A relatively young name in fashion, Wardha Saleem has rapidly risen to enjoy success and fame because of her distinct aesthetic that reflects the colours of her origin, Sindh, and styles of her generation that are contemporary and trendy. A textile student, Wardha’s USP has been handicraft and technique, reflective in her innovative collections (Doodle Junction was my favourite!). Having worked with leather giant Jafferjees and shown at all major fashion weeks in the country as well as at London Fashion Week earlier this year, Wardha is a force to reckon with.
Wardha also just completed her three-year tenure as CEO of the Fashion Pakistan Council. We catch up with her on some details…
SH: Your latest collection of wedding wear, titled The Mughal Empresses, appears to play upon tradition and opulence. What in your own words is your signature when it comes to bridal couture?
Wardha Saleem: The essential philosophy of my bridal collections is to create an item of clothing that is timeless and true to our eons of tradition; garment that is crafted so well that it can be handed down from generation to generation, never losing its flair or quality.
Being a teacher and a student of textile and history and living in this time of information, I have the advantage to view tradition on a global scale. Thus my world of fashion and bridals is not limited to only the sub-continent. I can use a wealth of foreign traditions, blending them to my own signature style and aesthetics, creating something unique and timeless. I hail from Sindh, once the fabled exporter of indigo dye to the ancient world and still known for its vibrant culture. Thus, color plays an essential part in all my creations.
It is this amalgamation of traditional inspirations; intricate craftsmanship and color play which makes my bridals stand out.
SH: Will you be showcasing this collection, or more specifically, will you be participating at the upcoming FPW?
WS: This year, we will be showcasing our Bridal/Festive 2017 collection at Bridal Couture Week in November.
SH: You had quite an unpleasant fall-out with the Fashion Pakistan Council and you resigned under some damaging allegations. Will this affect your relationship with fashion week, since you do showcase regularly?
WS: Every CEO brings a new vision to the organization they serve. My goal was to bring formal structure, consistency and introduce new avenues to this platform; to create opportunities that went beyond just fashion weeks. Despite adversity, I was successful in executing consistent Fashion Weeks, international Exhibitions/Shows, exciting collaborations and new platforms to promote young talent. I will continue supporting this platform to which I have dedicated so much time, hard work and effort.
SH: What advice do you have for the new council, the new CEO in particular?
WS: I wish them all the best and hope they manage to take the council to new heights.
SH: Coming back to the business of fashion, we have seen your brand grow from strength to strength. Can you outline your current market (Pakistan and abroad) and how are you looking to expand in the future?
WS: Our trajectory for the Wardha Saleem brand is to make it a proud Pakistani international label. During the past year, we have broadened our horizons and are available in India, Dubai, Canada, USA and London. Our e-store is already catering to consumers world-wide and we will keep on strengthening our reach in future.