Compiled by Pirah Aijaz
People often have difficulty deciding what they want to do, but Nadya Mistry knew exactly what she wanted to do. Having a passion for art, she became a fashion designer, earning a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design at the prestigious LISAA Institute in Paris.
She established her brand named as ‘Nadya Mistry’ which is one of the most eminent fashion brands. Mistry’s work receives global acclaim and recognition. A variety of elegant outfits are available in this fashion brand, ranging from Western tops and dresses to Eastern kurtas and bridal wear. She is well-known for her work, and everyone appreciates it. The pretty diva never fails to impress us with her sartorial collections.
Now, here’s a chance for her die-hard fans who want to know more about the most celebrated fashionista. So, let’s learn more about her brand and all about her journey!
1- What inspired you to become a fashion designer?
I was always into Art; sketching, painting, and delving into sculpture and music. Growing up, my parents saw my inclination toward Fashion and encouraged and supported my choice to study it. I’m extremely blessed to have ended up in the hub of fashion, Paris. Here, I studied fashion design and acquired my initial training at Cerruti in 1881. I then went to New York to complete another internship at Mary McFadden, after which I launched my eponymous label, Nadya Mistry.
2- Which aspect of your work do you love the most?
I love being an artist. I love imagining and creating. Fabric is my canvas and I feel blessed to be able to add art and beauty in people’s lives. I enjoy the entire process from dreaming of a design to sketching, visualizing, creating, embellishing and manufacturing it. It’s always wonderful to see the outfits materialize!
3- Describe the challenges you experienced in the early stages of your career.
From a recent interview:
‘When I decided to open my store in 2000, it was still a novel idea in Pakistan; A young woman opening a boutique in a new mall in a metropolis like Karachi— never happened! Not just that, I was a girl who went to study fashion design! in Paris!! Both ‘studying fashion’ and ‘studying in Paris’ were unheard of in Pakistan in the early 90’s. After completing my internships in Paris and New York, I wanted to come back to Karachi and make a difference here. Most of the designers were working from home at that time. And I’m pretty sure, no one had studied fashion. I was determined to do things professionally. I didn’t let my age or sex or people’s opinions deter me. With the support of my father and the rest of my family, I hired an extremely talented architect to create a unique, New-Age boutique. I wanted to create awareness of fashion, to create the right ambience for my offerings-I wanted to give people Paris in Karachi! I opened my store in March 2000. It was not easy. I had to literally create a system from scratch. No one knew how to sell designer clothes in a boutique, no one understood the requirements of a fashion store, the tags, the bags, the boxes etc. everything had to be imagined from the beginning. There were no precedents, no professional samples. I introduced the black, formal, jacket-suit- uniform culture for sales staff, all designers and other clothing stored followed suit. Till today almost all the stores have maintained that trend. I trained my sales staff 6 months pre-launch. They needed to understand where I was coming from, what I was trying to do, my ethos, the uniqueness of my label, my creativity, my ambition. I revolutionized fashion in Pakistan. Many people know it, but very few want to admit it. Till today the Pakistan Fashion Industry is too busy playing dirty politics and fighting insecurities to look at the bigger picture. I was and am a vocal, visionary, trying to shake people and change mindsets.
In the 2000s, some people viewed my non-traditional designs as ‘Western’’. Today, two decades later, designers are taking cues from my work and are calling these ‘Fusion’. My label ‘Nadya Mistry || Paris Karachi’ was launched before I started my boutique. In fact, I designed and manufactured the tags when I was still in fashion school and put them on my graduation collection. I was a trained designer. I knew about the seasons, the fashion lines, the different labels…everything there was to know about Fashion. So when I launched my store, I launched my Prêt-a- porter label, ‘Future par Nadya Mistry’, as well. In the mid 2000s, I came up with my men’s line, which I called ‘Mistry Man’. Designers and brands in Pakistan are now doing ‘Ready to Wear’! But funnily, they still haven’t grasped the term. Pret or Ready to wear are not outfits that have print and embroidery and everything else combined to give the illusion of value for money! In an economy like Pakistan, RTW outfits can’t be priced at say PKR 10 K minimum. That’s ridiculous!
I can easily claim that I was the very first designer to give the option of replacing the traditional, costume-like ‘bottom, the shalwar’ with pants. In my opinion, it gave the outfit a more pleasing, wearable and global look and feel. Today, almost every designer pair their tops with pants but no one has ever recognized or given me credit for this creative input.
I don’t see myself as a ‘Pakistani’ designer, but a ‘Global’ designer. My clothes are appreciated by a wide audience ranging from traditional Pakistanis to fashionistas in the West! I love doing shows and working for clients abroad. I feel more understood, encouraged and accepted there. Although I’ve kept a low profile locally for a few years, I have been doing regular shows in the US and other markets. There’s so much to do in fashion in Pakistan and internationally and I hope to achieve some major milestones with solid collaborators and investors.’
4- Each design you create is unique. How do you manage to stay so creative and where do you normally find inspiration for your collections?
Creativity is innate. I really don’t have to try hard to be unique. I get inspired by different elements and events in my life; a movie, a mood, a circumstance. it could be anything really, but I feel what invigorates me is my reaction to those things and situations.
5- As a fashion designer, how would you compare past and present fashion trends?
Fashion is forever changing. Yet, it has always taken inspiration from past decades; the events, costumes, trends etc.
6- Fashion designers all have a personal fashion style statement they follow. We would like to know what your style statement is.
As a person and as a designer, I like to learn and evolve. My style has always been a fusion of my love of Eastern art and my own Western sensibilities. I love innovation, I love most things new and contemporary but I also have a deep adoration of the past. I also enjoy working with color. I like to create unique, individualistic pieces with a strong personality!
7- In what direction do you see the fashion industry going in the next few years?
Pakistani Fashion Industry? It’s stale, stagnant, and extremely behind compared to the world fashion scene. I wish designers would step up and out of the Kurta culture!
8- What advice do you give aspiring and emerging fashion designers?
Stay inspired. Stay current.
Knowing all about Nadya Mistry now, here we can say that she is an inspiring role model for those who are new to fashion or who want to launch their career in a similar field.
Hope you enjoyed reading it!