Embracing the novelty in tradition

Sonya Battla is a renowned fashion designer who looks forward to the decolonisation of fashion to allow Pakistani culture to shine

Sonya Battla began stitching her narrative in the year 2000. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fashion from the UK, which prepared her for her 20-year journey of highs and lows. When Battla started her endeavour, the fashion scene was vastly different, there was a lot of scope to update and set new norms for prêt-a-porter especially.

Battla’s label is based on a philosophy of stylish comfort fusion wear with a hint of an ethnic element that serves as a memory for craft and handmade artisanal work. This philosophy gels well with the well-travelled, confident woman and she is grateful for the appreciation she has found in the Dubai market for her line. So far the business in Dubai is exhibition-based but she is keen to work with a local business partner should the right opportunity arise.

“I’m a minimalist in terms of lines and proportions, yet my work is not quiet. My favourite part of designing is the research and development aspect and experimentation with form — to allow navigation of the human body and its interaction with clothing to create fresh space around the body,” Battla says.

She believes that the future of traditional wear is stable and will stay rooted in Pakistani culture.

She observes that style awareness is present especially with the revolution of the internet, which has become the great equaliser of fashion today. Pakistani designers have managed to retain a following in most continents, on the back of their design and quality, which says much for them.

“I’m hoping we can enter global partnerships. I think Sabyasachi and H&M working together is great. It adds cultural depth when such collaborative work happens, and takes the decolonising fashion narrative forward,” she says.

This is an important aspect of the future of apparel. Fashion is about manifesting realisations and changing lifestyles. This will allow designers from other continents like Europe to be admired for their flavour and nuanced approach to fashion. Designers from non-Eurocentric zones won’t need to fight for space. She hopes that the process of decolonisation in fashion as a movement will allow for the Pakistani perspective to hold the same magic as European brands.

“This is a time of change. Fashion is evolving fast and assessing its own processes, which is exciting. I feel the last two decades were too brand-centric. I’m happy to exchange energy with different cultures and collaborate with other designers to form fresh design equations.”


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