Maisha Creations: Interview with Designer Mrs Mahwish Afzal-Khan

So, I’m really really excited.
Macarons | Moda | Mikyajs’ FIRST blog interview. May it be the first of many 😀

I was lucky enough to get an interview with Mrs Mahwish Afzal-Khan.
Ever wondered what it would be like to get into the mind of a prestigious and celebrated designer?

Read on to find out more!

Hi Mahwish, I’m so glad you could take time out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions why don’t you tell me a little bit about yourself as a woman, daughter, and very successful designer?

Thank you so much for such kind words. I am a BBA graduate from American University in Dubai, specialized in Marketing and Advertising and I also hold a degree in fashion designing from Centre for Executive Education (CEE), EDEXCEL, LONDON.

I have lived in Dubai since the age of three. Originally from Pakistan, I have experienced Dubai grow from a desert to a cosmopolitan city. I have been in this industry from quite few years now. Being raised up in a mixed cultural society, it was an advantage for me as it helped me grasp the traditions, cultures and the integrity in the dressing styles of all.

Being a typical Capricorn, I am very ambitious, practical and reserved. My abilities include graphic designing and branding/advertising, 2D and 3D designing. My hobbies are drawing and painting using different instruments like charcoal, stencils, graphite pencils, pastels, wax color pencils, crayons, chalk and markers.

I think I am a pretty good daughter as well, just wished to spend a little more time with my parents before getting married. It’s been 10 months to my marriage and I miss my family a lot. Having said that, I am blessed with a very loving husband and supportive in-laws.

Mashalla that’s great to hear! What inspired you to pick the traditional Jalabiya as your point of focus and not anything else? and how was Maisha Creations born?

I got influenced by designer brands and got inspiration from Middle Eastern culture – my collection reflects my experiences. Encouraged by a fusion of international and regional trends, with quality and creativity in mind, we at Maisha Creations showcase a range of trendsetting, glamorous and contemporary jalabiyas for today’s discerning fashionista.

Maisha Creations was initially born to fulfill the need of my relatives and friends for having different yet trendy designs. Everyone loved my creations, which raised my motivational level and I went to London to further get a professional degree in Fashion Designing and Textiles. After completing 2 years I transferred my credits here and completed my degree from CEE, Dubai. After graduation, I participated in Dubai Fasion Fiesta and there was no looking back after that!

MC has been a part of many shows/ exhibitions in Dubai; Dubai Bride Show 2007, Abu Dhabi Bride Show 2008, Runaway Art Show 2007, Burjuman Creations Show 2008, Style 2010 Fujairah Fashion Show, Dubai Fashion Fiesta 2010, Miss Velvet Fashion Shows 2010-2011 (which is held under the patronage of Sheikha Hend Al Qassemi), Dubai Fashion Week SS2011; are just to name a few.

In May 2010, i went into a joint venture with Aijaz Aslam, Pakistan’s famous celebrity and designer for our collection which was showcased for the very first time in Fujairah for Style 2010 Fujairah Fashion Show under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Sara Bint Hamad Al Sharki, which was held at the Fujairah Tennis and Country Club. Then, we showcased our latest Eid Collection “A la Mode” at Fashion Club Party (August 2011) which was held in Sanctuary, Atlantis, for which I had received rave reviews post the show and exhibited the collection at Women Lifestyle Fashion Event (September 2011) at Al Tawuun Mall. I have been a part of Dubai Fashion Week SS2011 where we showcased 38 designs. The show was opened by Rashmi Premaney, Dubai Miss World 2010 and a winner of a few beauty pageants. The showstopper was Aijaz Aslam, Asia’s renowned actor and designer. On 24th March 2012, MC participated in The Bridal Affair, the most talked about Wedding exhibition in Dubai of that month which was inaugurated by ace Indian designer Vikram Phadnis and attended by Indian celebrities like Tanaaz & Bakhtiyaar. MC received affirmative response at the exhibition and was successful along with some other vendors participating at the event.

Wow! What exactly makes Maisha Creations different from other companies on the market? Do you find yourself inspired by Pakistani fashion trends? I
for one love to follow Pakistani fashion! Do you think we could well expect to see Pishwa-inspired Jalabiyas?

