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Aliya and Mahvish in Nida’s new collection, replete with the octopus on the daaman!

It’s the time of the year when fashion designers go berserk with work. It’s Ramzan, the holy month that also equates to happy buyers and Eid shopping; business sees an unprecedented spike especially where fashion is concerned. I once had a neighbour who believed it was auspicious to wear a new outfit every time she fasted and hence she shopped her way through Ramzan. All I can say is, bless her!

I personally am not a Ramzan or Eid shopper as designers tend to go down the monotonous and overtly traditional route. But I have been pleasantly surprised by the change in Eid clothing this year.  I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: any label that pushes for original thinking and individuality amongst women has to be appreciated.

More marine life, this time in unconventional shades of yellow and brown

I feel that Nida Azwer is one designer who’s strengths are undervalued. She often takes the safe path into design but she has also introduced certain quirks into traditional clothing that must be appreciated. Her bridal collection shown at the PFDC L’Oreal Paris Bridal Week in Lahore was very impressive. Nida says she hasn’t confirmed participation in this year’s show (Oct 3-6 in Lahore) but is looking into it.

This time she’s brought sea-life, that too in the shape of octopuses, seas-horses etc, to an Eid collection and there’s something to be said for innovation and out-of-the-box thinking.  From what I understood after chatting with her, she designed several capsule collections for Ramzan and Eid and brought them out together, giving her clients a huge choice. There’s safety in long lengths, she insists, but she has given in and taken tunics up by a good six inches to begin with. I feel that’s a solid start to change…

You’ve been taking risks with quirky themes. Do you think the average buyer’s psyche has changed?

I was apprehensive at first but surprisingly women have been loving the change. I thought only a younger age group would like the marine collection but older women have surprised me too. My first batch of stock sold out the first day and I had to pull out stocks kept aside for the rest of the month. But you have to remember that only one segment of the collection was marine, the rest was traditional with kalami embroidery, applique and various other techniques.

What do you think women like best about your clothes?

They enjoy the price points and the range, which is always huge. The pret room in my studio is always fully stocked with casual to formal clothing and the prices are often less than 15,000 for a two-piece outfit. I’m also stocking at Ensemble, Ensemble One as well as Labels so my clothes are widely available in Lahore as well as Karachi.

Do you see a change in what women buy in Ramzan and for Eid?

I’m pleasantly surprised that women have been very comfortable with the diversity in choice. They go for sleeveless tunics as well as formal outfits. The one thing I’ve noticed is that fewer of them want dupattas with their outfits so we don’t include them in the ensemble anymore.  But everything over Rs 9000 is a two piece.

What is the average price point for a Nida Azwer outfit?

98 percent of ready to wear I make is priced under Rs. 16,000. My studio store has all sorts of clothes, ranging from casual tops for Rs 4000 to very heavy formal evening wear for Rs 30,000. Everything at Ensemble One is between Rs 4000 to Rs 9000. I think women looking for quality love the choices we have to offer.

Flashback to PLBW: many critics believed Nida Azwer’s quirky bridal collection (not very clear here) to be the best at fashion week. I do hope she decides to show again as she’s better suited at bridal week than pret week.

More from the world of fashion over the next few days as Nomi Ansari launches his kid’s line, Body Focus comes to Ensemble and Maheen Khan opens at Dolmen Mall while putting out an exclusive Maheen line for Eid. Also, Debenhams launches officially…there’s so much to do!

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