Before I begin to tell you about my afternoon overlooking (and absorbing) most of the merchandise going into the Sana Safinaz high street stores as it was being photographed for the campaign, I want to give closure to the entire ‘plagiarism’ issue. I concede that to find an iconic name such as SS to have been so inspired (to the point of copying) a panel used on the Zara trouser is disappointing. We do hold them as examples of excellence and do not expect to find any flaws with any of their brands. That said, my entire debate of the high end to high street diffusion of trends stands as long as trends are inspired and reinvented, not reproduced.
What I admire about the brand and it’s strengths, that surely outnumber the two motifs that appeared copied, is the fact that it is finally burgeoning to the level that it deserves to be produced, accessed and afforded at. If I was a fan of the SS brand before, then I am twice the fan now that I have seen what they have been designing, planning and manufacturing for this past one year. I got a sneak peek and here are bits and pieces for your consumption…
There were several lines of clothing, from the most affordable (starting from 1500 rupees a tunic) smart office/working wear to the most pricey being – if I’m not wrong – the fully embroidered and slightly embellished formal, auntie line (which I like to call the milad line). There is a range of chikankari kurtas falling at a range of 15,000 and they were to die for. Somewhere in between, there is a line of ready to wear lawn, with prints designed exclusively for the brand. I rummaged through them and I kid you not when I say they are a steal! There is a silk line of yummy tops, kaftans and dresses that ooze luxury. My favourite range, however, was the silk line of eclectic tunics, each bearing the Sana Safinaz trademark with a very clear Ather Hafeez accent. Very, very irresistible.
Throw in an abundant range of scarves, chappals, sandals and costume jewellery along with bags, totes and clutches (most designed and made in-house while some are sourced) and you have a store where you will be spending a lot of time in. There are even things as small as funky bag tags for teenage girls to buy and decorate their quilted cross body purses with.
Two people, no matter how good they are, cannot manage a production like this alone and I loved the fact that Sana was more than eager to push her design team to the forefront, giving them credit for “all being super stars” and making things happen. So, Ather Hafeez heads the design team that stars PIFD graduate Maria Gilani who is Sana’s super-star designer, Arwa Kakal a fashion graduate (AIFD), Zaib Umer (also AIFD), who has worked at Shamaeel’s, Maha Naeem who’s a graduate of the textile institute (TIP) and Sani Moten (AIFD) who, according to Sana, is the “super multi talented” whiz kid. The team, of course, wouldn’t be complete without fashion model Neha (who shyly said she was a “Sana Safinaz girl) and the fabulous Guddu Shani team, that has been an integral part of the brand.
The million dollar question, you may want to ask, is when are these stores opening? And I don’t have a concrete answer to that though I can say it’ll be sometime in May.