My designs are cut so that they emphasize and enhance the female form. It’s best known as combining contemporary silhouettes with traditional techniques. The design philosophy at Maisha Creations (MC) gives it a definitive edge and enhances its appeal to an increasing clientele worldwide which has an appreciation for innovation and creativity. The unique traditional-Middle Eastern inspired designs combined with western influences at MC are enlarged by stylish cutting and color choices that make the collections stand out in the crowd. The attires are simple, elegant and ready-to-wear.

The Jalabiya is an international attire and can be worn anytime & anywhere no matter which ever place you are wearing it in. Anyone who wears MC jalabiya will feel good and comfortable in it.

There isn’t much difference in pishwas and jalabiya, it’s just the length that is shorter in pishwas and longer in jalabiya. But these days I have clients who want to cut the length of a jalabiya from 60 inches to 43 or 44 inches to make it as a dress that they can wear underneath leggings or jeans or just as a dress .

When you first began designing what did your friends and family think of your designs? Do you have any formal background to fashion and do you think fashion can be ‘learnt’ or is it simply a natural instinct?

As I have mentioned earlier, they loved my creations and that is why I further on moved with it and got professional training and degree to hold. My mother is very good in designing, she hasn’t got any professional degree in it but her sense of designing is just awesome!!!

Fashion cannot be learnt, one can learn the detailing but the basics are within a person. One needs to have the sense of color mixing, cycles of different patterns and textiles incorporation etc. Yes, getting education on fashion is very essential, it teaches a lot of things other than “oh yeah red and black makes a good contrast”..  but one needs to know more than that –  pattern making, drafting, differentiating between fabrics and incorporating 3 4 fabrics or pieces together.. There is a lot of things, details to be learned in this field. It is not a piece of cake. It is a lot of hard-work and this field is extremely time-consuming.

As we mentioned previously, Dubai’s fashion scene is overflowing with designers all trying to make it big – IF there was a local based designer that you admire and would love to collaborate with who would it be and why..?

I would love to collaborate with Rami Al Ali. I love his designing; the integrity in his each piece is what I admire the most. Each gown/piece describes a story.
The most important thing is he loves what he does and that is what makes a difference.

If its not top secret info what are your future plans for Maisha Creations?
Can we expect to see new and exciting things in store?

We have a footwear line in process which includes Swarovski studded flats and stilettos; it will be launched soon. Recently, we launched a store where we cater the tailoring and embroidery of eastern wear and sell textiles; it is located in Burdubai, Opposite to Burjuman Center.

Pakistan Fashion Week in London is on the cards, if things go down well with the immigration department then hopefully next season of Dubai Fashion Week…A new multi brand store, Brands-Just Pret is scheduled to be opened in Ibn Batuta Mall at the end of August and Maisha Creations is proud to be a part of it .

In your opinion – what is the perfect way to style a jalabiya –
your tips and tricks please!

An evening jalabiya doesn’t need to be accessorized much because it is already has much work on it. However, a pair of stunning earrings along with a beautiful crystalized clutch would do wonders for the entire attire.

and lastly..any advice for budding designers out there?

Know that being a fashion design major isn’t glamorous all the time!!
It is a lot
of hard work & creativity. Many a times it can be unbelieveably time-consuming and the fashion industry is very competitive – that said – I think one can definitely handle it as long as you’re dedicated!

It’s been great to have an insight into your thoughts and I hope the readers enjoy it as much as I did – very insightful. Thank you so much for your time and I can’t wait to see you go from strength to strength!

The Ramadhan Eed Post

As many of you are probably aware Ramadhan has drawn to an end and ‘Eed is nigh!

The blessed month of Ramadhan in which fasting is prescribed is akin to a preparatory course..

In it we are encouraged to become god-fearing; to rush towards good deeds, spend profusely in charity and save our tongues, limbs and hearts from any evil – in short to reach the peak of spiritual excellence.

Whilst detoxing the self from both physical and spiritual maladies we are also told to spare a thought for the poor.

Though we abstain from food we know at the end of the day at sunset our kitchen tables will be groaning under the various items of food..Biscuits, sweet pastries and warming broths

Food is one of the key points of both Ramadhan and ‘Eed its the focus of the conversation, the R in in the Ramadhan and its pivotal in bringing the family together!

We didn’t make so much this year for ‘eed but heres a couple of snapshots from both Ramadhan and our prep for ‘Eed – hope you all get a flavour of the excitement!

