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Rising Designer: Kanwal Malik

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This week, I spent a day at the studio with Lahore’s quickly rising designer; Kanwal Malik. She is known for her funky designs, chic cuts and vibrant fusions – and might I add, she is a total sweetheart!

Kanwal studied her bachelors in Fashion Design from PIFD and graduated in 2017. She went on to for work prominent designers in Lahore. Six months ago she launched her own label “Kanwal Malik’ and has reached many milestones in a short span of time.

She recalls “I wanted to become a designer since the very beginning. I think it was something built into me since my childhood. I’d dress up my dolls and stitch little garments for them”.

Her pieces are vibrant and popping. Kanwal’s aesthetics is very distinguishable and she draws her inspiration form various elements. Her team alongside her merge elements to create fusions whether be it from a European palace to wildlife. When it comes to designing, she has one rule – “think outside the box. There is no fun in being the same as everyone out there!”

At the studio she had all three collections being showcased. Our favourite was the “Romantic Revolution”, her bridal collection which was delicately put together and carefully crafted with intricate embellishments. Her winter collection “Gouter” which launched last month and quiclkly became a favourite amongst her clients especially for wedding season. Lastly, her first collection which she debut with – “Scintillating Fanstasy”, and they were all beautifully brought together creating a fusion of fun cuts, motifs and colors.

Kanwal will be showcasing her collection with the Boulevard in Dubai this coming week and later in June she will be flying out to Florida to exhibit her collection. Her clientele has spread vastly through North America and the UAE and she hopes be selling worldwide one day. 

She urges upcoming designers and graduates to stay focus and determined because success doesn’t come easy and hopes that she will be keep on going in dress Gigi Hadid one day, the ULTIMATE dream!

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Entertainment

GAME OF LAWNS Summer is Here

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On a cold February night while mindlessly scrolling through my Instagram feed, I came across a lawn advertisement. The next insta post showed socialites wearing sleeveless lawn suits at a launch event. Now I see these same women smiling into the camera almost every hour featured in different elitist magazines and posts. I could have sworn they were wearing jackets and carrying designer bags just yesterday at a polo match.

For those of you not familiar with lawn it’s a fabric to be worn in summers. It’s the finest form of cotton weave which has a soft almost luxurious feel to it. Its comfortable, airy and breathable to give women (never heard of men wearing it) much needed respite from the sweltering heat.

Some of the top brands which are magically sold out at Cinderalla time on their prebooking dates are Elan, Sana Safinaz, Faraz Manan and Sobia Nazir.

 “Please take care of yourselves, don’t put yourselves or others in harm’s way, be happy and stay safe.” Khadija Shah, designer of Elan addressed her customers on Instagram, preparing them for the battle ahead.

Lines are formed outside flagship stores the day of the pre-booking only to be broken as soon as doors open. Social media gets flooded with videos of violent women destroying anything and everything that comes in their way. Salesmen scarred both emotionally and physically.

 “A furious customer smashed a salesman’s head,” said Tahir who works as a driver and was an eyewitness to the incident.

 The disgruntled man had queued up for Elan 3A since 6am. When he finally reached the salesman, he was told they had run out of stock.

Now why do a certain class of people, mostly educated, behave like this is beyond human comprehension. Pushing and shoving are considered milder forms of aggression when it comes to buying their chosen design.

There is method to this madness. First the social media campaigns start. Then you see pictures and videos of unbelievably tall and beautiful women with fair skin and European features wearing long shirts, flared trousers and flowing silk dupattas (long scarves worn traditionally in Pakistan). Some are basking in the sun on a cruise in Italy with their fluttering dupattas following them everywhere. Others lying on a sofa in a French palace and some staring blankly while walking in a forest. The designs and campaigns of different designer brands each year have started looking eerily like each other.

Then the catalogues come out. Hype is created and countdown to online pre-booking starts. Women look through endless pictures while holding their breath and write the codes to their favorite designs for pre-booking. Its status symbol and the race to wear it first rather than the love for lawn that drives sales. There is frenzy around this time. Girls try to ask their friends which one they will buy while casually mentioning they will not buy any designer lawn this season as not to disclose the codes of the suits they are trying to get.

I vowed not to get into the designer lawn trap but unfortunately succumbed to buying just one suit. When I went to collect it, I was approached by a middle-aged woman who took me to the side and started whispering that she had the ‘out of stock’ lawn joras. She handed out her number on a piece of paper and disappeared as swiftly as she had appeared.

Out of curiosity and partly because the design my mother liked was also the first to run out, I called that number to ask about availability. To my horror, the woman quoted almost double the price for the same suit! Talk about creating a business opportunity out of women’s desperation to wear their favorite design before their friends do.

Now I know, designer lawns are nowhere in the affordable range. Most are around Rs 7,000 for a three-piece suit which include unstitched fabric for a shirt and trouser, a dupatta and some random patches (with little to no information given where each patch belongs). But paying double of that seemed unreasonable and wrong.

