I do not think it is necessary but can be beneficial. Professional actors and models need to manage their presence in social media, the press and on television. A good image consultant can provide invaluable help in the area.  I am glad that I have a capable and very resourceful image consultant. Serious show business professionals have managers and image consultants all over the world.

“The Pakistani show business industry is hampered greatly by widespread and pervasive unprofessionalism”

What is your exercise regimen?

It varies from one day to the other but always includes three items – running, weight training and Wushù.

You have a black belt in the martial art form Wushù.

Yes, I do. I love the martial arts and enjoy doing my own stunts as well. I did all of my stunts in Hijrat and did not use a stunt double.

Why is Wushù also known as Chinese Kung Fu?

The term kung fu refers to a skill that is acquired through learning and practice and the word wushù means martial art. Wushù is known as Chinese Kung Fu because it incorporates all forms of fighting such as taekwondo, karate, wrestling, striking, grappling, and throwing. It is a full-contact sport that is a hard and complete form of kung fu. The martial art form holds a very special place in my life.

Your first feature film, Hijrat, did not do well commercially and critically. How did you deal with the failure of the film?

I was disappointed and, to be honest, a little hurt, but I am a resilient and strong person. It did not take me a lot of time to pick myself up after Hijrat and resume my happy life. Success and failure are a part of life. I believe that I have the maturity to deal with both.

Why did Hijrat not do well?

Hijrat was produced in the early days of the resurgence of Pakistani cinema. It was decidedly different from traditional Pakistani films. I do not think Pakistani viewers were ready for a film like Hijrat at the time of its release. I also feel that the film was not allowed to run in cinemas long enough to become a commercial success.

Zeher-e-Ishq was announced two years ago but has yet to be released. What is the status of the film?

Two thirds of the film has been shot.

Zeher-e-Ishq was to be shot in two spells, one in Turkey and the other in Pakistan. The spell in Turkey has been completed and I am waiting on the producers to start shooting in Pakistan. I do not know when that will happen but hope that it will be soon.

You were offered the role of Abdul Rauf in Hansal Mehta’s Omertà. Why did you turn it down?

Omertà dealt with a very sensitive subject and I was concerned that it may not depict Muslims fairly. I was also afraid that my fans would not appreciate seeing me as Abdul Rauf in the film. Hence, I turned the role down.

Omertà is not the only international film that you have refused to do.

No, it is not.

I was offered a film that was going to be directed by Pedro Almodóvar and written by Colm Tóibín but the subject was very risqué and did not jibe with my personal values. It was a huge opportunity for me as an actor, but I had to turn it down. The film was just not for me.

You have a very large number of drama serials to your credit. Are you satisfied with your body of work?

I believe that I have done decent work in my eight years in show business but feel that I need to do a whole lot more before I can be proud of my body of work.

You received a lot of accolades for your work in Urdu One’s Be Aib, Hum TV’s Kuch Na Kaho, GEO Television’s Ghuttan and several other serials. What has been your best performance thus far?

I believe that I did well in Ghuttan. My character in the play, Zaryab Shah, was written very well. It had a lot of complexity and nuance. The script gave me a lot of room to explore the character and deliver well as an actor. Zaryab Shah had a dissociative identity disorder and suffered from cancer. At the time of shooting for the serial, I had recently lost a cousin to cancer. Zaryab’s suffering as a cancer patient resonated with me and I was able to make it real because I had seen someone succumb to the disease firsthand.

You have worked in both television plays and feature films. Do you have a preference between television and cinema?

I am a professional actor and like to act in both television plays and feature films. My fondness is for acting. Cinema has more glamor and allure whereas television has greater reach. I love both media but if I had to choose, and I hope I never have to, I would go with cinema.

What are your current projects?

I am playing the male lead in Farouq Mengal’s upcoming as-yet-untitled feature film. I am waiting for shooting to resume on Zeher-e-Ishq. I just wrapped up a television serial and am in talks to do two more. This is turning out to be a busy year.

