Though new on block yet recognised for prêt, Umaima Mustafa is the new fashion genius who is expected to conquer the industry soon. The talented rising star is the daughter of veteran fashion designer Faranaz Mustafa. Umaima studied law but her innate penchant for fashion designing could not stop her from following her passion and dream.

Designing clothes for her own self as a hobby, Umaima received a very forthcoming response from her family and friends. The encouraged designer showcased her debut collection at the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) Expo Fashion Show 2013. This was an eye-catching presentation that exhibited her real flair.

Never compromising on quality, the designer has a style which is distinctive yet understated, elegant yet chic. She experiments with subtle beadwork, tasteful gold hardware and stylish embroidery on a variety of western and fusion wear. Inheriting the passion for designing from her mother, Umiama has maintained her individuality by launching her label which is unconventional and does not solely rely on eastern style.

Recently she launched her standalone retail outlet in Karachi where you can find western wear, inspired prêt-à-porter and formal wear. The store has a limited production cycle to ensure exclusivity of the designs. Catering to a wide audience, Umaima’s clothing line is appropriate for anyone between the ages of 16 and 45. Splus arranged an interview with the designer to give its reader a sneak peep into her life and design philosophy. Take a look:

Q: Tell us how your journey begins as a fashion designer? Did you always wanted to be a designer?

I have always designed my own clothes. When I was back from United States, my mother started her own boutique. I worked with her before starting my LLB and when I completed it I started my own brand eventually.

Q: What's your inspiration behind the designs you create?

I think the world around you always seeps into your work; inspiration for me comes from anything and everything which environment offers me.

Q: Tell us about your designing process. Does it begin with an idea or a sketch?

Once I have an idea I usually quick to pencil it out, even if I don’t have time to sketch I make sure to write down everything .The idea eventually evolves into a first sketch, I keep tweaking it till the last minute, but sketching is an important part of my design process, it doesn't usually look great but helps me refine an idea further.

Q: What is the fashion philosophy behind your label?

Beautifully tailored and impeccable quality, which shall be appropriate for any age group, and last but not the least something that should be flattering to the female silhouette.

Q: How are your designs different from other designers? What does the ‘Umaima Mustafa’ signature represents?

When I am making something I constantly make sure it's something I would wear, that is what makes me different and that is why I am confident in each and every piece I have ever put out.

Q: What's your style statement for an elegant girl?

Fashion repeats itself, and everything makes a comeback. For me it has always been classic with a little edge depending on current trends. In short, I would describe it as elegant and simple. Balmain’s quote; "Keep to the basic principles of fashion and you will always be in harmony with the latest trends without falling prey to them."  Resonates how I like to dress myself.

Q: What's the future of fashion retail in Pakistan?

The fashion industry as a whole is soaring and the future looks brighter than ever. Retail was bound to be the next phase, the market has adapted and consumers are responding.

Q: What hurdles does a designer have to face in the fashion industry?

I am new to the fashion fraternity, so it’s a bit soon for me to say there aren't any, but as far as I am concerned it’s been smoothing sailing thus far.

Q: How do you deal with criticism when you find yourself at the receiving end?

Constrictive criticism is the key to growth, not just as a fashion designer but also as a human being. I try to take it in stride and learn from my mistakes. If you begin each task thinking that nothing will go wrong, you're fooling yourself. You will make mistakes. The important thing is to learn from them.

Q: Define Pret...

Ready-to-Wear clothing intended to be worn without significant alteration, because clothing made to standard sizes fits most people.

Q: What is the price range of your outfits?

Pret starts from 3500 and goes up to 30,000. Couture is by appointment and on order, made to each customer’s requirements so the prices vary.

Q: Your latest collection....

My debut collection is minimalistic and I have played with mostly black/gold and beige but there's definitely a fun side to it. One of my favourite outfits is a patchwork jacket with a jumpsuit, it took me weeks to handpick every little piece, the process was frustrating at times but it truly gave me a sense of why I love designing clothes. The collection is fun and edgy yet elegant. I like the idea of layers and putting pieces together that create an entire outfit; versatility is something that is important to so many people today.

Q: How do you see year 2014 for fashion industry? What trends will stay this year and which will be out?

There are some trends you might want to hold onto from 2013 if you are doing your annual wardrobe clean-out,

Plaids: As the New Year rolls around all forms of checks and plaids are keepers: hang onto them and wear them well.

Metallic: The shinier the better, so keep a hold of all your gold.

Grunge: 2013 was, in many aspects, reminiscing on the ’90s. The love of grunge is one element that will carry on across the New Year: attitude and all.

Florals: This one almost goes without saying, since florals are one of the most perennial prints going, your summer or winter florals can be carried effortlessly into 2014.

Digital prints are here to stay and we can expect to see them in all kinds of silhouettes, expect the designs to get bolder and patterns to get louder with the right amount of structure and sophistication. Revisiting the 60's: There has been a subtle move towards the 60's structured shift dresses and seamless mid length coats, expect to see a twist on the 60's classic looks with all its minimalistic glory

Sheer layered dresses, expect to see lots of flowy chiffons and organza. Golds/ copper/metallics, and animal prints. Embellished sweatshirts, 1950’s drop waist flare dresses and boyfriend jeans, to name a few.

Q: Who designed your store?

Tania Jatoi, sweetest person ever and she has impeccable taste.

Q: What is one thing that you don't want to use in your designs?

I don’t ever want to compromise on quality.

Q: As a fashion designer are you comfortable buying clothes of other designers?

Of course I am, there are so many amazing designers out there each with their own area of expertise and it is so wonderful to be able to go out and buy everything from the latest western trends to couture and traditional outfits.

Q: Who has been your biggest support?

My family

Q: Most difficult but necessary skill to acquire before you embarks on a fashion career?

Thicker skin :)

 

Q: What projects are in your pipeline?

Currently I am focusing on my upcoming collections. For me, preserving a level of quality and having the time to indulge in a healthy creative process is very important.

Things to know about Umaima Mustafa

  • Style Statement:

For me it has always been classic with a little edge depending on current trends

  • Who is your favourite designer (Local and International)?

There isn't one particular designer I would say is my favourite. Having said that, I do love Balmain for their amazingly structured and timeless jackets. Eli Saab, Valentino, Zuhair Murad for their breathtaking dresses. Neil Lane's jewelry and I could go on and on and on.

Local: Depends on what I am looking for, I wear a lot of my mothers creations and I love them.

  • You bust your stress by

             Solitude

  • Your first fashion creation…

A patchwork jacket in bronze ivory black and gold

  • Oldest items in your closet…

That’s a tough one...I am a vintage junkie. Have closets full of my mothers 80's outfits I refuse to part with but I don't hoard for the say of it, I wear almost all of my vintage finds.

  • favourite gadget

Not big on gadgets. My phone is as tech savvy as it gets for me

  • Your favourite colour

        Tea pink

  • Your guilty pleasure....

          Anything with carbs.

  • The best thing that has happened to you...

         Becoming a designer

  • Your favourite fragrance...

              Narciso Rodriguez

  • Your star

                Gemini

  • Whose sense of style do you like?

Naming an individual as a style icon is simply unfair, we have witnessed how style has evolved and adjusted to what the time requires. Grace Garbo, Rita Hayworth's , Audrey Hepburn Grace Kelly ….My personal style icon is any and all of these women and many more. Fashion changes but personal style that stand the test of time should be celebrated and embraced in all forms.