If you thought the ordeal ends here, wait till you take this lawn suit for stitching. The otherwise friendly tailors during winter months start showing attitude during this season. The prized packet comes with a paper indicating contents in English (I wonder why not in Urdu) and a picture of a model wearing it. When you open it, random cloth pieces much like a jigsaw puzzle keep coming out. Surprisingly this baffles the customers, but the tailors exactly know what fits where. For their services, they charge exorbitantly. Appliques, patches, hem, trimmings, home delivery, stitching early are some of the add-ons included in the final stitching bill which is not meant for the light-hearted. Stitching costs can go up to Rs 3000 or more for a suit.

The Pakistani rupee hit an all-time low of around 146 against the dollar and further devaluation is expected. People are complaining about inflation and rising food prices but there is silence on the topic of exorbitant designer lawn prices. How can so many people afford something so expensive?

More and more textile mills are collaborating with designers to come up with their lawn collection each year. This year low-priced alternatives by coveted designer brands like Muzlin by Sana Safinaz and Zaha by Elan were seen in the market but not met with that much enthusiasm by the seasoned lawn buyers. The whole concept of designer lawn works on looking expensive and showing off otherwise the veterans of lawn like Al Karam, Gul Ahmed and Nishat Linen still have the softest and purest form of the fabric.

Lawn mania doesn’t end here. Now that Eid is around the corner, all the brands are coming out with their formal collection. Did I mention Volume II and III will follow?

The saga never ends…   Maha Shah is a freelance writer, journalist and HR professional who has worked for Google and Bloomberg and has lived in Jordan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Qatar and now Pakistan

By Maha Shah

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Fashion

Don’t Miss Out On These Eid Looks!

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Eid Ul Fitr just ended the day before yesterday and it was a joyous affair. Family gatherings and good food are always a mood. We’ve rounded up all our favorite looks from the first day till the third day and can’t wait to share them with all of you!

The most adorable thing on Eid is mother and daughter twinning. Madiha Hassan and her little one in this black and gold outfit from So Kamal.
Mansha Pasha spotted in this icy blue outfit by Farah Talib Aziz with matching pumps and jewelry by Ali Javeri Jewelers.
Nadia Khawaja keeps it monochrome chic On Eid Ul Fitr with over sized ruffles and matching pointy heels.
Shanzay Sheikh stuns in a Saira Rizwan outfit from their latest collection on Eid. Keeping it simple with center partitioned straight hair.
Areeba Habib clad in this rusty pink shalwar kameez from Jamdaani with golden gota work on the shalwar and dupatta.
Mawra Hocane celebrating Eid in New York in this lavendar outfit by Elan. Addling some bling to the entire look with some gold earrings and ring.
Maya Ali all read from head to toe in Faiza Saqlain with golden work on the shirt and dupatta. And red bangles of course paired with golden hoop earrings.
Wajeeha Imran keeping it chic in this Menahel and Mehreen off white outfit paired with a neon yellow bag to add a splash of color.
Mehwish Hayat in this gorgeous light green outfit by Mohsin Naveed Ranjha with white embroidery on the kameez, shalwar and dupatta. Making heads turn with that pink pout!
Iqra Aziz serving the perfect Eid outfit goals in a festive outfit by Ali Xeeshan. We love the variety of colors in her shirt.
Hina Altaf in this white and gold saree by FnkAsia, oozing elegance. Accessorized with matching traditional earrings and a ponytail.
We can’t have enough of Maryam Mahmood’s contemporary white ensemble. Nothing screams chic louder than an elegant white and silver outfit.
Ayesha Omar dazzling in this turquoise Nomi Ansari outfit embellished with silver and golden beads and jewelry by Allure by MHT.
Another adorable mother daughter twinning! Hira Tareen with her daughter in this light pink outfit by Ansab Jahangir Studio and earrings by Maheen Jewels.
The gorgeous Muzi Sufi wore an ivory luxe pret look from the latest Farah Talib Aziz Eid collection; Nureh. The matching pumps complementing the overall look.

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Entertainment

Twitter fans root for Lady Gaga to get together with Bradley Cooper after his break-up

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Bradley Cooper and long-time girlfriend Irina Shayk have reportedly called it quits after four years of dating and it didn’t take long for the Twitterverse to play matchmaker for the “Silver Linings Playbook” star.

Social media users, who have long speculated over the on-screen chemistry in “A Star is Born,” between him and co-star Lady Gaga, took to Twitter to both urge the two to get together and joked about Gaga’s likely response to learning about the split.

Fans began speculating that Cooper’s relationship was in trouble after he and Gaga performed the song “Shallow” from the film at the Oscar’s in February. The two entered holding hands and sat close to one another during the piano ballad.

One Twitter fan posted a clip from the performance when Cooper and Gaga intimately gaze into each other’s eyes after singing the duet. “Breaking news: Bradley Cooper and his long time girlfriend Irina Shayk have broken up. Below is exclusive footage of the moment their relationship ended.”

“Anyone get that People alert of Bradley Cooper & Irina splitting up? GAGAAAA WHERE YOU AT GIRL?!” another fan wrote. A third Bradley/Gaga shipper said “If Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper don’t get together by the end of this year i’m never listening to shallow ever again.”

“A Star Is Born” received eight Academy Award nominations after its 2018 release. Gaga and her fiancé Christian Carino ended their two year relationship in February, People confirmed.

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