Photography: Pi Art Studio

Wardrobe: Amir Adnan

Grooming: Beenish Parvez

Lxocation: Café Koel

One classy dame, Nabila a has made a name for herself in the industry and come a long way from working out of a small one bedroom apartment almost 30 years ago. Today Nabila’s salons are a favourite amongst celebrities and socialites in Pakistan. The noted trendsetter, Nabila tells Sana Zehra the dos and don’ts of salon visits

What is the difference between styling hair for television and movies versus every day wear?

Every day you can’t lie. Your hairstyle has to be quick, efficient and real. Your everyday hair routine should be a shampoo and wearing it natural. The hair cut of choice should be such that your hair is versatile so you can put it up during the day or jazz it up if you have to go out for a fancy evening. It should be easy to live in. For celebrities, we use a lot of hair pieces and hair extensions, etc. Reality and fantasy are two very different things.

What is your #1 hair care tip?

A regular trim is the most important thing, even if you need to do it yourself. Trim your ends every two months.

What’s a celebrity hair secret we might not know about, but should?

Celebrities are usually extremely high maintenance and hair loss is a huge issue for a lot of them. Use of hair extensions and the hair grafting is done a lot to conceal the sparse hair line. Celebrities are real people with work done to make them appear unreal.

Do you believe in DIY recipes for hair?

Yes, for sure! I myself picked up the scissors at the age of 14. You should always experiment but with caution.

Your love for texture is evident in many of the styles that you create. What are some of your can’t-live-without-it products?

The list changes from season to season. Last year it was hair crème, this year it was coconut jam. Right now I’m wearing a very expensive product with sugar syrup. (Pauses) I think it’s sugar syrup.

How do you use hair to evoke sexiness from a woman, regardless of age?

I think clean, effortless and carefree hair is very sexy.

Any good hair tricks for when we wake up and our hair just isn’t behaving?

Gel it back. Always works!

One of the few people you haven’t worked with is the Duchess of Cambridge. What would you do with her hair, given the chance?

She has beautiful hair in a very classic style. It’s the perfect length, perfect colour, and has perfect layers. It’s so classic, it’s almost boring. I would kind of funk it up a little bit.

You think Nabila will go green in the near future?

Most people don’t know this, but I’ve already gone green. I am very conscious about sustainability and recycling. We got the freedom seal on our products and we don’t test on animals. I don’t talk about it just because it’s in fashion but because it is the ethical and the right thing to do and I believe in it. My children won’t have it any other way. Recently, almost a year ago, I also became a vegetarian.

What’s the most boring hair style to do?

It’s the long, layered brown hair that every single woman in Pakistan has. It looks beautiful don’t get me wrong but it’s so boring I have done it with my eyes closed on national TV.

What’s the hardest hair cut to do?

I think a straight line cut is the hardest thing to do. In the past, I’ve been accused of doing it because it was the simplest thing to do. A very famous hairstylist said that even a blind man can cut a straight bob. But that is so far from the truth. A straight cut is almost impossible to achieve. Just think how hard it is for a tailor to stitch a perfect white shirt.

“Celebrities are usually extremely  high maintenance and hair loss is a huge issue for a lot of them”

If I were to tip the salon owner who gives me a cut, is that ok?

In my 32 year long career, I have never been tipped and I don’t know if I would accept it if I were. But a lot of my staff enjoy the perk.

Why does my stylist always try to sell me products at the salon?

Because they get a commission on it. At Nabila, selling is our biggest weakness because I will never sell what I will not buy myself. The other day a client of mine told me that she couldn’t come back for a root touch up for the next three months. I went back in the stock room and brought a cover up spray. Everyone exclaimed what was I doing as she will not come back then. I replied that we need to make the transition easier for our clients and not difficult. I will only sell products that I believe in and not anything else.

 “Is it actually rude to talk on your phone while getting your hair styled?”

It may or may not be rude, but it is very irritating. Even crossing your legs will shift the balance even if you are doing a blunt haircut. It is important to sit symmetrical and still.