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There’s absolutely no celebration which is complete without a bunch of flowers

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Soft doughy bread rolls stuffed with a spicy courgette onion and chicken filling

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My brother bought me not one but three cheesecakes! Isn’t he lovely?

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Don’t be too harsh it was my first time making Baklawa so its a little rough around the edges!

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What I love most about Eed! Henna. Took me ages to do and I nearly fell asleep in between..

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Henna on the inside of my palm – I know it looks freaky with four fingers but I cropped out my thumb lol

so there you have it! More pics tomorrow inshallah

And before I forget

EEDKUM MBARAK 😀

Have a great one!

Skincare woes

I posted this picture on Instagram a couple of days ago but thought I’ll share on the blog too in the interest of the readers that aren’t on Instagram!

If you are but not already following me now’s the time to add me @Reem007 😉

So where to begin..

I don’t have clear skin.

No matter how many creams I slather, raw vegetables I munch on or how many natural concoctions I prepare I’m just not one of those ladies who’ve been naturally blessed with pearly clear translucent skin…

Don’t get me wrong I don’t have really really bad skin but it’s lack lustre and far from flawless.

I’ve begun to see a pattern infact – at max I get around 1.5-2 weeks of clear skin then the tell-tell signs of bumps ensue and then at that time of the month I get a vicious onslaught of under the skin bumps particularly around the mouth and jawline indicating quite clearly its a hormonal issue so theres not much I can do

After that problem and the bumps clearing up I am unfortunately left with the telltale signs of pigmentation and a whole bunch of marks that I am in a constant battle to get rid of – its a vicious circle.

In the quest to banish the unsightly marks off I went to Debenhams to pick up a mega 50 ml Clinique dark spot corrector – luckily for me it was at a duty free price and the sales assistant even threw in a few freebies!

So here’s my current regimen – i’d love to hear you share yours! A lovely lady on instagram recommended me to try Neostrata (anyone heard of it?) so ill definitely be looking into that!

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Everyday

(1) Elemis tri enzyme facial wash
(2) Clinique even better dark spot corrector
(3) Elemis rose and lavender bliss capsules
(4) Elemis pro collagen marine cream (Night)

Bi weekly Exfoliaters

I’m alternating between
(1) Liz earle gentle face exfoliator
(2) Clinique 7 day scrub
(3) Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel

Weekly Masks

Again i’m alternating between
(1) Liz earle deep cleansing mask
(2) Turmeric & Honey
(3) Oats rosewater and milk

and on top of all of the above i’ve been having fortnightly crystal clear microdermabrasion facials

Lets see how it goes – wish me luck

Aghnaj By Halima Seemba

I’ve been a little quiet on my blog – pretty much due to a combination of being uninspired and busy with Ramadan..

However, being the woman that I am – a woman who appreciates fashion and the finer things in life – it didn’t take long to dispel my boredom. Especially when I came across Aghnaj. (Facebook)

Founded by Emirati designer Halima Seemba Aghnaj is a creative hubbub of Abayaat and dresses, though recently established (Feb 2012) Aghnaj are making themselves known.

As well as having a large range of everyday as well as Wedding & Occasion Abayas – they also have a selection of evening, henna and Melcha dresses available, and if that wasn’t enough they also have a casual apparel and cute childrens line!

So what sort of woman is her brand aimed towards?

It’s pretty simple.

The urbane modern woman searching for versatile elegant clothes – with a touch of emiratiness!

Her newest Abaya collection ‘the Conquer Abaya Collection’ is described by the designer in the following words

Here I present CONQUER ABAYA COLLECTION which is basically presenting the social and stylish working woman . Ambitious and hardworking. Mixture of bright flashy mixed with fade combination laces and beads, making the style suitable for day time and evening wear.

If you’re in Sharjah be sure to stop by the Ramadan Night Market between the 10th to the 19th of August as Aghnaj will be presenting their collection there! (See booth R41 Hall 7)

For further info

Aghnaj
Direct: +97150 63 63 977
Info:+971 55 11 84 090
telephone: +971 6 551 8338
Direct email: aghnaj@eim.ae
email: daraghnaj@gmail.com
Home page: www.daraghnajfashions.ae
P.O.Box: 63860 – budaniq , Sharjah – United Arab Emirates