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Issue 51 / Our Chat With Pakistani Fashion Designer Fahad Hussayn

Our Chat With Pakistani Fashion Designer Fahad Hussayn

May 27, 2016


Emerging couturier Fahad Hussayn tells us his haute vision when it comes to celebrating Pakistani artistry through his regal designs of bridal wear.  

Fahad Hussayn was interested in design from a very young age. He recalls the times he spent with his mother at the workshop while she sewed clothes for friends and family. The craft and artistry involved created his love affair with art and design. This would be the spark that ignited the intrigue he had for reviving and reconstructing heritage through his designs. "My journey has just been hard work. My parents brought me up like a prince; I still remember as a child I used to actually believe I was one," Hussayn says. "I used to sit around them for hours making plans about how I wanted my life to be.” 

Hussayn graduated with a masters degree in textile design from Beaconhouse National University in 2007. At the beginning of his career he decided to forego working with other designers because he wanted the freedom to produce his own designs. In 2009, Hussayn received a nomination for Best Upcoming Talent at the Lux Style Awards. His designs continue to put him at the forefront in the bridal and evening wear industry. Hussayn takes time to reflect on his journey that has lead up to where he is today.

Tessa Johnson: When did you know that you wanted to be a designer/couturier? And what was your "Aha!" moment?

Fahad Hussayn: When I told my mother I wanted to be an artist she gave me every reason — from dying penniless to being shot because I had rebellious ideas at times — in both calm and calamity and when nothing worked, in the end, she convinced my family to let me take my course because I intentionally made random drawings in my chemistry O level exam so it wouldn’t be graded. My mother introduced me to clients who wanted custom commissions and by the time I decided to go to college I had my own clients and my own exhibits that my mother organized for me and I had a loyal clientele amongst the elitist families of Faisalabad, Sialkot and Gujranwala. So that in itself became a deciding factor. My "Aha!" moment is that in which an exclusive custom commissioned design is created exactly the way I perceived it. From the moment of extensive research to countless hours in production, to quality measures and finally on center stage in the spotlight where it is appreciated by clients.
 
TJ: As an emerging designer, did you experience any obstacles or challenges when you were starting your business? Can you explain how you conquered them?

FH: Being able to create fashion requires hard work, passion and consistency. Holding on to these key elements has brought me where I am today. In seven years, there have been endless obstacles and challenges no doubt. Nonetheless, it has been an amazing journey so far. I am a fighter and I know what I want, how to get it patiently and without hurting anyone in that process. Success is an ongoing process; in order for it to be permanent you have to work hard. Being famous was never my dream. I’m 30 and there is no end goal. I just want to keep on doing what I know how to do and grow old doing it. I’m open to where it takes me.
 
TJ: Who was the first celebrity to wear your designs? How did it feel?

FH: It is a bit difficult to recall. But having my designs worn by Farida Khanum and Priyanka Chopra was a moment for me. These women are beautiful inside out and lead the way in their respective work fields



Priyaka Chopra in designer Fahad Hussayn's Ittehad Print Museum 2013 Collection.
Photo Credit: www.stylefjee.blogspot.ca

TJ: You are one of the top designers in Pakistan. How has Pakistan evolved in the bridal and fashion industry?

FH: Thank you. The Pakistani market is no doubt bursting with talent. Although Pakistanis have settled overseas, they continue to look back at Pakistan for their fashion concern. Apart from that we have begun to infiltrate international fashion industries in a prominent way that sees non-Pakistanis adapting to our fashion and making us a part of their fashion concern. We as Pakistanis love fashion and we thrive on our tradition. We are people that value our roots and you can see that in the way we dress ourselves. In recent times, locally, we have also seen more fashion savvy clientele. People nowadays do have a more accepting approach towards the fashion industry, which shows that things are only changing for the better.
 
TJ: How has your own journey inspired your bridal collection and Swarovski Crystal Couturiers 2015 collection?