I have been told off in London, “Please don’t talk. I’m not here to make friends but to give you a haircut.” Talking too much to the stylist might not be a good idea, but talking on the phone can also be considered rude.

“Clean, effortless and carefree hair is very sexy”

Questions that people are scared to ask their hairstylist that we will ask now:

I have psoriasis/eczema/dandruff. Will my stylist get grossed out?

No, absolutely no. If someone walks in with that problem I’d quickly get them an appointment with my friend the dermatologist before giving him/her a haircut.

Can I ask my hairstylist to trim my facial hair?

At the N-Gents salon, the stylists are all trained to do facial hair trimming.

What can I do about thinning hair?

Unfortunately, not much. If someone is trying to sell you products to stop your hair from falling, don’t get sucked into it. Keep up with your treatments like Vitamins, Mesotherapy and Infrared Light Therapy and go for a Follicular Transplant at an early age when you still have a visible hair line.

Why does my stylist always take off more length than I want?

We are actually accused of taking less length off. I can always cut more later, but I can’t make it longer instantly. So stylists are conservative when it comes to cutting off length. It all starts with a good consultation.

 “Who chooses which magazines the salon has on hand?”

I’m very particular about what I want show in my salon. There have been times I have tossed out tons of magazines.

“Is it weird if I don’t take that product my stylist recommended?”

Absolutely not, don’t feel pressured to buy a product your hairstylist recommends. Go home make your own concoction and see what works best for you.

During the hair wash, is it okay to lie there with closed eyes, right?

We have specifically gotten those hydraulic beds for your shampoo so you can lie back, close your eyes during that time and relax.

Is it poor etiquette to rock up to an appointment with hair that hasn’t been washed for days on end? It’s only going to be washed anyway…

I think it’s okay to come in with dirty hair, like you said it will get washed anyway. But there was a time in the 80s when people used to come with mehndi and oil in their hair, which was too much. We allocate 10 – 12 minutes for a wash so anything that requires more than that would be considered impolite.

If you’ve given the customer a cup of tea/coffee at the start of the appointment, when is the most convenient time for them to drink it? Is it hard to work if they’re constantly leaning forward to take a sip?

(Laughs) Yes, I agree. We give them coffee and a magazine to read but then there is a cat and mouse game happening, which always keeps me entertained.

Eye contact through the mirror: How much is too much?

I always look in the mirror to check the balance and if the hair is sculpted okay. Sometimes the client gives me a nod thinking I might be talking to them. In reality, it’s just me doing my job. I will keep looking in the mirror no matter how awkward it gets.


If you were to ask Emu (husband) three questions what would it be?

What time are you coming home?

What’s for dinner?

Is your Saturday off?

When do you think it’s okay to lie in a relationship?            

Never! And it’s not even okay to think about lying because if you are thinking about lying then chances are it will happen.

If reincarnation was possible, who would you want to be?

Myself for another 53 years

What is the funniest question you’ve ever been asked?

Why do you wear glasses?

Who makes your heart skip a beat?

Every morning when I look at the sun, it’s Nature.

What does love sound like?


Is it weird to talk about personal life?

Yes, we train our staff to always bring the focus back to hair in case personal life comes up as a topic.

Eminent American celebrity portrait photographer Randall Slavin started out as a struggling actor who started taking headshots of his pals. Soon, it snowballed into a full blown career. The 49 year old prolific photojournalist tells Haider Rifaat his riveting story

What is Randall Slavin’s story?

I was a struggling actor in my younger days, hanging around in Los Angeles with all my other out of work actor friends. I was always obsessed with photos. I started shooting my friends’ headshots to make some extra money because I wasn’t making a living through acting. It rather snowballed until it was something that I couldn’t ignore or keep on the backburner anymore.

It was around 2000 when I decided to be a celebrity portrait photographer. It is interesting because I have been at it at a time when the business was going through some seismic changes. The internet really turned things on its head, as did the digital camera revolution. I don’t think people saw that the advent of digital photography would explode and the number of photographers would be so out there competing for jobs. Photography used to be an expensive hobby and a skill that had to be learned. The digital media made it cost-free as well as skill free.

