Tena Durrani has to be one of the very few people belonging to the local fashion industry, who speaks openly and candidly about herself and her work. This was one of the things that I found quite refreshing about her. Having no formal training for the field of fashion, this talented entrepreneur began with a small at-home business 10 years ago. She was expecting a baby at that time and hence she was limited to working from home. But six years ago, the story took a turn for better and bigger. The label Tena Durrani became a full scale operational organisation. In partnership with Taimoor Shah who is a banker by profession and the CEO of Tena’s design house, she became the creative force that has taken the label to the furthest corners of the globe in a very short period of time.
After Taimoor and Tena joined forces they opened up factories and a proper studio offering remarkably beautiful bridals and luxury prêt for their vast clientele. Following are brief excerpts from our conversation with Tena Durrani.
Q: In how many places over the globe are your designs available?
A: Apart from Pakistan, we are getting orders from all over the world. Our clients are spread out in USA, UK, Australia, India, Norway and Middle East. We talk to brides to be and other clients over Skype and create for them pieces which they can cherish for a lifetime.
Q: Which types of designing do you do and which do you enjoy the most and why?
A: I have designed a lawn collection for this year and there will be another one coming out in February 2017. I do bridals and heavy formals on a regular basis. I must say that all types of designing have different flavours. Bridal outfits have no limits. There is no holding back during this design journey. It is truly exciting. They are glamorous and ornate. There is a lot of room for creativity. Lawn designing has a different type of fulfillment. The process is now digitized. You see art come to life in front of your eyes. The time required is less compared to bridals and I enjoy lawn thoroughly as well.
Q: Tell us about the creative process- Where does the inspiration come from
A: Inspiration can come from anywhere. What I mostly find exciting is the colour palette. The blend of which colours I want to use often happens to be my starting point. Patterns can be inspiring- whether you want to go for the ornate detail of Baroque or the spirit of French Renaissance, it is all truly exciting. Sometimes I get ideas from the design essentials which I want to use, such as crystals which can be incorporated into a dress.
Q: For the current and coming bridal season, what are you offering your clients? What will be the trend as far as shirt lengths, lehnga styles and colours are concerned.
A: There are no trends in bridals. If a client spends anything between five to 25 lakhs on a couture bespoke piece and it becomes irrelevant in six months, that would be a disaster! As for colours, 50 years ago brides wanted to wear red on their wedding day and that holds true for even now. Shirt lengths depend on the individual client. We like to experiment with many types of silhouettes. It is a piece that must be treasured for a lifetime. The lehnga motifs can be inspired by flowers- I may use different techniques for handwork. I can often combine traditional elements such as dabka with modern such as Swarovski crystals. The contemporary is infused with the traditional to create a one of its kind memorable design. And it definitely must not go out of fashion in two years.
Q: How long does it take for the completion of an order of a bridal dress?
A: Depending on how extensive the bridal dress is and what the season is, it could take anywhere between three to eight months.
Q: What are some of the crucial factors a bride should keep in mind when selecting a designer for her bridal dress.
A: A bride should be careful that the aesthetic of the designer which she opts to go for matches her own taste. If she likes a modern dress in a pastel shade and the designer she chooses is famous for his or her ethnic, classic and traditional workmanship, there will be a clash. She will not get what she hopes for.
Q: Whose work do you admire locally and which are your favourite international designers?
A: Locally Bunto Kazmi’s work is amazing. I have always idolized Rizwan Beyg. I love Valentino.
Q: How has your experience of fashion shows been locally? Any suggestions to help improve them?
A: Fashion shows get you the visibility in the media. You cannot expect to be able to put a tangible trail to what kind of results you will get out of it. The advantage of these shows is that you work within the given timeline. The styling of my shows was one area in which I have been dissatisfied. It has not been given proper time often. The recent experience was not bad so I believe everyone tries their best.
Q: What advice would you give to new entrants in the field?
A: I think the best piece of advice I can give the new people entering this field is that they must have a sound business plan before they jump in.
Q: How do you relax and what do you do for fun and entertainment?
A: I do not relax! Yes sometimes I like watching movies but mostly it is my work that relaxes me.
Q: Name some of your favourite people to work with?
A: There are so many and I am afraid I will forget names. I love Zara Tareen’s photography. Some other names of the industry are Ayaz Anis, Rana Khan, Wajid Khan and Umair Waqas. Amna Babar is a good model. So are Sadaf, Cybil, Zara and Fauzia. And there are so many more names.
Q: Tell us something that not many people know about you.
A: I appear to be a bubbly person but in reality I am short tempered. Of course this does not apply to my public dealing and very few close friends know this about me.
Q: What are your future plans?
A: I plan on launching our annual Bridal Collection soon. Lawn is in the pipeline. There are no extensive plans as yet and basically staying afloat for the moment with the already accumulated goodwill of our clients and popularity is my main goal.
We at Brides & You wish Tena Durrani all the best!