FH: With me, I mould whatever is going on around me, wrap it up in a story and I characterize my designs accordingly. I research on crafts I’ve always wanted to explore, embody them in my designs whether I want to make morbid textures of my conceptual pieces or recreate vintage looks to my desire. My learning experience allows me to translate whatever I design to reality. I design my looks head to toe to make them live my story and that’s why everything I make is really close to my heart. And even if sometimes it goes off the wearability edge I don’t care, because for me their characterization is the most important thing. Runways are my performance zones. Dominionatrix is primarily a study of the structure and hierarchy of a dominion. The power structures that bind a society. we have used our artistic license to create these designs with an amalgamation if architectural structures with gardens of Eden. I believe that there are hardly any ideas in this day and age that are original anymore. Everything has either been done or being done at this very moment somewhere else. No matter how many mood boards you construct one can hardly come up with something new. Each product of mine is unique in its own way and tells a different story.



Telenor Pakistan Fashion Week – Fahad Hussayn, Dominionatrix, Spring/Summer 2015/16 Collection.
Photo Credit: Fahad Hussayn


Telenor Pakistan Fashion Week – Fahad Hussayn, Dominionatrix, Spring/Summer 2015/16 Collection.
Photo Credit: Fahad Hussayn


Telenor Pakistan Fashion Week – Fahad Hussayn , Dominionatrix, Spring/Summer 2015/16 Collection.
Photo Credit: Fahad Hussayn

 

TJ: Your current design space is in bridal couture and bespoke menswear. Do you see yourself designing a pret a porter capsule collection for the global market?

FH: Definitely, we have been approached from various fashion capital cities of the world including New York for collaborations. At the same time, we have a massive clientele globally and we have already produced high-end Pret A Porter capsule collections in the past. However, we do not wish to over sell in one particular category and ensure to produce something for every occasion. For me, it’s all about breaking the norm and introducing something new. I usually look for areas to incorporate sophistication in between all my ideas. What I wish to achieve with all my work is to leave behind a legacy eventually.
 
TJ: Who are some of your favourite designers east and west?

FH: Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Alexander McQueen, Zuhair Murad, Ellie Saab and Valentino.
 
TJ: How do you cope with pressure when producing a collection? Do you even feel pressure?

FH: I enjoy the process of losing and finding myself every now and then. My grandfather used to tell us “Life was to be lived once and lived to one’s hearts adventure.” I thrive to push the envelope for myself and broaden my options when I’m making a collection. That’s also the true beauty of Pakistan. One learns to work under all kinds of pressure be it social, religious, financial, political amongst many other lame and lousy ones.


Telenor Pakistan Fashion Week – Fahad Hussayn , Dominionatrix, Spring/Summer 2015/16 Collection.
Photo Credit: Fahad Hussayn


Telenor Pakistan Fashion Week – Fahad Hussayn , Dominionatrix, Spring/Summer 2015/16 Collection.
Photo Credit: Fahad Hussayn

Telenor Pakistan Fashion Week – Fahad Hussayn , Dominionatrix, Spring/Summer 2015/16 Collection.
Photo Credit: Fahad Hussayn
 

TJ: Who is the Fahad Hussayn Couture consumer?

FH: People who understand heritage, couture, fashion sensibilities and, above all, art are the people that I wish to create designs for. People who understand and value heirlooms and legacy. People who admire my vision of art against classic silhouettes and most importantly people who look for quality of product and design over price tags.
 
TJ: Where do you see your brand in five years?

FH: To become a brand that is well recognized worldwide and has successful operations in multiple fashion capital cities. To be able to push imaginative boundaries, experiment with cutting edge fashion more often and produce exclusive handcrafted unique creations that critics and fans can get excited over.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Main Image Photo Credit: Fahad Hussayn
 

Tessa Johnson

Tessa Johnson

Author

ANOKHI Magazine's fashion editor, Tessa Johnson is a Fashion Business Management graduate from George Brown College who started as an intern at ANOKHI Media in the fashion department, then started to test her writing skills writing travel pieces for Online Exclusives: Hotspot! Five years la...

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