Hand loomed magic

Renowned Pakistani designer Shamoon Sultan brings his contemporary Khaadi delights to the city

By Davina Raisinghani

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Published: Wed 15 Sep 2010, 8:51 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:17 PM

IT’S A COMPLIMENT sans par when a market is flooded with replicas of your designs much before your brand actually makes its way there.

But then that, says Shamoon Sultan as he hits Dubai with his brainchild Khaadi, is a problem he shares with the likes of Dolce and Gabbana!

However, even the considerably cheaper, machine-made imitations of his work available in the Gulf did not bring the designer charging into the region with his premium, hand-woven originals.

Instead, Shamoon was keen on perfecting his home base in Karachi - 12 years after its launch the four-story factory houses over 700 handlooms and weavers.

Now, as he launches Khaadi in a snazzy outlet in Dubai Festival City, with a collection personifying edgy cultural blends, City Times rings the designer up for a chat.

What finally brings Khaadi to Dubai?

After exploring our home turf for over a decade and establishing ourselves, it was the logical thing to do - test waters abroad. And what better market than Dubai, where you cater to people from all over the globe with diverse tastes and styles.

So who represents your quintessential client?

Definitely independent, self-aware and confident women between the ages of 20 and 40.

And what sort of attire does Khaadi stock?

We have a large variety - from traditional Eastern attire to a modern Western silhouette. In Dubai we have the prêt line, which is predominantly Western. Along with that we have accessorises such as bags and jewellery.

But the most unique feature of the brand is undoubtedly the hand-woven fabric?

Yes, and that’s what it’s been since our inception. It all started with very basic fabrics and colours. But with time, our clothing has a completely different look and feel to it. With the help of indigenous and modern applied design techniques we are also offering the value-added feature of enhanced aesthetics.

Why use hand-woven fabric over machine-made?

The idea came to me when I was doing my thesis in college. It was never about prefering one type over the other. Rather, the core idea was the revival of a craft that was dying. With that in mind, we started developing fabrics that were designed to cater to modern needs.

What sort of fabrics do you use?

We only deal with natural fibres. The fabrics that we manufacture ourselves are cotton, cotton-silk and silk. Other than that we use voile and chiffon.

Tell us a bit about your latest collection.

The inspiration behind print and woven fabric of Khaadi’s latest autumn-winter collection is Central Asian Ikat. The fabric is mainly hand-woven and screen printed silks inspired by Ikat designs and complimented by jersey, silks and chiffon. All the outfits are styled with volume but have an edge to them – with an emphasis on silhouettes created by cowls, drapery, panelling, loose voluminous shapes and constructed jackets.

Where are Khaadi and you headed to next?

Firstly, we are planning to expand in the Middle East and then we will head towards Europe in the future. We also intend to participate in local fashion events


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