Wardha Saleem’s Studio: A Whimsical Twist on Cultural Aesthetic

Wardha Saleem’s year old design studio and flagship store in Karachi located near Do Talwar in Clifton houses an eclectic mix of designs. As a designer, Wardha has always been at her best when she’s at work, playing with textile, print, colour and indigenous inspiration. She translates this ethos to her first flagship store with quintessential flair.

As you enter through the studio the essence of Wardha’s native rural Sindh comes alive through the old doors revamped and painted bright yellow and florescent pink and refurbished Hyderabadi tiles.

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The studio boasts of vintage Victorian fitted onto door-frames and a grill molded in the shape of birds that is signature Wardha Saleem. Old furniture collated from Wardha’s family home in Hyderabad: a closet used as a display shelf for latest bridal collection and old chairs rendered new with paint and the upholstery embroidered with quirky birds.

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Then there is a bright pink array of birds, hanging down the ceiling suggestive of the ‘freedom to design’, according to the designer herself.

The interior may have been designed by Ali Asghar Alavi but it echoes Wardha’s design philosophy: colorful, bright, artistic, distinct.

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However more than the decor, the designs at the studio do justice to Wardha’s journey. Sindhi folklore embroidered on ghararas, Madhubani figures ready to dance and block-printed paisleys mingle with ralli that trace back to artisans in interior Sindh.

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The latest line ‘Rangraaz’ introduced by Wardha is a colourful exhibition of psychedelic prints, encompassing traditional with a modern twist. The collection unravels the secret colours of love, traditions and celebration. Inspired by our rich and vibrant heritage, the designer blends in the bright hues of radiant oranges, vibrant greens, passionate plums, dreamy blues, festive fuschia and rich reds in her own signature style. By incorporating traditional block and screen printing techniques along with intricate and detailed embroideries and rich embellishments using pearls, gem stones and crystals. The collection signifies pure luxury and attention to details and pays tribute to the craftsmanship and age old techniques of the sub-continent designed for a woman who believes in individualistic style and appreciates the finer things in life. Fit for a bride, this collection boasts of outfits that will last one a life time.

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The prêt and luxury-wear is also quick to catch the eye for Wardha’s forte has always lain in marrying tradition with the vivaciously modern and it resonates well in the kaftans, tunics, kameezs, jumpsuits and capes.

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The workshop where the block printing is put together and the kaarigars are at work doing their magic is just a door away and connected to the workshop itself making it all the more convenient for a client. In other words, we absolutely loved and enjoyed the experience of walking into this all encompassing beautiful space.

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Having displayed at many fashion weeks, what Wardha shows on the catwalk will now be available easily at her flagship store.

PHOTOGRAPHS: SANA SULTAN 

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