A high street brand with a distinct identity and a unique ethos, Afsaneh opened its doors to fashion enthusiasts in Lahore and Multan this week. The mega launch in Lahore, which we attended, attracted hundreds of women, many of who were decked in the brand’s first and already very popular first collection. Strands of motia hung from the ceiling and rose petals floated in small water bodies, all adding to the ethnic aesthetic of the store which, as you can imagine, smelt heavenly.
The three-storey store is vast and quite engaging, with menswear and unstitched fabric in the basement, and ready to wear on the first and second floors. Interestingly, many women were seen buying the organic, soft toned menswear kurtas; Khadijah Shah was even seen wearing one.
How are Khadijah Shah and Rehan Bashir involved in Afsaneh, is the question most people had on their minds. Khadijah, we all know, is the force behind Élan, which begins with those magnificent bridals and covers luxury pret as well as ready to wear as Élan Vital, Essentials, Indigene and accessories. There’s also Élan unstitched, which is that coveted lawn, and now most recently, ZAHA, Khadijah’s recently launched high street brand.
We know Rehan Bashir as someone who has a deep rooted love for tradition; he’s a man with refined aesthetics and a love for history. Rehan joined Élan earlier this year as senior design head and since Élan is also creative consultant for Afsaneh, we have Rehan overlooking that as well.
Khadijah has envisioned/conceptualised Afsaneh as the creative consultant for textile giant Hussain Mills and actively guides design and marketing, with Rehan overseeing womenswear. However both Khadijah and the textile giant wish to stay in the background and let the brand do the talking. We attended the launch, saw the style, wore the clothes and loved the language they spoke.
Afsaneh’s debut collection, Sahib-e-Jamal is inspired by miniature style embroidery and motifs with elaborate florals and a pop of colours. The ready to wear comprises traditional silhouettes like angarkhas, kalidaars, chooridaars, ghararas and even crushed shararas. The colour palette ranges from deep rich tones to mostly lighter colours with minimal print, that surely is a breather compared to the lot we spot in stores.
We hope, that with the launch of its first flagship store in Lahore followed by Multan, Afsaneh is able to stand out as a strong pret label, which the masses can love and appreciate as much as do. We also hope it’s able to sustain its exclusivity in design and quality of fabric while also breaking away from the clutter we see in the name of ready to wear these days. We love the idea of working tradition into high street clothing; it’s what sets us apart in the world.