Adnan Pardesy has been deemed one of the most talented young couturiers in Pakistan, and also one of the laziest. It has taken him seven years and several successful fashion week showings to emerge from his old showroom on Queen’s Road to mainstream fashion territory. Pardesy opened his new studio in Clifton last week, finally making himself accessible to walk-in clients and fashion lovers. He still hasn’t opened with ready to wear in stock but he does confess to be experimenting with a luxury prêt Eid collection to test the prêt-a-porter waters. In this day and age when ready to wear is becoming the command of the day, the designer talks to Instep about his commitment to detailing and couture…
You have got to be one of the most talented couturiers and craftsmen in the country and yet also one of the most inaccessible. How will this studio change that?
Adnan Pardesy: We are more accessible now. To be very honest I have been working at my workshop all these years and that arrangement worked fine for me till now. But we wanted to change the scale of our business and expand so we opened at the centre of the city and we are more focused towards doing more business. That said my workshop is still at Queen’s Road.
With so many studios and retail outlets on the market, how will yours set itself apart?
AP: My niche has become detailed clothing like the gota collection or the black and white (Labyrinth) collection. Women have worn a lot of those to day-time weddings and nikkahs. My designs are for women who want edgy and contemporary clothing but are also finicky about details. My couture is still my prime focus; that’s what my clients come to me for.
What do you think creates a brand’s desirability today?
AP: It’s a combination of everything. Fashion weeks create the right awareness. The red carpet provides the right image and I feel buyers are the new set of celebrity. So there are celebrities who wear your styles but then buyers are important too. Visibility. That’s how people gauge desirability of a brand. At the end of the day you miss a season and you miss out.
We’ve been very active at fashion weeks. I did both fashion weeks last year and only sat this season out because of the studio and the work load. I am a control freak and like to do things my way but I enjoy doing shows.
One remembers in a very early interview you said that you wanted to be a designer just to be famous. Does that still hold true?
AP: I only want to be famous for the right reasons now. (laughs) I have matured; I want to improve on the craft and my personal approach towards fashion. I enjoy it; I’m loving the fabric manipulation and the embroidery. The product is looking better. Creating the signature is the most important thing.
Why did Working Woman, your collaboration with Bareeze, not work out?
AP: In the end, we had different visions of how we wanted to take Working Woman. With me in the picture the brand was all about me but it needed to be independent. I still have a good relationship with them but we felt it was better to not work together. But that seems such a long time ago, almost two years!
Let me take you even further back; as an AIFD alumnus why do you feel your college has never managed to acquire the same status as PIFD?
AP: I have always been very vocal about my issues with AIFD, which is a private enterprise and is more interested in making money than anything else. PIFD is a government organization and is well funded; they want to produce talent and not just run a business. These two schools have not been able to compete and that makes me sad as AIFD is my school. But at the end it all boils down to money and finances.
Speaking of business, you’ve stayed in the picture via fashion weeks but there has seldom been any ready to wear available. Do you plan to change that?
AP: Eventually what people don’t realize is the production that goes into ready to wear. The way I want to do my prêt is not simple. It has to be luxury prêt and I have to retain my signature. I’m not into the price wars. That said I am working on my first prêt line for Eid. This will be something free-sized and flexible. It will be a limited edition, luxury prêt collection and we’ll test the waters with it.