We speak to fashion designer Ansab Jahangir about her namesake brand, journey in the designing industry, 2020 goals and more.
Tell us a little about yourself and your journey as a fashion designer.
My sister (and business partner) Zoha and I started the brand in 2015.We both majored in Economics at the University of Waterloo, but our passion had always been fashion and design. We decided to start our brand as soon as we came back from Canada. The journey has been amazing so far but hopefully it’s the just the beginning!
How did you enter into this field?
Our mother was the inspiration for us getting into this field as she used to make clothes as her business and then when Ansab got married she created her own bridal. So, this is where the story began.
How do you create a collection? Where do you get inspiration from?
We formulate our collection by assigning a theme to it. Our inspiration mainly comes from a genre of art that we want to incorporate in the outfits. The relevant colour scheme and the embroidered patterns are then worked upon by our team of designers.
Your most memorable work by far?
Our most memorable work by far was creating a custom bespoke piece for the Bollywood star Nargis Fakhri. From design to execution, it was a wonderful experience. We did our first shoot in LA, California and the second one in New Jersey, NY. Not only is Nargis extremely beautiful, she also has an amazing sense of humour! The shoot was a great experience and we formed some wonderful relationships along the way.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your label?
I think since the inception of our brand, we have slowly but surely realized the importance of a competent and reliable team. Initially, Zoha and I would be micro-managing everything. But as the business kept growing, we started accepting the fact that we can’t handle production, marketing, customer service and other daily tasks all by ourselves. We would eventually neglect a few areas of the business and our brand image would suffer. So around two years ago, we set about carefully selecting our team to take Ansab Jahangir to new heights in the future.
You’re currently creating custom looks for celebrities. Tell us a little more about this.
We are trying to incorporate more solids in to our pret line as we feel that is something every age group would love to own. We got our style stars Ayeza Khan, Sana Javed and Anmol Baloch to wear a few of our ensembles. Each outfit was created keeping in mind the specific look and style of the celebrities mentioned above.
According to you, how has COVID-19 affected the fashion industry? Are you doing anything different?
The dynamics of the industry since the outbreak have changed incredibly as business is mostly coming from e-commerce platforms. As face to face interactions at our Karachi studio are not possible at the moment, we are looking towards interacting with our clients digitally. However, I feel it’s a little early to say whether the fashion industry is going to change forever. All the designers understand that to be competitive in the current scenario, they must have an effective online presence and strategy. I believe once the pandemic starts to subside, things will start getting back to normal.
Three goals you want to achieve by the end of 2020?
- To substantially increase our local and international presence
- To introduce Pakistani fashion amongst different cultures
- To try our best to provide the best customer service in the industry
Is it hard to stay innovative? What sets you apart from your competitors?
Yes, definitely! Its difficult in a market where there are many talented designers coming up with new creations a few times every year. However, we still try to find new ideas and inspirations to carve out new designs for our clients. So, the idea is to be a one stop clothing solution. While we cater to everyday luxury wear, we also want to be a part of your special day by handcrafting an extravagant wedding dress. This is where we try to carve out our niche.
What advice would you give other young designers hoping to make it in the fashion world?
Try to bring in something new to the market when you start off. This industry is highly competitive and saturated. It’s tough to make your name as hundreds of new designers prop up every year. However, if you have something unique to offer and at the right price, chances are you will be successful.