Sania Maskatiya first caught my eye at Stitch Three’s Eid & Diwali Fashion Extravaganza Trunk Show last year. I loved her variety of colourful nature-inspired designs, where worn on it looked flawlessly elegant. Sania Maskatiya is a Pakistan based designer, one of the new generation of fashion talents from the sub-continent who is gaining recognition and making waves on an international scale. She graduated in Textile Design graduate from Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in Karachi. Sania has been designing since 2007, where in 2010 she launched her own label, ‘Sania Maskatiya’. Her brand focusses on offering haute couture, formal wear, pret a porter and luxury pret for women, with a selection of menswear.
The Sania Maskatiya design house uses only pure, luxe fabrics cut and draped in a range of directional but elegant silhouettes, creating versatile looks across all their fashion lines. The acclaimed fashion house engages the finest craftsmen across Pakistan, hailing from generations of artisans practicing time-honoured craftsmanship and embroideries. Fabric design and printing takes place in-house, ensuring greater autonomy of the creation process. Her designs often take imaginative inspiration from a unique interplay of colours, using imagery inspired by nature and her surroundings, which are represented across their prêt a porter, luxury wear and haute couture lines.
Internationally, she recently showcased her Sakura collection at Lakmé Fashion Week and it was shortlisted for the 2014 global ‘Woolmark Award’– one of the world’s most influential design awards. The brand has won a Lux Style Award, Pakistan’s most significant design award, for ‘achievement in the fashion design-luxury prêt’ category.
Sania Maskatiya has showcased across runways and at exhibitions in Europe, USA, Middle East and India, gathering phenomenal buzz and interest from the globe’s biggest fashion influencers. In Pakistan, the brand’s bi-annual collections at the PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week and Fashion Pakistan Week platforms are much anticipated as are their seasonal in-store collections, exhibitions and occasion wear lines.
Her designs have been worn by Oscar-winning filmmaker, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, who wore a custom Sania Maskatiya creation; Obaid-Chinoy wore a bespoke Sania Maskatiya creation to the Emmy Awards; Asifa Bhutto Zardari of the famed Bhutto political dynasty recently wore a Sania Maskatiya creation on the cover of Hello! Pakistan; and Pakistani film actress Humaima Malik wore the brand at the 14th Asian Film Festival in London.
The talented Sania Maskatiya exclusively shared words with us at London Ki Ladki, from what her favourite part is about being a fashion designer all the way to advice for any aspiring fashion designers out there!
What would you say your vision is as a brand and what differentiates you in the Pakistan fashion industry?
Our vision was for Sania Maskatiya to be a unique brand, one that embodied creativity and artistry. We translated this into fashion by ensuring that each collection represented a specific theme or motif and each piece embodied a story of its own. Currently, the brand distinguishes itself with its uninhibited use of colours, intricate design work, and refined cuts. I think in the long-run it’s the passion of the entire team that makes and will continue to make the brand stand out.
When did you know you wanted to be a fashion designer?
As a child I always loved arts and crafts so I was always oriented towards designing, creating and playing with colours. When I entered college I chose to pursue textile designing and that helped to hone by desire to create original and artistic pieces which people would enjoy wearing.
What is your favourite part about being a fashion designer?
I love translating my creativity and imagination into clothing. It also feels great to see and know that people enjoy wearing and endorsing what I would call my ‘work of art.’ I am lucky to have a team around me that shares my passion and drive – together we inspire each other to reach new heights.
Where do you turn to for fashion inspiration?
During my undergraduate, I realized you can essentially be inspired by anything that is meaningful to you. I have always been oriented towards art, culture, and history and often find most of my inspirations from stories from the past.
What are you favourite materials to use in your designs?
I don’t think I can pick favourites because as a textile design major I perceive cloth differently and look at it as an ingredient that I can create different things with. As such various materials pose different challenges for me and inspire unique designs. They are all favourites!
