Amongst the “Movers and Shakers” in the world of Style & Fashion, there is a “Who’s Who “ list that is both inspring and daunting at the same time. It takes courage, confidence, a great deal of panache and a steadfast belief in one’s talent to be able to force an entrance and mark one’s territory in this arena.
Maheen Karim is one of the few names that has managed to stand out in this world of Fashion and create a label that has definitely made a mark in the very competitive line of contemporary clothing wear in Pakistan.
She holds a bachelors degree from Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design. Since early childhood she knew Fashion is where she sees herself. The Maheen Karim brand has created a niche market in Pakistan for elegant and classy evening wear that has yielded the designer a unique spot in the fashion world.
Who is Maheen Karim?
I am an entrepreneur who started off by working in Escada as PR Head, in the London Head Office. I acquired my education from St. Martins and then moved to London to put my professional education to use. After working for 2 years and soaking all I needed to start off on my own, I moved back to Pakistan in 2006 to launch my own label.
I started off really small as I believe in personalizing everything I create & adding my spark to everything I do. I am fond of quality not quantity. My line of clothing primarily focuses on western wear.
I do small retail in Karachi, Lahore & Islamabad. We have held successful exhibitions in Singapore with Samia Khan, also with Maha Gohkal. We have held exhibitions in London & Dubai as well.
What inspired you to start Designing?
Since early childhood, I was always inspired by the glamour world, the way models dress, the way they carried an outfit. I realized how important wearing the right dress meant. I wanted to make a woman feel that she was not blending into the crowd but standing out.
Do you ever want to dress a Hollywood actress?
Yes, Angelina Jolie and Monica Baluchi. Elegance & class is what they portray. And the way they carry themselves is astounding. It would be a pleasure to design for such beauties.
Who, amongst the Pakistani celebrities would you like to dress?
Nazia Hassan was a timeless beauty in Pakistan and I would have done anything to grasp the opportunity to design for her. Apart from her there is Mahira who’s stunning and pulls off every style she puts on. Aamina Sheikh carries my clothes with finesse.
You style for events like award ceremonies?
Yes, I have done a lot of stuff for Lux Style Awards. I have done Aaminah Sheikh’s outfit for the New York Film Festival. I have also done a lot for Sharmine Obaid, who is a good friend.
Since you have worked with Sharmine Obaid, how has your experience been?
She’s a childhood friend, as we were in the same class together all our lives. With her I don’t feel as if I am designing for a celebrity. She makes me feel very proud as whenever we are together, people recognize her and gather all around her. It feels great.
How was your experience being with her in Venice, in 2012?
I was thrilled when she offered to take me along for designing her dress. She introduced me to the entire Gucci team and Colleen Atwood who is the designer for Avatar.
Do you feel there should be any collaboration between fashion schools and designers?
I think there definitely is. In fact, I am on the board with the Pakistan Fashion Council and we are actually doing a Generation X Fashion Show in August. It’s basically a platform where schools will present their best portfolios. Amongst the best, 7 to 10 designers will be short listed and we will then have a fashion show. Again that fashion show will be judged by experienced designers; the likes of Maheen Khan, Deepak and other renowned designers. The winner will be given an opportunity to show their work at Fashion Week.
Why have you not worked more on the Eastern Clothing line?
I didn’t initially, but with the push of my close friends I have started taking orders.
How has your experience been in collaboration with Bonanza?
Fantastic! They are lovely people to work with. It was difficult to change the mindset of a company that has been in the industry for so long. With competition entering the market, the old school has realized that we better make clothing for the younger generation because they have the power to buy now. They do understand that and are striving to bring that in their new collections.
Do you believe in fate? Do you think fate is the key to you or anyone who is, where they are?
I believe as you sow so shall you reap and I am a firm believer of hard work. Hard work is always rewarded. And by that reward I don’t necessarily mean a cash reward. But if you do something whole heartedly and you believe in it, you will succeed.
How do you see a Maheen Karim woman?
I see a Maheen Karim woman as timeless elegance and confident… confident in her attire. I believe that is the kind of persona which makes the Maheen Karim woman and that’s the kind of person that carries my clothes well. She doesn’t get lost in the crowd but stands out.
Shakeela R. Talpur holds a degree in Business Studies, with over 4 years of banking experience at one of the largest private banks in Pakistan. Her interests include reading, writing & movies. She enjoys good cuisine and is very gregarious. [/box]