Designer Sania Maskatiya ventured out onto the prestigious runways of New York Fashion Week (NYFW) on September 10 and this is hardly breaking news.
Anyone with even the slightest interest in social media and a penchant for local fashion is now aware of this particular NYFW show and the very savvy collection that she put forward: the kaleidoscopic prints, the relaxed silhouettes, the slight accentuation of the waistline and the laid-back glamour that is quintessentially Sania.
A far cry from the traditional festive designs and wedding wear that form a major part of her brand, this was the modern, on-trend aesthetic that forms the basis of Sania’s contemporary luxury line Sania Studio. This particular branch of the Sania Maskatiya brand has had its own niche market for some time now and mainstream media witnessed a Sania Studio collection at the PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week (PSFW) last year.
For NYFW, the designer created an all-new capsule line that was incorporated into the collective showcase for emerging designers, orchestrated by the Council of Aspiring American Fashion Designers (CAAFD).
And unlike all the many, many designers – you know who you are – who have in the past professed to be showing at some major international fashion week while they are, in fact, paying obscene sums to participate in a show scheduled around the same time in the same city as the fashion week, Sania’s NYFW tryst really is the real deal.
It’s certainly an achievement and a proud moment for the young designer which makes one curious: why did she keep her upcoming show such a secret, floating the news out to media merely two days before the showcase?
“This show was a big deal for me but I just didn’t want to talk about it until it actually happened,” says Sania, talking to Images all the way from New York. “It’s the reason why I didn’t take part in this year’s PFDC L’Oreal Paris Bridal Week (PLBW) that ended last week. I was focusing on this collection while simultaneously busy with a wedding in my family.”
According to Sania, the NYFW show simply ‘just happened’. “I have been stocking the Sania Studio line at London’s Wolf & Badger, which is a multilabel store. I suppose that the CAAFD saw my work there and sent me an email, asking me if I wanted to be part of the show. Umair Tabani, my brother and the CEO of my brand, and I communicated back and forth with them. It was quite an extensive process. As in the case of local fashion weeks, I was required to pay a participation fee for being part of the collective show but it was extremely subsidised and cost me about as much as what I pay for my shows with the Pakistan Fashion Design Council (PFDC) in Lahore.”
“They were very particular about the designs that I would show. I sent in samples so that they could make sure that the finishing was at par with their standards and in July this year, I asked them if they wanted me to follow a particular aesthetic. They told me to showcase whatever I felt would be appropriate for the runway. I just designed what I wanted to, staying true to the modern lines of Sania Studio, mixing plain fabrics with print and incorporating minimal textured embroideries.”
“It was an amazing experience,” enthuses Sania. Does this mean that Sania will be extending her business to New York soon, perhaps stock at a multi-label there? “Of course, I’d like to extend my business to New York should the opportunity arise. Let’s see if that happens,” she says. “Regardless, this show has helped my brand grow and give it exposure. Showing at a platform like this is an eye-opener. There is a different international aesthetic and just seeing the people and the street-style here is a learning experience. It’s good for a start!”