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24 Apr

135 years of handbag history

Staying relevant in a competitive market for more than 2 years is quite an accomplishment by itself. But when your family has been successfully running a business for nearly 135 years, that is something worth writing about . The Jafferjee family has been dealing with leather as early as 1880, and that was the inspiration for their latest collection at Fashion Pakistan Week, 2016, where the collection was based on discovering our roots and how it all began.



 

 

Everyone wonders what Pakistani fashion was like back in the early days, specially since we haven’t done a very good job of archiving all that precious data that is now mostly lost. However, Murtaza Ali, Director at Jafferjees, was luckily able to paint a vivid picture of how things were back then. “Our own records of fashion in the 70s and 80s helped us remember how handbags have evolved in these last 30, 40 years.” Samples of leather at the time were used to ascertain what kind of handbags were produced back then. “The focus was mostly on male-oriented products,” such as travel suitcases, but the focus on female handbags came from 1985 onwards. “We even went through the Encyclopedia of handbags (somebody get us one of those as well!) to learn more about the history and styles, as Pakistan was following similar trends.”

 

Jafferjees

 

What emerged then is a timeless, sophisticated collection. “Everything was very simple back then. So there were simple cuts and designs. Nothing flashy.” There wasn’t any embroidery or stone work back then, something that is very important to the handbag phenomena today. Was it difficult to make these vintage bags? Ali claims that this collection was easy to produce.”It’s easier to create those simple box like structures. Bags today have so much intricate detailing that those are actually more difficult to produce.” Also, Ali adds that they wanted the collection to reflect the ethos of their brand, therefore they used a classic colour palette, using royal maroons and blacks.

 

 

Jafferjees

 

 

While the collection was beautiful to look at, we wonder if the collection is available for retail. “Some of the pieces are not practical anymore.” For example, the travel suitcases used nowadays are smaller in size because of the space limitations in overhead lockers on airplanes, whereas before, most travelling was done via trains etc. But the good news is that some of the handbags might be available later!

 

– Photography by Tapu Javeri, Wardrobe for the collection by Wardha Saleem, Styling by Nubain Ali.

Manal Faheem Khan

The author is Contributing Editor at Something Haute who has studied film and journalism from SZABIST. Will be found at the gym if not in the office.