What is your routine like?

I wake up, put on a pot of tea, listen to some Ryan Adams, pick up The New York Times and see where the world is heading.

“Photography used to be an expensive hobby and a skill that had to be learned. The digital media made it cost-free as well as skill free”

You have photographed Hollywood legends Charlize Theron, Mark Wahlberg, Alicia Keys, Emma Roberts, Zoe Saldana, Eva Longoria, Marie J. Blige and Kiefer Sutherland among many others. What key factors do you consider when photographing celebrities? Is there a specific theme you follow?

My biggest factor when shooting someone is the willingness to let me lead them somewhere, help them create a scenario and play along with me. It is about being honest. I don’t want the subject to smile if it is not honest. The minute many people get in front of the camera, they immediately put on their “I am-having-my-picture-taken” face. There is nothing spontaneous or authentic about it. I try to get them out of their comfort zone or, at the very least not think about having their picture taken.

During the photography session with your clients, do you guide them on any specifics that you want translated in the results?

During the session, I usually have a quiet chat on set and tell the talent what I like. I think all photographers are different and the clients like to know what the photographer wants. They will frequently say, “Just tell me what you want me to do.” I talk to my subjects a lot when we are shooting. I ask questions about their life and try to get them out of their heads.

Is photojournalism your ideal profession?

Well, I would love to be a rock star but I don’t think that is on the cards.

Do your photos tell a story?

When they are good, yes.

Who have you worked with lately?

I just had a great session the other day with NFL footballer Odell Beckham Jr. It was a memorable one to say the least. I also had a portrait session with someone involved in the U.S.government but I am contractually not at liberty to say anything.

“EVERYONE wants to be photoshopped, EVERYONE! They just don’t want you to notice it”

Are you picky when it comes to clients?

I don’t think so. I can find something interesting about most people.

As an established and esteemed photographer, what are your thoughts on photoshopping models? 

I am all for it (laughs). EVERYONE wants to be photoshopped, EVERYONE! They just don’t want you to notice it. When you are doing a fashion shoot, it is neither reality nor photojournalism. It is a fantasy. So, hell yes! I would say, make them taller, skinnier, get rid of their pimples and wrinkles on their dresses, get rid of those under eye bags, make her eyes bluer, make water and the sky bluer! It is a fantasy; it is not a portrait.

What projects are in the pipeline for you?

I am at a place in my life and career where I want to branch out, do different things, and put branches on a photographic tree that I have spent a few decades building. I am in the process of making a documentary; however, the thing that is most exciting to me is that I have my first book coming out next year titled We All Want Something Beautiful.

It is a collection of my portrait work combined with plenty of unseen snapshots from my time in Los Angeles before I became a professional photographer. There are many images of future Hollywood legends. It is a book in the making for nearly 25 years and I am very proud of it.

What are your interests other than photography?

I really love U.S. politics. I like the election night in America. I would love to follow around a candidate during a presidential campaign.

You struggled with acting. Have you overcome that phase? Can your fans expect any screen projects from you in the coming months or years?

No, no! Nobody is clamoring for me to get back in front of the camera. That chapter is long closed.

“The minute many people get in front of the camera, they immediately put on their ‘I am-having-my-picture-taken’ face. There is nothing spontaneous or authentic about it”

How well do you handle criticism?

I don’t know. I would like to think I handle it well. It matters who is doling it out. I have been criticized by someone I had zero respect for and I didn’t take that well.

Who and what encourages you to persevere?

Perseverance is the hardest thing. Sometimes it is so difficult to keep going when you feel that things aren’t working out for you and you can’t catch a break. It is really the eternal struggle of an artist. What keeps me going? I do personal projects that keep my creatively inspired and it helps.

I think if you only shoot when you are paid, you will be embittered and lose sight of why you picked up a camera to begin with. I have a great woman in my life, my fiancée Valerie who keeps me focused on the blessings of my life. Finally, what encourages me to persevere? I mean, what else can I do? I have been doing this for as long as I can remember.

