Interview: Sana Safinaz on Lawn & the Road Ahead!

by Secret Closet on March 09, 2013 in Interviews

Secret Closet had a delightful meeting with both Sana and Safinaz at their bustling studio a few days ago where we were thrilled to get a first preview of the Spring/Summer 2013 Lawn Catalogue and chat with the stunning team in their element. We promise you that the designs, while retaining the original Sana Safinaz lawn aesthetic have gone above and beyond what you could possible imagine! But we will let them tell you more about that in a moment. As we entered the extended bridal studio,  we got lost for a moment in a haven of signature sparkling glamorous ensembles until Safinaz had to come and collect us herself. Off we went into the open office area behind the French doors where all the mental action and fun takes place.

Glittering bridal and wedding wear

The unmistakable Sana Safinaz aesthetic

We loved the concept of the design team all sitting around a large round table with their laptops spread across and ideas flying around the room. The sense of excitement and urgency is an incredible stimulus to the entire process and we were greeted with the utmost warmth as the transcendent soundtrack from their shoot commercial produced by the amazing team of Guddu & Shani in Dubai and Thailand and composed soulfully by Shahi Hasan played softly in the background.

Mariam Rasheed part of the Sana Safinaz Design team wearing a pretty pink floral from their 2012 silk collection

Sana Hashwani & Safinaz Muneer in their element!

Q) How does it feel to know people are absolutely crazy about Sana Safinaz Lawn and the wild frenzy it causes each time you guys launch a new collection?

Safinaz: It’s extremely humbling and each year we are more and more humbled by the response we get but it also adds a lot of pressure! We have done it for 14 years now so it’s not that we haven’t done it before, but the problem is that every year when people say “They’re no. 1” we must raise the bar to meet their expectations. It is easy to get to the top but very hard to stay there so ofcourse there is pressure.

In conversation with Safinaz Muneer

Q) Can you describe the process from concept to design and finally print that goes on behind the scenes, do you have brainstorming sessions, how does inspiration strike?

Safinaz: I start way in advance because I do it alone, I don’t have a design team so it’s really frustrating and tiring, so I prefer to start really early, to give an example another designer mentioned that they completed their entire collection design in 2 months, whereas I start 8 months ahead. I am trying to develop a team but I am very bad at delegating! So there are a lot of things to sort from the dupattas and shirts to all the embroideries, it’s very time consuming. The inspiration can come from anything, we travel a lot so that exposure comes into play, it might be a color that we might see someone wear and think, “that could be translated beautifully into lawn”, we have a lot of books that we read as well it can be picked up anywhere even movies.

Sana: Safinaz does the lawn entirely on her own, I just lend the critical eye making life harder for her and we fight a lot!

The lovely Sehr Pirzada; Export Head at Sana Safinaz glowing in a grey blue print from their 2012 silk collection

“That is all embroidered” pointed out Safinaz  as she took us through the catalogue under lock & key! It appears to look like print but it’s not!

Q) What about inspiration from any international designers?

Safinaz: I love a lot of international designers but most of them do monotone clothing so it’s not really applicable to lawn printing, because at the end of the day you have to print your lawn. Although graphic prints are also trending globally I shy away from that because even though we love  designers like Peter Pilotto and Mary Katrantzou their technique is so digitalized that you can’t reproduce that for lawn. Even in cases where you could I would personally hate it for lawn, I think it looks too busy, although it works beautifully for a short dress or a shirt. You will notice our style aesthetic is very consistent and we have tried to maintain our philosophy throughout our 14 years.

An exquisite ottoman from the Sana Safinaz Home line

Q) What you can tell us about this season’s collection regarding theme, color palette, styling etc?

Safinaz: We actually design an entire collection, a lot of people don’t design ‘collections’ so for that we try to include a little bit of everything for everyone within our aesthetic. So you’ll have your whites, something dark, brights and lights so you can pick and choose and not buy multiples of the same. Some of the different trends we have used this time are fluorescent chiffon dupattas against whites with a lot of feminine lace for two of the designs, then we have included printed fabric for pants, and another thing which I believe no one has done yet are beaded necklines with mother of pearl and black beads that are very pretty.

Q) How does it feel when copies of your originals come out in the market?

