All that giltters
Dubai - Pakistan's Maria B. - who is part of Swarovski's Ingredient Branding programme - proves that the secret to becoming a successful fashion house lies in blending art with commerce
As the festive season approaches, fashion's bling factor is bound to be on the rise and, of course, when it comes to shine, Swarovski stones are the ones most designers turn to. Swarovski is well-known for working with designers from diverse backgrounds and it recently announced that Maria B. would be part of its "Ingredient Branding" programme, which means the Pakistani designer will now be having a very special relationship with the Austrian brand.
Says Andrew Mojica, managing director, Swarovski Middle East, "Our Ingredient Branding programme allows regional designers to utilise the Swarovski professional brand and support pack-ages, as well as the crystals, to build and enhance their own businesses."
Maria B. is a well-known name in her home country, with her brand having quite a few labels under its wings. Moreover, its 'Mbroidered' collections, known for the use of chiffon, also retails in the UAE, United Kingdom, United States and Qatar. Her un-stitched ensembles, in particular, are known for their accessible price points.
The designer started her house over 15 years ago after becoming Pakistan Institute of Fashion Design's first Valedictorian back in 1998. So, it was expected that this designer would one day become a success - and she did. With over 500 employees, today Maria B. has been able to achieve the right mix between art and commerce, and she keeps an emphasis on retail and export. Says the designer, "The difference between a designer house and a brand is the sheer volume of the business. Over the past 18 years, Maria B. has become a major player in the fashion retail sector of the country, but since we at Maria B. own nine brands, from haute couture to pret to accessories and fabrics, we maintain our original identity of a designer brand too. With the added benefit of being a key player in the fashion business in Pakistan."
The designer has found that Dubai has become an important city for her labels. In fact, the campaign for the entire collaboration between Swarovski and Maria B. was shot in Dubai.
"Dubai is very interesting as it represents a melting pot of fashion and cultures with people of different ethnicities, living together, and yet retains its own identity - a very 'Dubai' look which is recognisable all over. The women have a very keen sense of dressing and they know exactly what is hip and trendy," says the designer.
Like Dubai's fashion set, Pakistani women en-joy embroideries and have a keen understanding of embellishments. So while this initiative be-tween Swarovski shows the company's commitment and belief in the Pakistani fashion industry, the fact that the campaign was shot in Dubai proves that the city holds a very special place for Pakistani designers, indeed.