How was it like working with Charlize Theron? Describe her in one word.


Would you rather lose all of your money and valuables or all of the pictures you have ever taken?

That is a no brainer. My pictures are my memories, my diaries.

Black or white? Your favourite color?

Right now, I am into both, black and white.

Are there any place(s) in the world you would like to travel but haven’t yet?

There are tons of places I haven’t visited yet. I have never been to Greece or Spain. These countries top my list. I have never been anywhere in Asia too.

Your preferred fashion designer or label?

I like Tom Ford but he is too expensive. If anyone reading can hook me up with him!

If you were to act opposite anyone in a feature film, who would your dream cast be and why?

Oh, I would love to work opposite Tom Hanks in a movie. He is nice. I think he would take pity on me and when we are done, we would hang out and he would write me little letters on an old vintage typewriter and I would cherish those letters. Maybe Tom Ford would direct the movie so I could kill two birds with one stone (laughs).

What one important thing have you learned from your past struggles? Does it help you to this day?

The most important thing I have learned from my past struggles is a saying by George Harrison, “All things must pass.” The world has a way of working out. Everything always seems to work out.

Photography by Randall Slavin

Not just another carefree 16 year old, Aashir Wajahat has been working as a child actor since the age of 9, having worked with his father producer/director Wajahat Rauf in Sauteli Maa and Karachi se Lahore as well as having recently launched his music career with a solo single Naya Raasta. Sana Zehra sits down with this bright young spark for quick tete a tete

How did you first realize that music was your niche?

Great artists, like Asim Azhar, Strings and Noori have inspired me a lot in my musical journey. I hope my music connects with people of all ages. I’ve been told by a really senior musician that my first song Naya Raasta sounds way too mature to be coming from a 15 year old. I’m not exactly sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

Who helped you achieve where you are at today?

I told my father that I’m interested in starting my musical journey and he helped me get me an ustaad (master) to improve my skills. I learnt how to play different instruments, which led me to composing my first song.

What do you think are the biggest challenges you face being an upcoming artist in the music industry?

Tons! The market is very competitive and there are so many better singers than me. I have to work really hard to make a mark and do something unique.

What hopes do you have for your new song Naya Raasta?

I hope my single brings inspiration to all the young aspiring artists and of course that it is on everyone’s playlist.

How difficult is it to write your own songs?

I’ve always struggled with writing my own songs. For me, that is definitely the hardest part of composing any song.

Do you aim at trying to set your music/lyrics apart from the mainstream conventional music produced in the Pakistani music industry?

I think sometimes we try too hard to be different, hence, almost always end up losing the essence. I try hard to bring some uniqueness to a song or any cover song I attempt to do.

“I’ve always struggled with writing my own songs”

What genre of music would you be interested in working with that hasn’t yet been introduced in Pakistan?

I think most genres have been done in Pakistan but then the beauty about producing music is that you can play around and do something new every day.

Who is the one singer that you would dream to collaborate with and why?

I would love to work with Asim Azhar. He is one of my inspirations and who better to work with than your inspiration.

What insight could you give us on your next projects?

I’m working on Karachi se Lahore 3 releasing next year on Eid. Apart from that I will be releasing my second single soon, so stay tuned.

NABEEL & AQEEL, the brand, shot into the limelight in 1999 when its stunning collection of contemporary shalwar kameez with black velvet mandarin collars became a huge hit. With its stylish collections for men and women, the brand continues to impress customers from all over the world.

 “We want to make Nabeel & Aqeel one of the most desired label for men and women all over the world, by creating designs which are unique, desirable, durable, affordable and most importantly, wearable.”

In their pursuit of perfection, the brothers behind the brand have worked day and night and traveled thousands of miles to make the best products for their customers at affordable price in collaboration with the finest and latest production facilities in the world. They are famous in introducing novel and unique products that render their brand apart from others in the same business; thus, being the only one, which always comes up with something different.

