April Issue 2009
Interview: Sanya Muneer
“I don’t believe in having a signature style. I like to constantly innovate” — Sanya Muneer
Q: Have you showcased your creations abroad and locally?
A: I have two exhibitions a year in Dubai but have also shown collections in Bahrain, Houston, L.A., Singapore, Delhi and Mumbai.
Q: Where do you stock your collections?
A: At the moment my collections are available only in Karachi.
Q: Do you have a background in designing?
A: I am actually a finance major, but am surrounded by family who are in fashion, and who have been an inspiration for me all my life.
Q: Which designers do you draw inspiration from?
A: I love Kenzo and Stella McCartney.
Q: What is your design philosophy?
A: Basically, I don’t believe in having a signature style. I like to constantly change and innovate. I always want the collections to be a surprise. There’s nothing better than when someone is surprised by my pieces … I love that!
Q: Do you design only formal wear?
A: I design evening, formal and bridal wear.
Q: Do you try to merge the western and eastern styles?
A: I love the idea of fusion and believe it takes designing to new heights. For example, the kurtas with kalis and the angarkhas are old school but I’ve reintroduced them with a twist. So it’s not only the fusion of East and West but also of the old with the new.
Q: Are your collections usually targeted for the high-end market? What sort of price range do you maintain?
A: The formal and evening wear prices are fixed and these prices are considered to be very competitive by my clients. For the bridal pieces, I work with clients within their budgets.
Q: How did you end up in Paris?
A: I got married last year and moved to Paris. I’ve been living here for seven months.
Q: Does living in the hub of fashion influence your designs and creative eye?
A: Yes, of course. Being in Paris influences my designs but I really think Pakistan is an amazing country and I was constantly inspired there too. Not to mention the fact that I have had such wonderful coverage in the media.
Having said that, being in Paris is very dynamic and everyone here is extremely fashion savvy. Colour is a very important element in their dressing style and you rarely see anyone (except me!) in black. The lines of the clothes on the street are very fitted. This winter, all the coats were short with the empire line and they looked like a winter angarkha. The trousers for daywear are like churidars, as they are tight-fitted, but for more formal wear they are high-waisted and flared, like the azar pajama. Layering has been important during the winter so it’s been interesting to see how that works, since it is similar to the interesting chemises for the coats that I’m designing right now.
It’s great fun drawing these parallels and I’m intrigued to see where this will take my work.
Q: How do you manage work from abroad?
A: I have an amazing team that has worked with me for over nine years. I have three managers: one for sales and two for production. Nadya deals with clients and sales and Imtiaz deals with production. My cousin Bina handles my PR and my shoots. I think this team has an amazing synergy and whether it’s Nadya who makes the business run smoothly day-to-day or Bina, who is the reason I’m known, it has been a brilliant collaboration. I design the collection while I’m away and do my sampling when I visit Karachi every two months. The pieces are produced while I’m away and then I have an exhibition when I get back. To be honest, I consider it such a blessing that I’ve been doing what I love for 14 years.
Q: Do you intend to create a niche for your line in Paris?
A: Yes, I would love to, inshallah, and am exploring the possibilities at the moment.
Q: What would make the Pakistani fashion scene exciting to the world?
A: I think the Pakistani fashion scene is quite exciting. However, it lacks exposure and this is something the fashion councils are working on. So, perhaps we’ll reach a point where our designers get to showcase their work in a bigger arena.
See Faiza Shah’s companion story Summer Impressions.