Safinaz: Very angry but then there’s no one to protect you so you can kick and scream and threaten to close down their shops but a week or two weeks later they just come back. So it’s frustrating especially for the client because they suffer and it also eats away at our market even though they are extremely bad quality and the embroideries are actually printed on instead of being embroidered. So you’re getting it cheaper but the entire beauty of the jora disappears. There are legal routes and we have taken them but there is sadly no enforcer.

They were shy to pose but we got them just for you!

Q) Why Neha?

Sana & Safinaz: Neha because we just love her, she epitomizes exactly what the Sana Safinaz philosophy is all about. For the Sana Safinaz Girl which you will see in our stores opening next month we have actually used two younger girls but Neha is and always will be the Sana Safinaz Woman.

A sneak preview!

Q) Spring 2013 will see many more luxury designers enter the lawn market, what are your thoughts on the subject?

Safinaz: You know the thing is you start of with an idea and if it works and everyone realizes that it is a successful idea, everyone starts to follow. So sometimes it works but it also causes a lot of confusion in the market because everyone is doing what everyone else is doing so there’s nothing new. It would be nice to think out of the box so it doesn’t get overwhelming for the consumer as well.

More breathtaking bridals

Q) We have seen you both wear short hemlines over the past year but it seems only now that people are finally starting to accept the trend, tell us what cuts and silhouettes you have kept in mind while designing the collection this season?

Sana & Safinaz: We have been doing and wearing short hemlines for two years now, in our catalogue as well we have done a lot of short because when you see it you understand it and then you think “Oh that looks nice”,  and then you want to wear it but you don’t want to be the first one. It will definitely come in and by the end of this year most people will be wearing short. In formal we’re still going long but not trailing long, more toward a 42, 44 length and straight. All the flair and all that is gone. Pants will also be more tapered and narrow.

The lovely Sana Hashwani

Q) Tell us about the  RTW line in your flagship store and when it will go live? What lines will the store include and what is the target market for it?

Sana: You have to come and see it we will have everything from cotton, chiffon RTW to lovely Chikankari at an incredible price range. There will be accessories, T-shirts, shoes everything at a price bracket starting at Rs 3,000 to a maximum of Rs 25,000. We took a year’s sabbatical just to plan our retail and we will now open up 4 stores in a go, 2 in Karachi at Dolmen Mall and Bahadurabad, and 1 each in Lahore and Islamabad in April inshallah.

Love the large glass window with plenty of natural light and greenery

Q) We are all anxious to know if you will be participating in the upcoming fashion weeks?

Sana: Yes we will be showing everywhere there is a lot of great stuff coming up this year :)

Order from the comfort of your home at Style360Labels eStore from 18th March! Note the printed pants and detailed miniature embroidery, beautiful.

Q) What is your opinion about Secret Closet?

Sana & Safinaz: We absolutely love it! It is amazing, a great idea and with such high standards of content. I am actually a secret ‘Secret Closet’ viewer! We both are not very tech savy but the Ipad has changed our lives and we love scrolling through Secret Closet.

The zen studio entrance

And on that note we leave you with bated breath till the collections unravel! One thing’s for sure, we will be seeing a whole lot more of Sana Safinaz this year as they penetrate into further genres of fashion. The label will even be expanding their Home Interiors line with an exclusive showroom opening shortly. The Sana Safinaz SS13 Lawn Collection will be available at all leading retail stores and Style360Labels eStore from 18th March!

View the complete collection on the Sana Safinaz Profile.

Sana and Safinaz photographed by Iqra Shoukat, Copyright Lawn shoot by Guddu & Shani

2 Responses to “Interview: Sana Safinaz on Lawn & the Road Ahead!”

March 11, 2013

Hello, Can you let me know where we can buy the Sana Safinaz range (their lawn collection, bridal and RTW) in Karachi and Lahore?


    March 13, 2013
    Secret Closet

    Hi Humaira, You can buy their lawn at all retail stores like Portia, they will be putting up a list of stockists shortly, as well as through For bridal wear please visit their studio, the address is on their Profile Page. They will soon be opening up RTW stores at Dolmen Mall and Bahadurabad in Karachi in April as well!

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