The only brand in Asia that makes cigars comparable with any top brand in the world, this is Pakistan’s first designer brand to make perfumes and the country’s only designer brand with such a diverse product line up. Across the board, the brothers, co-founders and partners impress everyone who loves fashion and appreciates finer things in life.

Let’s hear it from Nabeel & Aqeel themselves.

What are you passionate about right now?

It can be anything that inspires and motivates us from walking in the rain to visiting an art gallery, and from a particular colour shade to a person. It’s important to understand why this thing/person is so inspiring to you.

Right now, we are passionate about merging different heritages and cultures, old and new, east and west. The solid, timeless, grandeur of the Badshahi Mosque and the modernity of Kennedy Space Centre are both inspiring and motivational for us. We love Pink Floyd music for its depth, and Van Gogh’s art for its vibrancy. We revel in touring the world, and exploring new avenues, but we always love coming back home to our roots.

It is this attraction of opposites that invokes thoughts and ideas in our minds; it allows us to appreciate the best of everything; it also makes us value time because it never lasts.

Give us your background.

We come from a close knit family. Our father is an educationist, management consultant and a former bureaucrat. Our mother is a home economist and the key person to guide us on the path of fashion and style since our childhood. With the combination of our father’s academic attitude and our mother’s encouragement of fashion, we grew up in an atmosphere, which was very conducive to get our creative juices flowing from an early age. When we were in school, we used to save our pocket money to buy select designer accessories, and were always the source of envy in our friends’ circles. Hence, our tastes were refined at quite an early age. We decided to get our MBA, which provided us with the essentials of setting up our first business. We also obtained formal training in Fashion Design. Nabeel did his diploma from FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology), NYC, and I did an internship at Armani, UK.

Having strong family ties, we rely a lot on the guidance we receive from our parents to plan our paths, and I think it is this attitude that has helped us get Allah’s blessings and amde our path easier.

Tell us about your new collection?

We want to instill comfort in every detail of our collection. Once you try, you will buy.

In our 2107 collection, we tried to redefine comfort; we hope our new collection will change your perception for fashion. Everything changes, we change, fashion changes, what will never change is our passion for our work, to make everything with love. Elegance, style, superb fashion design, attention to detail, perfect wearability, fabric research, value and technological innovation are the most important elements that characterize the Nabeel & Aqeel collections.

What is your fashion philosophy?

We are doing some very new things. It’s all about evolution. What you’ll see is our response to what we have observed going on in the world. It’s about being positive, optimistic and personal. The zeitgeist? We’re on it. Our philosophy is to create things that reflects personality and individuality. It’s all about you. Anyone can dress up in designer uniform and express a certain economic status or trendiness. What’s really interesting is using your clothes to reveal who you really are. Express yourself.

Our aim is to provide you special items that will become a part of your life, garments and accessories you’ll wear in a completely personal way. It’s about being uniue. It’s all about attitude, texture, intelligence, versatility and personal style.

Tell us about your new perfumes collection.

This signature collection of fragrances is inspired by perfumery’s glamorous past when only best ingredients were gathered from around the world to create one-of-kind fragrances of sophistication and luxury.  Featuring 11 aromatic new fragrances for men and women, they are a result of sculpting, refining and finishing the best ingredients with magical fragrances, all redolent of adventure and spice.

Tell us about your much talked about perfume INSANITY.  Why did you choose this name?

We named it Insanity because of its power to seduce. It’s energetically earthy and sexually explicit. The rose lies at its heart note. Not your old auntie’s rose, but a raunchy rose.

“This rose has been up all night, smoking and drinking before staggering home as the sun comes up, loving every moment and looking forward to the next time.”

“The ultimate seducer….This is one of the most gorgeous floral I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience; A love at first sniff; a beautiful stranger, an alluring beast…a master of disguise.”

You are a queen and a princess, a lover and a heartbreaker; too beautiful to control and too wild to love. INSANITY is a seductive fragrance made for free and passionate women. It arouses the senses; woman’s hidden emotions and inexplicable passions with an exotic blend of lush florals and deep wood notes. It is not the one for office, we advise, but if you have seduction in mind.

