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Pakistani designer Khadija Shah, whose label Élan is making an India debut, finds both the neighbouring countries sharing the same taste and sensibilities along with similar culture and identities. She says she planned to bring the brand to India as it has received a love from here.
“India is a country with tastes and sensibilities very similar to Pakistan. We share a similar culture, history, and identities. Over the years, Élan has received a lot of love from India, from some getting in touch with us for couture and bridal wear, to others reaching us in markets like Dubai and Singapore for our ready to wear collections.
“To bring Élan to India was always the natural next step and I am happy to find we’re on our way to realizing that,” Shah told IANS in an email.
Established in 2006, Élan earned early success because of its intricately detailed and luxurious evening and bridal wear. After gaining popularity for its couture creations, the brand began to produce luxury prêt-a-porter, and is now known for its aesthetic, versatile silhouettes and detailing.
In addition to these lines, the brand also produces a range of unstitched fabrics, both within Pakistan and abroad.
Élan is coming to India through Vesimi, Dubai’s multi-designer store.
How important is the Indian market for the brand?
“As we look at international expansion and exploring markets, India remains one of the most prominent and relevant avenues for us. The fact that our ethos is very similar, and the population five times that of Pakistan, our attraction is obvious.
“Élan has lines catering across the spectrum from the very top to those more affordable to the masses and that gives the brand a lot of potential in a place like India which has a thriving and aspirational middle class and a finely attuned upper segment,” said Shah, who acquired her love for designing from her mother who used to design for family and friends for as long as she can remember.
After graduating from a college in London, Shah returned to Pakistan and initially started off by helping her mother with her work. Her mother, however, only did it as a hobby as she was busy with a lot of other work, whereas Shah wanted to pursue it on a much larger scale.
Their current plan is to establish a strong and consistent presence in India.
“I think it is very important to develop a contact point with customers, and that is what our immediate focus is. Once we have achieved that, we will work towards expanding and growing,” said Shah.
And will there be fashion week participation soon?
“Many a time I have been invited to participate. However, it has not come through as yet fundamentally due to prior commitments, timing issues, and customs barriers. However, I would love to showcase a collection in India in the future,” said Shah.