After one failed attempt at having a tete-a-tete with Pakistani ladies’ favourite lawn duo due to the city’s recent security situation, The Express Tribune finally succeeded in touching base with Sana Safinaz — four time winners of the Lux Style Awards in the lawn category.
Safinaz Muneer welcomed us into SanaSafinaz’s revamped Bridal Lounge at Jason VIP Apartments in Clifton to talk about their latest enterprise. The spacious lounge is done up with stately furniture in muted colours; in various rooms, their collection of mostly dark red and maroon — with some lighter mint and Kashmiri tea pink — ghararas and flowy bridal dupattas are displayed on mannequins and racks. As our photographer adjusted her lens, a helper from the SanaSafinaz team adjusted the painchas of the beautifully worked farshis that could momentarily take one’s breath away.
Dressed in a fresh blue cotton kurta with casual white pants and Tory Burch flip flops, Safinaz was busy with brides-to-be and some prospective mothers-in-law before we had a chance to catch up. She explains that the duo’s move to expand their bridal collection was overdue. “We believe the bridal experience is one to cherish and it should be made as pleasant as possible,” she says. With dozens of heavily worked bridal outfits available for eager young women to look at, the lounge’s large collection presents a bevy of options. “A 21st century bride wants to know what she is wearing. It’s an old and an archaic expression that she is ‘not interested’,” explains Safinaz. “When a mother-in-law comes to place an order, the bride-to-be wants to know all about it and is 100 percent interested.”
While most brides complain that designers take too long to get their outfits ready, or that they have no idea what the final piece will look like — a reality that give brides nightmares — Safinaz understands that the bridal outfit is “something you should love to wear”. “For our brides, each one is special. Here, they can place an order but they have to wait for three month time period!”
But if the jora is being displayed at the boutique for everyone to see, is there an element of surprise? Will everyone know what the bride will be wearing before her wedding day?
“The girl and her mother-in-law know [what the outfit looks like],” Safinaz explains. But if someone from the baradari [extended family] turns up and asks what the bride is wearing, we never, ever tell them details or price. It’s something very personal and that’s our policy.”
After being on every lawn enthusiast’s must-have list, these ambitious businesswomen have yet another shift in their business module. SanaSafinaz will soon be launching four retail stores across the country, with two in Karachi and one each in Lahore and Islamabad.
“In every household across the country, there is at least one working woman in the family,” says Safinaz, explaining the philosophy behind the designer duo’s upcoming endeavour. “We are now catering to that growing demand of ready-to-wear products for that woman.”
The retail shops will cater to clients who can spend between Rs3,000 to Rs20,000 for office-wear and evening-wear in stitched and unstitched fabric. Shoes and chappals will also be stocked at these stores.
According to Safinaz, the key to success is innovation. She says that her and Sana Hashwani have always been ambitious girls with a strong business sense. “Success begets success!” Safinaz exclaims. There is no doubting the ambition and success of these constantly innovative women who stand out as possibly the first designer-entrepreneurs of the country. More power to them!
Published in The Express Tribune, September 27th, 2012.