When designing a perfume, what are the key factors you keep in mind?

The focus has always been on quality materials than expensive packaging.  We create very special, original fragrances that are unconstrained by the conventions of mainstream scent-making. Our fragrances are designed with the true fragrance connoisseur in mind.

Where do you place yourselves in the world of fashion and what do you think of the fashion industry here in Pakistan?

The fashion industry in Pakistan is definitely on the right track. People are becoming more aware of contemporary global fashion, and their expectations from fashion brands in Pakistan are increasing. This directly puts positive pressure and demand on the fashion providers. It’s healthy for the growth of this industry.

Regarding our place in the world of fashion, I think I will let my work and clientele prove this for us. People have given us a lot of acclaim, and it’s an honor that everyone acknowledges the effort and soul we put in our work. The brand of Nabeel & Aqeel is known for its ultra-modern, futuristic, yet classy vision, blended with delicate finesses into its creations.

How much further do you think you have to go before you reach your ultimate goal in life? 

We don’t believe in setting a limit on our dreams and aspirations, as this indicates a tendency to stagnate. We like to think that we are progressive and evolving, and this reflects our philosophy of life. As soon as we achieve one set of goals, we have another target to work for. This is how life goes on. The ultimate goal in our life would be to sit back several years from now and know that we have made a difference in the history of Pakistan’s fashion and culture—a positive difference!


You are a queen and a princess, a lover and a heartbreaker; too beautiful to control and too wild to love. INSANITY is a seductive fragrance made for free and passionate women. It arouses the senses; woman’s hidden emotions and inexplicable passions with an exotic blend of lush florals and deep wood notes. It is not the one for office, we advise, but if you have seduction in mind.

What about music?

We love music. It’s everywhere around us. Thanks to our father and elder brothers, we had the pleasure of enjoying a wide range of music at a very early age. We grew up solving math listening to Pink Floyd. We love all kinds of music from Tiesto to Saain Zahoor, cherishing the enigma of versatile echoes from singers around the globe.  Soon we are launching NOSTALGIA, a collection of CDs, featuring unforgettable music that we love.

Tell us about your cigar collection?

We are the first designer brand in Asia to make cigars.

Nabeel & Aqeel Cigars are blended exclusively with select fine leaves from the best tobacco regions of the world. Its delicate aroma and delicious taste will make you revel in the unique pleasure of smoking a cigar.

We have two different collections: The Connoisseur collection is from Dominican Republic, while the Imperial Havana collection is from Cuba. Both the series have different sizes of cigars. I love our new cigar IMPIRIAL HAVANA 56 that offers exceptional character and flavour. You will fall in love with its taste.

Who is your target customer for your menswear?

Nabeel& Aqeel is targeting a man that aspires to a luxurious lifestyle, high in its style, fashion and elegance quotient. He is a professional man who looks for tasteful, subtle style, fashion conscious, but never a fashion victim; he expects a good relationship between quality and price.

Your favourite scent?

There are many, depends on the mood and the occasion. We love all the perfumes by Nabeel & Aqeel of course. Besides that Creed Aventus and Santal 33 by Le Labo are among our favourites these days.

The perfume you like on a woman?

Insanity it is!

How did the two of you end up working together?

Knowing that we are brothers, it shouldn’t be surprising that we are working together. We have been best friends for as long as we can remember; we went to same school, same college; we used to share our thoughts and ideas with each other and used to get inspired by almost similar things, which led us to start working together.

We have a good business relationship; we motivate each other to do better.  Living in the same house, we get to share our inspirations, thoughts and fashion philosophy with each other constantly. This keeps a sense of coherence in our work and also helps us to bounce our ideas off each other to test their validity.

To keep the balance, however, we distribute and segregate the work load, so that both of us get a chance to see our ideas materialize our ideas. I, Aqeel, am more on a visionary side, the dreamer and Nabeel is the one who transforms those visions into reality.

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