“Fashion is a funny animal. You never know what’s going to happen. What we do know is that we need to leave our egos at home.”
Sanam Chaudhri, a young talented designer from the fashion industry – someone who also has discipline and a head for business – is Fashion Pakistan Council’s newly elected Chairperson. Wardha Saleem, another one on the frontline of today’s trailblazers, is the CEO and Maheen Karim completes this trio as Spokesperson. They replace Shamaeel, Maheen Khan and Deepak Perwani respectively.
Obviously, I had to call Sanam as soon as I found out…
Me: Did you know what you were signing up for? That’s quite an uphill task you have on your hands…
Sanam: “To be honest, I’m very excited. I’m quite tired of all the negativity and am quite excited and looking forward to it. The young lot is onboard and there’s a lot of energy.”
Me: Did you volunteer for this position?
Sanam: I did not. I was elected as a board member and to appoint me Chairperson was a unanimous decision amongst the board members.
Me: Who is on the board now?
Sanam: There’s myself, Wardha Saleem (CEO), Maheen Karim (Spokesperson), Sania Maskatiya, Mahin Hussein, Obaid Sheikh and Nauman Arfeen.
Me: Obaid Sheikh and Nauman Arfeen really aren’t really in the same league in terms of establishment and credibility, are they?
Sanam: They have some good ideas and everyone has something to contribute.
Me: How many active members does Fashion Pakistan have today?
Sanam: “We have a ballpark of 55 and a lot more have applied. I’m very happy that Maliha Chaudhry (Daaman) is onboard. A lot of people are coming in and applying now. Younger and stronger designers. Designers like Ayesha Somaya. We want members who are commercially strong and creative. We want a mix. Creativity alone cannot take you far. I’m delighted that Naushaba Brohi has joined too.”
Me: What’s first thing on your to-do agenda?
Sanam: We all agree that organizing a fashion week every six months isn’t the only thing a council should be doing. We want to build a ‘GENEX’ of new, young designers and help them build businesses. We want to build smaller events here and internationally. And we want to establish an advisory board with businessmen and all older members. We don’t want anyone to feel left out.
We’re having a press conference next month, announcing a calendar and everything we’re planning.
Me: What’s the biggest challenge?
Sanam: “We plan on staying very apolitical. Fashion is a funny animal. You never know what’s going to happen. But we need to leave our egos at home. Our biggest agenda right now is to get sorted and allocate tasks to all board members. Our biggest task is to do an event and do it well. We need to facilitate trade and that is the biggest goal.”
Me: How long will it take for you to come at par with the PFDC, which is currently the most credible council in the country?
Sanam: “It’s not a competition. But we are on board for the next three years and if we don’t do something then that’ll be very sad. I’d give us a year to become a very credible council. I don’t want to be over ambitious but I’m very confident. The old board has left us in a very good place.
Pictures by Faisal Farooqui @ Dragonfly