Leading fashion design house Sania Maskatiya became the first Pakistani brand to showcase at this season’s New York Fashion Week (NYFW). Presenting its dedicated western wear line Sania Studio’s Spring/Summer 2019 Collection at the prestigious international platform, the label won over critics both at home and abroad. DESTINATIONS brings you an insider’s look at the designer’s trip to NYC.

Sania Maskatiya recently made headlines for being the first Pakistani designer to showcase at the prestigious New York Fashion Week (NYFW). Handpicked by the Council of Aspiring American Fashion Designers’ (CAAFD) to be a part of the Industria Collective Showcase, the designer presented her western line ‘Sania Studio’ to great acclaim.

Sania is no stranger to such accolades. Since establishing her eponymous label in 2010, she has grown from strength to strength, with her edgy yet sophisticated aesthetic winning her followers at home and abroad. Who can forget the Sonam Kapoor cover for Cosmopolitan India with the actress wearing a cropped bustier from the brand’s ‘Sakura’ collection? Shortlisted by the coveted International Woolmark Prize, one of the first brands from Pakistan to have staged a solo showcase at the Lakme Fashion Week and with four prestigious Lux Style Awards under its belt, the Sania Maskatiya brand continues to flourish locally and internationally. With her latest foray into the international fashion scene, Sania took her distinct print-on-print philosophy and laid-back luxe charm to NYC and did her country proud.

In a chat with DESTINATIONS, Sania opens up about the experience, her ‘Sania Studio’ collection and what she finds inspiring about NYC.

Congrats! Showing at New York Fashion Week is a big achievement. How do you feel?

We are so humbled and grateful that we were a part of such a well-known international platform. It was a wonderful experience and we learnt a lot.

The CAAFD is known for its rigorous selection process… can you take us through what it was like?

We were actually approached by CAAFD for our brand, Sania Studio. They were interested in our previous collections that was stocked internationally. We exchanged ideas, and spoke about the new collection we could show and eventually everything just fell into place.

What is the philosophy behind Sania Studio?

Sania Studio is an extension of our existing brand, Sania Maskatiya. Sania Studio is a design house that uses only pure, luxe fabrics cut and draped in a range of directional but feminine silhouettes. Our designs often take imaginative inspiration from a unique interplay of colours, depicting imagery inspired by nature and the environment, often juxtaposed with a darker twist.

Is the brand stocked internationally?

Currently, we are not stocking internationally although we hope to pursue this in the near future.

Will this collection be available in Pakistan?

Yes, this collection will be available at our Sania Maskatiya flagship outlets from October 2018 and onwards and online at: www.saniastudio.com

While in New York for her #NYFW debut, Sania Maskatiya was invited to visit the United Nations Headquarters by Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi.

Describe the experience of participating in NYFW – the vibe, the energy, the people etc.

It was an exciting experience, where we were able to interact with people from different industries and with different mindsets. The vibe was a mixture of ecstatic energy combined with a creative ambience.

How would you say it’s different from the way fashion weeks are organized in Pakistan? Have you come away with any lessons learnt?

Everything was extremely organized and was done in a timely and professional manner.

No other Pakistani designer has shown at this platform before; what was people’s reaction to you and your designs, particularly in relation to your heritage?

We wanted to use the NYFW platform to speak of our country’s powerful sense of promise; a country that currently stands on the cusp of momentous change. The cuts in this collection were modern, but the designs and colours were clearly inspired by Pakistan influences. The collection was very well received by the audience.

Do you visit New York City often? What is your favourite part about the city?

I have been to New York a few times. I love walking around the city and exploring its wonderful cafés. My favourite part of the city would have to be Soho.

Name three travel essentials that you must always carry with you.

Lipbalm, a good book and my phone.

What’s the style trend that you’re loving this season?

Layering and exaggerated silhouettes.

Describe your ideal vacation spot.

Tropical areas or any place with a beach.

What inspires you?

Creativity and originality.

What’s next for the Sania Maskatiya brand?

The Sania Maskatiya brand aims to carry on expanding and ¬growing. We continue to explore new things and the learning never stops. We surprise ourselves with spontaneous innovation.