By Saad Sultan Goraya

Very few have the luxury of knowing about their passion, fewer get the chance to follow it. It takes courage, vision and lot of resistance to create and maintain something in Pakistan. Not only maintaining, but taking “Teena” to heights with aim higher than sky, yet keeping her design philosophy simple, Hina Butt is talk of the town. Creativity, uniqueness and grace, the hallmarks of the brand “Teena” are definitely transcendent from the owner. Just when she got the “gold medal” in business studies from LUMS, she decided to take a lifetime risk. Rather than joining her family business she took everybody with surprise by creating her own identity, “Teena”. “Teena” is not only a fashion brand but it’s a workshop for young designer which provides a perfect platform to them for showcase their talent. In between all that, she is elected member of Punjab provincial assembly. ENJOY the conversation!

 

How did your journey as a designer started? When did you discover that this was the field for you?

After the completion of my MBA from LUMS, I had two options, either join my family’s business or start one of my own. My interest in politics was akin to my interest in entrepreneurship and I always encouraged entrepreneurs to start their own ventures. Also adding to that, people always admired my fashion sense and often consulted their wardrobe from me. That is when I decided to start my own fashion house, with my label Teena coming into being in November 2010.

On the Scale 1 to 10, how do you rate yourself as a designer? What struggles did you make through to reach here?

I feel it’s hard to rate anyone on a scale. Also, I wouldn’t be the right person to rate myself. I think the hardest part for me was to start my own label from the scratch. I being a business graduate plus a gold medalist could have secured a very promising career in the corporate world or alternatively joined by father’s very established business but I chose otherwise because of my love for fashion.

What is your design philosophy? What parameters do you keep in mind during designing?

My design philosophy revolves around creating ensembles which are trendy, graceful and are practical at the same time. Me & my team strive to create ensembles which can be wore right of the ramp. While designing we keep the following parameters in mind; Creativity, Uniqueness, Practical and Affordable.

Your brand is covering 4 major cities of Pakistan; Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad and Faisalabad. Are you planning to expand it further?

Yes, we have expansion plans for other cities of Pakistan. Also, we are now looking international multi brand stores as well

What’s the story behind your brand name “Teena”?

The concept of Teena revolves around hiring fresh and aspiring fashion designers, training them and giving them a platform from where they can launch their own brand in the future. Our work at Teena’s is a fusion of different design sensibilities and creative aesthetics with a strong focus on the business side of fashion.

What’s the price range of your tag? Is it affordable to niche class only?

Well, we have different ranges with different price tags targeting a broad sphere of clientele.

What’s been the most defining point of your career?

I think it was this PFDC when I showcased my “Rukn-e-Alam: Pillars of the World” collection. I think my biggest achievement was when I saw my critics became my fans.

Which has been your personal favorite collection?

I love all my creations but my recent favorite is my PSFW 2014 Collection titled “Rukn-e-Alam: Pillars of the World”.

What are you most comfortable designing? How daring you are when it comes to designing?

I like designing both pret and bridal wear. I think pret is something that challenges your creativity and the biggest challenge in bridal is infusing your creativity with what your client requires.

How do you face criticism when you are at receiving end?

I strongly believe that the only productive thing you can do with criticism is take it positively. You don’t necessarily have to agree with your critics but it’s ideal if you can improve yourself via criticism.

You have studied business and you are designer plus politician, a very rare combination. Comment!

Yes, it is very a very rare combination. I wanted to study business, make a career as an entrepreneur, was interested in fashion and also wanted to do something for the people of my country. So you could say I did all the things I wanted to do in life and I feel blessed to be in this position.

How you have reacted to success at this very young age?

Truly humbled by it. I have never let these blessings chance the person that my parents have raised me to become. I feel more responsible and more confident with every step up.

It is said that designing is God-gifted quality. How much your education has helped you? How do you see Pakistani Fashion Industry? Has it become stagnant in recent times or do you see it flourishing?

It is true that like any other art form fashion is not something you can teach people in a class room. My education being in business management did help me regarding the business side of it but the creative side was something I learnt and was interested from my teens.

In past few years emergence of so many ready to wear brands shows that our industry is moving towards a better future every year. This new competition is good for clients as they get more choice and can compare the work of different designers. Moreover, I feel that the Pakistan Fashion industry has grown leaps and bounds in the last decade or so and has a wider acceptance and recognition in the international arena as well. A testament to this is the growing number of fashion and bridal shows that are taking       place each year and the fact that a lot of our designers are participating in international fashion weeks as well, hence I have even higher hopes from our industry in the years to come.

How has been the response internationally?

Majority of my clients are based in Pakistan but I have been few orders from fans based in UK and USA. It’s very encouraging and I hope I will develop more clientele abroad also.

Fashion shows have become very popular in recent times. However, along with applause, there comes criticism too. Many think that it has resulted in monopoly of few on Pakistani Fashion Industry. What is your take on this?

I would partially disagree with the statement. Yes, favoritism is in every field, everywhere but if you work and produce something unique everybody will praise it, friends or no friends. I like to keep things simple when it comes to my work.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?

I see my work becoming more refined with each year. After 10 years, I would like to see myself amongst the top 5 fashion brands of my country.

For which celebrity you would really like to design a dress?

In Hollywood: Jenifer Garner, Bollywood: Aishwarya Rai, Lollywood: Reema Khan

Any fashion faux pas that you have done so far?

Quite a few in my university days but you learn by your mistakes.

 


 

Rapid Fire

Hina Butt in one line?

Dreamer!

Your day starts with?

Prayers and a cup of coffee

Latest purchase?

I Phone 5S

Your Muse?

Fatima Kasuri

The things which inspires you?

Personalities and behaviors

The best thing that ever happened to you?

I would say one of the best things was my MBA Gold Medal from LUMS

A good mood changer?

Good Music

What puts you off?

Attitude issues

Favorite fragrance?

Versace Bright Crystal

Favorite color?

Red

One dream that lays unfulfilled?

Showcasing my work at Paris Fashion Week hopefully.

Biggest regret so far?

I have no regrets in life.

Musts for Bridal wears?

Bridal outfit should truly reflect a bride’s personality

Don’ts for a bride?

Trying to be someone else. A bride should always wear what is a mirror of her own personality.

Musts for summer wardrobe?

White T Shirt, Breathable cotton trousers

Don’ts in summer?

Wearing bright colors, body hugging clothes.

Biggest competitor in the industry?

Myself, I compete to improve myself every day.

Your favorite fashion brands?

Zara, CK, Mango and Esacada