LAHORE: Fashion designer Natasha Kamal known for her artistic creations has established a design philosophy centered on creating women's wear that gives contemporary appeal to timeless classics. She has the ability to understand and highlight the glamour hidden in every woman. Her style and designs are truly unique which make her label stands apart from all other labels. In an exclusive interview with The Nation she talks about her career in fashion industry. Following are excerpts of the interview:

Natasha Kamal is a renowned name in fashion industry. You have been working for a long time. How has been the experience?

It has been a very enriching experience to say the least from working with our local artisans, to backstage madness at fashion week, to dealing with clients and releasing collections. I have learned that it can be perceived as a glamorous career but that can be far from reality. If there is anything that I have learnt- it is that fashion can be very stressful! But I love it! 

Tell us about your first stint as a fashion designer. How easy/tough was it to get into this professionally?

 The business of fashion is a difficult one! It is one thing to be able to create a product and another to actually make your product commercially viable. To this effect my degree has helped in developing NK both as a brand and a business. Regarding the design process, I find comfort in knowing that you don’t always need formal training in design. I had already developed a strong sense of proportion and style from my exposure and surroundings. However, I am still developing the nuances involved from conception to execution on the job.

How would you describe your design philosophy?

Since its founding in 2014, NK has established a design philosophy centered on creating directional women's wear that gives contemporary appeal to time-treasured classics. With an uncompromising commitment to delivering innovative products, exceptional design, quality and value are at the heart of every decision we make.

Recently you participated in FPW tell us something about the collection you made for it.

The collection I showcased was called Luxxotica! - Laidback luxe infused with an exotic tropical flare!  The collections easy elegance captures a look that is at once polished and endlessly chic. The collection features shapely fit and flared trousers to fluid pieces in soft earthy tones perfect for the summer. 

When you start working on a project, how do you decide the design and the colours?

Once you start building the piece, it’s all about refining, refining and refining! From inspiration trips to draping, to sampling techniques and patterns to fit the silhouette- the whole process evolves while trying capture the feeling you have envisioned.  The first draft is never your last draft. On closer inspection, rainforest inspired patterns created using our signature appliqué, intricate beadwork, embroidery and cutwork detailing adds both textural interest and creates powerful imagery. The overall effect is a modern interpretation of retro inspirations, and couldn’t feel fresher in the heat of the summer sun.

What does Natasha Kamal signature represents?

Considering we are still a very young brand, we are still defining our brand identity. However, from the very beginning we had a clear vision. We wanted to make products that have timeless appeal; so the fabrics had to be luxurious and pure, the finishing impeccable, the silhouettes elegant and styling classic but with a modern, youthful spirit. This defines our house code, which is at the heart of every decision we make.

How do you see year 2016 for fashion industry? What trends will stay this year and which will be out?

 I think 2016 will bring about a lot of change for the industry globally. Due to disposable fashion and social media fashion runways are no longer what they used to be. It will be interesting to see whether the fashion industry can get behind a see now/buy now business model.  

Trending now is ‘laidback luxe’- a combination of luxurious textures and casual chic styling. It can be seen in athleisure, loungewear, loose-fit silhouettes, flat shoes and resort inspired styling. This is paired with botanical patterns globally.  The one trend I am glad to see subside are big ball gown skirts.

You deal with bridal, prêt which line you enjoy making most and how would you describe word ‘Couture’?

Speaking from a purely creative aspect, I enjoy the process of building a piece of fashion - an iterative evolutionary process that brings my idea to life, whether it is pret or couture. Couture by definition means custom-made; therefore it can be a little more challenging as you have to cater to a particular persons body type, requirements and personal taste.  It is a much more time consuming job, which requires attention to detail.

There is so much competition in the market, in this situation how one can manage to stay in business?

It has become a hyper-competitive industry. Even though I feel that the competition is intense, I believe it breeds innovation. It’s all about creating a ‘niche’ for yourself and knowing your target audience.

Do you have any new collection in the pipeline that Natasha Kamal fans should be looking forward to?

For the first time, along with our luxe Pret-a-porter, we are introducing what we define as ‘luxury day wear”. Fine fabrications in palette cleansing hues and universally flattering silhouettes are combined to create luxurious iconic essentials that blur the lines between casual and formal wear.  The whole idea is to create a casual chic image which transitions from morning to evening, for the woman on the go!