Pakistani duo Sana and Safinaz make their India debut in Chennai

Pakistani designers Sana and Safinaz have made significant strides in the style world with a sensibility that fuses streamlined West and a craft-intensive East. The duo, who make their India debut at Studio Saks in Chennai, today, talk about what it takes to up the style quotient in Pakistan. Excerpts:

INDIA LAUNCH IN CHENNAI The Sana Safinaz brand is one of the largest in Pakistan. With 19 years of experience in the field, we decided to target Asian markets abroad. Indians have always shown great interest in our clothes, so it was a logical choice. Studio Saks was confident that the women of Chennai would love our clothes.

TRADITION AND MODERNITY Since we travel a great deal, our Western sensibility is well developed. Yet we live in a country where 99 per cent of the people wear only Eastern. We learnt early in our career that a mix of the two cultures would work. And that was highly appreciated. It has been our design philosophy.

CONTRASTING SENSIBILITIES We design six different lines for different occasions — from trousseau to lawn. Each has a different price point and the looks are different. You can spot a Sana Safinaz a mile away.

CRAFT-INTENSIVE LINES Like India, Pakistan is famous for its craft traditions. We have amazingly talented people working for us. We do all our screen prints and block printing in-house. All embroidery is done on our premises. We love working with the karigars and giving them direction. But labour is far more expensive in Pakistan than in India.

THREADS OF SIMILARITY Silhouettes, embellishments, colour palette.... Pakistani and Indian sensibilities are almost identical. We have the same aesthetics. We love colour. We love to dress up for any occasion!

LINE FOR CHENNAI The collection is a vibrant mix of colours, prints and textures. We have used a variety of fabrics — crepe, georgette, silk and satin. Screen and block prints are an attraction. We have used different types of thread and tilla embroidery. We have also stuck to long hemlines and the flared cut that are now in vogue in Pakistan.

STYLE SCENE IN PAK Fashion is now considered serious business in Pakistan. We have excellent designers in the country. Three of our designers have shown in the Milan Fashion Week. We have had two successful fashion weeks. We have a long way to go but are certainly moving in the right direction.

‘MODEST' DRESSING Pakistan is a conservative market. One has to respect those boundaries. Especially, when you look at it from a financial angle. But we do get our creative breaks when we participate in fashion shows and shoots. But the truth is all designers face the issue of ‘modest' dressing. The highly Westernised look is usually tweaked to suit the Pakistani client.

(Studio Saks, Gopalapuram, features the work of Sana and Safinaz on January 26 and 27)