You’ve heard the brewing chatter and the circulating whispers about an exciting new venture, here’s the full story! Introducing Crimson by Farah Talib Aziz, an extremely fresh and vibrant young collaboration that shows every sign of being a top dog in the lawn brigade for SS’16. With the beloved design team of Farah Talib Aziz and Maliha Aziz of FTA at the creative helm and the established and seasoned production house led by Anam Akram of Crimson at the wheel, the recipe has all the right ingredients for success. We visited the team during design completion stages and were immediately impressed by the contagious fervour and unabashed excitement of these two girls as they described their efforts as nothing short of a labour of love. Coupled with a clear vision of their strategy and some delightfully creative ideas that will become apparent in the coming weeks, lets hear from Maliha and Anum on exactly what you should look forward to with Crimson by FTA this March with exclusive sneak peeks at the lovely patterns and colors!
The Crimson by FTA SS’16 Mood Board
How was the idea of Crimson first born? What did you feel was lacking in the market that Crimson could contribute ?
Anum: My company was producing for high street brands all over Pakistan so with years of experience in production and quality behind us, launching our own high street brand made a lot of sense. The R2W market in Pakistan is expanding and although a lot of brands are coming up, the market lacks every day clothing at highly competitive prices that translates a high end haute couture aesthetic and design sensibility to the high street ready to wear consumer.
Maliha Aziz – Farah Talib Aziz Design Team
How did the Crimson and FTA collaboration come about? Anam what about the FTA brand made you choose them for this project and Maliha what about the Crimson ideology attracted you to partner up in this project?
Anum: While producing for high street brands all over Pakistan, I realised that design holds critical value for the increasing style aware consumer – with easy access to the latest trends and fashion do’s and don’t via instagram and ramp fashion, the high street no longer has space for mediocre designs! I absolutely love the FTA aesthetic and how it translates to the high street – the most gorgeous colors, new yet wearable motifs and beautiful attention to detail at every step! I knew I only wanted to work with FTA – we didn’t speak to anyone else about this collaboration.
Maliha for FTA: We believe that pret is the future. The opportunity to bring our brand aesthetic to high street retail at highly affordable prices was an exciting new venture. Its a great way for us to bring our brand to a commercial forefront and into every day ready to wear. This partner ship allowed us to focus on the creative side without worrying about the production, execution and customer services avenues.
Tell us more about the first product line you are launching i.e the lawn collection.
Anum: We are very excited about this collection – the unstitched side consists of 11 designs and departing from the norm only 5 of them have two colorways. We have intentionally not added a colorway to every design because we want to ensure each is beautiful in its own right and a colorway hasn’t been added simply for the sake of optimising production. Apart from this we are also introducing 8 pret kurtas in limited quantities. These are very edgy and very different!
Anum Akram of Crimson with the Farah Talib Aziz, Maliha Aziz and the Crimson/FTA team
Hand painted prints
What are some of the things we can expect from the design to the fabric that will make it stand out from the myriad lawn designers currently in the market or launching for the first time as well this season?
Anum: The most beautiful summer colors, composed hand painted original prints, exquisite embroideries – each one different from the other, very fine fabrics (be it lawn, silk, chiffon or jacquard) and excellent printing quality.
Maliha for FTA: We have worked very hard on our lawn and are hoping that our designs speak for themselves. Each of them feature a specific element from our evolving theme of old world glamour and classic charm. Along with lawn we are also releasing the 8 exclusive ready to wear kurtas that are really unique and wearable for the season.
FTA is well known for its iconic pastel and feminine color palette, will this same aesthetic be an identifying feature of Crimson? What shades can we hope to see in the Crimson for FTA collection?
Anum: Yes! Crimson intends to make women feel like their most beautiful selves! We love the FTA aesthetic and are very excited to see how the FTA team develops and adapts that aesthetic for the high street. Our kurtas are a very new take on the iconic FTA aesthetic – you’ll love them!
Maliha for FTA: Yes! we will have our signature aesthetic very evident through out the collection. However we are using the most gorgeous shades that we have not used before such as Wedgwood blue, Dahlia Mauve, Parakeet, Dijon yellow. They have a a variety from pastels to candy shades to darks however the collection still holds a soft feel to it rather than a stark or glaring appeal.
Anum Akram and Maliha Aziz
What will be the price philosophy at Crimson and who do you expect to be your largest competitor?
Anum: We are working on a model of low margins and large volume. The idea is to offer a high end, luxurious aesthetic at very affordable prices. That means we never lift prints off the internet, we never repeat a motif, print it and stitch it into a shirt. Every print, even for pret, takes weeks of work to be perfected. Every print has its own mood board and tells a different story. Every embroidery is sampled time and again until it is perfect. Yet we will never over-charge! We want our kurtas to start at Rs. 2500 and our unstitched lawn to start at Rs. 5990 but the final costing is yet to be determined.
What’s next after the lawn launch for Crimson, tell us about the retail plan outline and the product range?
Anum: Right after our launch, we gear up Crimson on chain of retail stores! These will open in time for Eid Inshallash and offer pret, unstitched lawn, a variety of lowers, luxury pret and unstitched fabric.
What is your working relationship like, describe a typical conversation between Maliha and Anam at the workshop? What are each of your creative strengths?
Anum: Maliha and I are very similar in many ways – we both stay up till 4am thinking about our work. We prioritize work over most other things and we are constantly exchanging ideas and pushing our own boundaries. A typical conversation starts with design technicalities for production goes onto discussing marketing strategies and what each of us is most occupied with. If we don’t hear from each other for more than 6 hours, we start wondering what’s wrong!
Maliha for FTA: I think we have very similar mind sets and its easy to bounce ideas off each other. I think we prioritize the same strategies and have a very similar work ethic. I think we are both comforatable with the fact that we have no “off’ hours for work. If something needs to be done it will be done even if its 2am!
Maliha do you think it will be hard to separate the line dividing FTA for Crimson and FTA the luxury design house? How will you retain and protect both identities?
Maliha for FTA: We’ve made the distinction between FTA and FTA for Crimson very clear. It is the first time we have designed lawn ready to wear which is exclusively for crimson so is our lawn, we will not be making these collections for the FTA label.
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