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!

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

The Not-So-Humble Dara’ah

The harsh desert sand billowing against you, the cloying, intoxicating scent of bakhoor clouding the air, sultry kohl rimmed eyes & bejewelled fabrics

You might think it’s hard to encapsulate Arabia into a dress, but with their vibrant peacock colours, sumptuous textures & striking ethnic prints; these glorious dara’ahs (from the Ada by Anjalee collection) do exactly that.

You’ve heard of Jalabiyas, but what about the Dara’ahs? Playing a rich role in kuwaiti life, culture and fashion Dara’ahs have evolved – and they’re here to stay.

what I LOVE about Anjalees dresses (aside from the eclectic trans-indian fusion which is phenomenal!) are their striking silhouettes; tailored pleats, a clinched-in waist here, uber chic frilled sleeves there & also the luscious FANTABULOUS colour palettes a far cry away from the traditional dara’ahs prevailent in ye old times

You can EVEN kill two birds with one stone – not only are these dresses lavish they’re incredibly comfortable – put it this way – I can easily imagine lounging around my home in one of these pieces (as cool as a cat) in comparison to some other jalaabiyat which (let’s face it) are absolutely gorgeous but you know that as soon as you set foot in your home you’ll be i t c h i n g to take them off….

Style AND comfort.
These are winners all around!

Of Sales, Spikes & Shoes

It doesn’t matter what colour, creed or religion you are – there’s one thing women ALL over the world can relate to – a passion for fashion.

You probably already knew about the River Island sale that went live yday! Hundreds of early birds flocked to their local stores at 8 am to get a chance of the action…what for? 4 items at an additional 50% off! BARGAIN I KNOW.

Now I absolutely adore our British High street brands – they are exceptional so obviously I couldn’t just stay at home – off I went!

Psychedelic printed dress I bought, what? Dont look at me like that, i’m coming out of my shell

They had tonnes and tonnes of flats and I couldn’t resist buying lots and lots of them…aye four pairs were absolutely necessary. My favourites are the black and white patent ones with the gold buckle; Meow

Do any of you guys wear flats or heels all the way?

I actually did a double-take when I saw this long lace jacket sitting smugly on the rail beckoning to me, I grabbed it as quickly as I could and shoved it straight into my shopper bag. It was £75 and I got it for….£12.50

You already met my harem of flats, obviously they need a man – meet the king of the jungle

Everytime I see those shoes in my room I have a mad urge to go and stroke them.

All in all, a productive shopping experience! alhamdulillah

Oh and then I went to Monsoon, more on that another time..

Did anybody else pop down or perhaps you shopped from the comfort of your living room online? Who knows!

I’d love to see your thoughts/hauls!

xxx

And for some more of my Pearl Fetish

I just cannot get enough of pearls…and lets face it, which woman can? (think Breakfast at Tiffanys’)

Remember that drop-dead gorgeous pearl table centrepiece I blogged about here?

Well I’ve found the perfect shoes to match.

Wait for it.

*Cue golden light – chorus of angelic voices hymning*

Tad too much? Yes
Oestentatious? Pretty much
Completely unneccessary…guilty as charged

Still beautiful though.