Considering that the brand started out in 2002, which does not make it very old, it is even more surprising to witness its phenomenal growth in its lifespan! Faraz Manan joined the venture in 2004, the seeds of which had been laid down by his mother. He acquired a degree from London School of Economics which helped him build a powerhouse of fashion and not just a design house. Brides & You team has not only been regularly observing the incomparable craftsmanship and the sheer beauty of a Faraz Manan outfit developing through the past decade, but we believe that the brand deserves accolades of praise for having branched out into breath taking lawn prints.
The expansion which the business has seen speaks tons for itself through the establishment of a stand-alone Faraz Manan outlet in a posh location such as Jumeirah in Dubai- a commendable feat which ought to make us all proud as it is the first of its kind when it comes to Pakistani designers.
The shows they put up, become the talk of town, wherever they are held globally and the response they have received for the lawn suit designs has been nothing but overwhelming. Read on to find out more about this phenomenal house of design as we caught up with Faraz Manan, the man of the hour himself!
Q. Tell us about the key team players at your design house? What roles do they all play?
A. Sundas assists me in lawn and Sana Adil assists me in couture. My mother has now retired. The lawn venture is in partnership with Shuaib Shafi from Crescent who is the CEO and handles the business. I am the creative head and I also take care of the marketing. It is a synergy now. We belong to a family of artists- my younger sister is a painter as well. That is why it all comes quite naturally to us.
Q. You have a stand-alone store at an upscale location in Dubai. How has that experience been so far? How many parts of the world is the brand Faraz Manan currently spread in. Is it only prêt or also couture and lawn?
A. The store is one of its kind. It is the only Pakistani designer house at such a lavish scale in the Middle East. I must say the reach is amazing. People from all over the world- the Arabs and the people belonging to the subcontinent simply love our workmanship. Our signature style is most sought after amongst the buyers who come to this region to shop. They want to have everything from floor length gowns to saaris to bustiers designed by us.
Q. You have been into couture, luxury prêt and lawn designing. Which of these do you enjoy the most and why?
A. Couture and lawn. The creative satisfaction comes from couture. You design something that makes a bride happy on one of the most important days of her life. That has an unmatched happiness and prestige attached to it. The lawn has an unparalleled outreach. It has the affordability angle taken care of, which takes it to thousands of houses. That is a completely different kind of fulfillment for the designer.
Q. Tell us more about the 2016 lawn you have designed in collaboration with and for Crescent? How has the response been so far?
A. There are two types of lawn suits designed by us. The Faraz Manan lawn is a Premium range which is towards the slightly more expensive side going up to Rs 7000. Then there is the lower range of around Rs 3000 which has a galla of embroidery and is more of a daily wear good quality suit. About the response, all I can say is that we are sold out! From Sri Lanka to Malaysia to Saudi Arabia and Dubai, the lawn is everywhere. We can now safely say that we are a regional brand.
Q. Why do you prefer Indian actors for modeling when campaigning for lawn?
A. When foreign brands use international fashion models no one cares to question them why they have chosen an Italian model instead of a local one for example! But yes I realise that it does make people curious. So the simple answer is that Kareena Kapoor is someone who is an epitome of what I desire to see as the face of my brand. When I choose a brand ambassador, I stay loyal to them for a while. Earlier on it was Iman Ali and Karishma Kapoor.
Kareena is a face recognized by the world; she is not just pretty but people relate to her. She is my muse and she is a good friend. I will not mince the fact that of course her popularity in India has led to a tremendous response for our product. Prasad Naik of Vogue India has shot the campaign and the experience has been nothing short of wonderful.
Q. You have participated in international and local shows. What has made you believe that participating in a show organised by one of our local platforms is not a very good idea as opposed to solo shows?
A. I have a disagreement with the structure of the local fashion weeks held here. Couture deserves exclusivity. It calls for refinement and class. I feel that the designers here are treated like school kids. They take turns and their models walk out on the ramp, one designer after the other.
The other thing is the crowd: such non serious people happen to be at these shows. The serious buyers are missing. They have simply stopped coming to these shows because the shows are poorly organised and mismanaged.
Fashion Pakistan Karachi is a platform which is doing well and I participate in it for my luxury prêt showcasing. But couture must be done solo so it gets the attention it rightly deserves.
Q. Who are some of your favourite people to work with in our local industry?
A. Ather and Shahzad, Iman Ali, Nooray Bhatty and Nadia Malik.
Q. Who are some of the designers whose work you admire locally and internationally?A. Locally I think that Umar Sayeed’s workmanship is gorgeous. Internationally, I admire the work produced by the design houses of Chanel and Ralph Lauren.
Q. What is your idea of unwinding and how do you relax and have fun?
A. I like watching TV shows and chit chatting with close friends. Traveling is a passion. Istanbul is a hot favourite. I find it very soothing to the nerves. It has a soul like no place else; a history and a culture which speaks to me and inspires me creatively. I feel it has a deep link to my design philosophy.
Q. The one regret of your life or something you wish you could have done differently?
A. I have no regrets! I do have one concern and that is my fitness. It is the one aspect which I feel I need to work harder on.
Q. A word of advice for the aspiring fashion designers. What is the key ingredient that makes a person a successful fashion designer?
A. I do not believe that I have achieved enough to be in a position to be giving advice but my two cents if they count, would be that get into design only if you enjoy it. Do it only if it is your true calling and then stick to it through the tough times and even the hardships. Persistence is the only key to success and making it big in any field.
Q. What are your future plans?
A. Future plans include expansion in Karachi and India with the opening of stand-alone Faraz Manan stores.
So watch out readers for we expect even bigger and better things from this talented and determined man in the near future and we wish him tons of success.