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Taking fashion one step at a time

Mahgul’s ‘Vivante’ collection at PLBW 2015 received rave reviews for showcasing an eclectic mix of designs. PHOTOS: PUBLICITY

Mahgul’s ‘Vivante’ collection at PLBW 2015 received rave reviews for showcasing an eclectic mix of designs. PHOTOS: PUBLICITY


With a string of debut designers now in their ascent towards glory, there’s no gainsaying that the fashion industry is on the right track. Mahgul Rashid is bent on traversing the road less travelled with designs that are both unique and individualistic. Having showcased her latest collection in the ‘Rising Talent’ section at PLBW 2015, the designer recently launched her studio in Lahore. The Express Tribune joins her for a tête-à-tête where Mahgul shares her design ethos and future projects.

Her PLBW collection was widely praised for comprising the right mix of character and quirk. “I try to focus on one thing and then build on it like I did for my PSFW collection through photos of sunsets,” she says. Picking numerous pictures depicting sunsets, she drew her colour palette from there. “It’s quite a tedious process but it’s satisfying when I see my karigars get more excited about their work because they’re more talented than me,” she adds. Mahgul shares she has already started working on her line for PLBW 2016.

With most designers looking into retail stores, Mahgul’s relatively new brand opted for a design studio instead. Speaking about this, Mahgul’s co-partner and husband Amir Rashid states, “We chose to launch a studio because we aren’t offering prêt designs on a large scale yet, so it doesn’t make sense until we’re aiming at targeting the mass market.” He adds that prêt has taken a backseat for the brand as it’s both time-consuming and costly. “Being a niche brand at the moment with our primary focus on creation, we want to venture into prêt slowly and gradually.”

PLBW 2015: Making a vow to wow the audience

Previously, Mahgul has used picture archives in her offerings along with photo impositions on tops and photographic prints on denim. Stocking her designs at the Pakistan Fashion Design Council, Ensemble and Fashion Pakistan Lounge, Mahgul is also available at her studio by appointment. Currently, she’s gearing up to exhibit her collection from October 31 to November 1 at the Asian Bride Live in London.

Mahgul Rashid

On what inspires the designer, she shares, “I draw inspiration from the background of an artist and not that of a designer.” In fact, Mahgul shares she first refers to herself as an ‘artist’ and then as a designer because she has mainly studied art history and sculpture. “I always wanted to be a fashion designer and following my dream, I ended up at Central Saint Martins in the UK,” she adds. “I was put off by the idea that everyone around me wanted to pursue fashion designing, so I decided to take diverse courses that entailed mainly sculpture and pattern cutting.”

After stepping out of university, Mahgul was still exploring her options and soon enrolled in Beaconhouse National University to study art history. Following this, Mahgul worked with celebrated artist Rashid Rana for a while, hosting art exhibitions with him while simultaneously working at her grandmother Nasreen Sheikh’s design house. After having gained sufficient experience, she launched her own eponymous label. Of what the designer-duo aims to do next on the professional front, Mahgul and Amir shared that they wish to “change the way Pakistanis dress but by taking it one step at a time.”

All hands on the fashion deck

Mahgul says that in an effort to be different, she is at constant war with herself. “It’s tough designing clothes because I want to strike a balance between beautiful and different rather than bizarre and different,” she mentions. A struggle that Mahgul encountered when she kicked off her business was the process of hiring karigars and communicating her vision to them. “The struggle is when it’s in your mind and you have to break it down and then explain to someone else,” shares Mahgul. For this reason, she now has a system in place to get experimental work done on a smaller scale prior to creating outfits.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 21st, 2015.

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