Please tell us about your latest collection; what is the theme and what was your inspiration behind it?
In March we will showcasing our new pret line along with our lawn collaboration with Alkaram Textile Mills. Both collections have been inspired by a multitude of things including the season itself and will be hitting the runway at Fashion Pakistan Week. I can’t tell you more just yet but watch out for further announcements and previews!
Who inspires you the most in fashion? Anyone who stands out?
I’m a huge fan of Karl Lagerfield, he always inspires unique collections and in my view is the reason why Chanel shows are always jaw droppers. I love his distinct eye-catching methods of presenting fashion and I think he keeps the fashion industry on its toes.
Could you please tell us about any events/fashion shows you participated in last year?
Last year I showcased a variety of collections at the PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week, FPW7, the Lakme Fashion Week in India, the Faisana Fashion Weekend and Diwali in the square in London along with a multitude of exhibitions in US, India, Singapore and Europe. All of which were a great experience!
What do you feel is trending at the moment in the Pakistan fashion industry?
In everyday wear women are looking for trendy prints which are comfortable but chic and focus more on cuts and sleek designs. For wedding wear there has been a backward movement to more ethnic and traditional designs which include lehnga cholis with intricate detailing almost touching upon hints of the Mughal era. Sarees have also made a huge revival in Pakistan!
Do you feel Western fashion is being influenced by Eastern fashion more than ever? And vice versa, do you feel Eastern fashion is being influenced by Western fashion more than ever?
With globalization and greater exposure we have seen a definite shift and exchange in cultural influences. There is an observable growing trend in the West to incorporate hints of Eastern elements in specific collections especially in couture – LV is designing peshawari chappals and Chanel put out a collection of tunics last years that are markedly similar to what we wear. High street brands in the west are also doing tunics and embodying ethnic embroideries. Similarly, in the East there has been a movement to incorporate Western cuts and silhouettes in designs to create more refined and versatile collections.
What do you think the modern Asian bride wants today?
I think brides-to-be are moving away from the run-of-the-mill designs where there is an emphasis on lavish embellishments and heavy adornments. The modern bride wants an outfit that is different and customized to make her feel beautiful and special. There is a greater emphasis on creating distinct bridal outfits with personal customisation.
What is your advice to any Asian brides when looking for their bridal outfit?
Be yourself and get involved in designing your outfit so you essentially get the perfect bridal for you, one that will make you feel beautiful inside and out.
What is your advice to any aspiring fashion designers?
Persistence and resilience! It’s an easy and tough market all at once. It’s easy because there is great potential but it is difficult because there is an increasing saturation of designers. However, if you believe in your work and you’re passionate about it then be persistent because sooner or later your work will speak for itself and gain the necessary recognition to make a break through.
Are there any upcoming events you will be participating in soon?
I will be showcasing my work at FPW in end of March. I am also working in a collaboration which will focus on redesigning the PIA uniforms as well as working closely with Sunsilk for creating a design for an exclusive bottle. We are in the process of tying up with a number of events abroad later in the year – it is going to be an exciting year for the brand!
What are your plans for the future?
My plans are to continue to grow and develop the brand while maintaining the quality and standard of our clothes. We want to build on creative elements and hopefully become a well-known global brand.
We look forward to seeing her collection at Fashion Pakistan Week coming up in the next few days, which I am sure will be appreciated by the masses. Saniya is commendable as she is creating distinct pieces within the industry, whilst continuing to produce luxe fashion. We wish her the best of luck in her upcoming showcase and beyond.
If you love Sania Maskatiya’s designs and don’t where to shop them; panic not! Sania Maskatiya’s attire are available to shop in the UK from fashion powerhouse, Stitch Three. Follow Stitch Three here on Facebook for more fashion updates. Want to see more Sania Maskatiya fashion? Just click here. Follow the label on Twitter and on Facebook for more updates.
Photo credit: Sania Maskatiya and London Ki Ladki