We chat with jewellery designer Shafaq Habib about life, her passion in the design industry and more.
1. Tell us a little about yourself; your education, upbringing, where you grew up, and went to college?
My father was a bureaucrat and was posted in different cities during my school days. I attended College of Home Economics in Lahore and graduated with a major in Applied Arts and Textile Designing. After getting married, I went to New York and attended classes and seminars on jewellery making and gem identification.
2. Have you always imagined yourself in the design industry?
Art and design always interested me. I started my career as a jewelry designer in New York.
3. How long have you been in the industry for?
I have been in this industry since 1981.
4. When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career as a jewellery designer?
I liked jewellery even as a child, but never thought I would pursue it as a profession. While I was in New York, I felt the jewellery market only has either western style simple jewellery or very ethnic and old fashioned jewellery. I wanted something in between so I decided to use fusion to redesign my own jewellery. The first piece came out so beautifully that I was surprised myself. Everyone around me started asking me to design for them and before I could fully comprehend, I was already in the business and career phase. I held my first exhibition in Washington DC in 1982 which was a sell out with a lot of orders. There has been no looking back since then.
5. Where do you get your design inspirations from?
New trends always fascinate and inspire me. Traveling is another great source of inspiration and of course the ethnic designs. Designs inspired from the Mughal era are my personal favourite. My designs have Middle Eastern, Turkish, Egyptian and Byzantine influences. Despite these influences, my work always manages to have a traditional touch.
6. Tell us about your design style. What makes your collections unique in the industry?
I think it’s my Allah’s blessing! My designs represent me, the unique stones that I collect from around the world, the motifs I pick and their placement makes it unique!
7. Tell us a little about your everyday routine?
I always pre-plan my day as there is a lot to be done and keeping time schedule makes it easy. Besides running my business, I want to give time to my other passions like relationships with my Allah, my family, my friends, my house, exercise and music. My day always ends with unwinding with a TV program at night.
8. How do you organize, plan, and prioritize your work?
Every day is planned in advance and I follow the clock. I try not to miss anything – prayers, house management, exercise, work, rest, socialising, reading, relaxing and updating myself on fashion.
9. Is there any specific piece of jewellery you’ve designed that is very close to your heart?
Every piece I design is close to my heart, because it represents me and I want people to enjoy wearing it. I always pray that people wear it in good health and happiness.
10. Your biggest jewellry pet peeve? Something you’d never incorporate into your designs?
I want people to be happy and satisfied with their purchases. Deception and cheating is something that really annoys me and I want to give the best service to my clients. What I love for myself, I love for all of my patrons. By the grace of God, most of my patrons are very stylish and know how to carry themselves and their jewellery. It is a pleasure looking at them wearing my jewellery.