The Secret Word: Brazil & Lawn from Khadijah Shah’s Lens
Social media forums have been swooning over teaser videos as well as breathtaking pictures of Elan’s shoot in Brazil. We present you, an exclusive word with the lawn maven herself, Khadijah Shah. Having won awards for best lawn previously, Khadijah has proved to be one of Pakistan’s most intelligent and successful designers, with a vision that she executes with all her energy and passion. She danced and smiled to the melody of Brazilian culture, and brought a piece of it back for all of us in Pakistan to relish and excite over. Check out the full interview below as she discusses her love for the beautiful city of Salvador, her humility towards being interviewed by BBC and what else she’s working on!
With lawn season upon us, can you tell us about your lawn collection for this year? How was the creative process and how did you pick Brazil? How does the choice of location reflect the designs?
When I started conceptualizing Lawn 2018, it was the vibrant energy of a festival and its bevy of colors, similar to those of the Carnival of Brazil that I wanted to capture. This set the direction for the collection. My team and I then did extensive and exhaustive research, studied international forecasts and trends, sourced different fabrics, and worked with new and indigenous embroidery techniques to put together this years lawn – a collection that explores the inimitable spirit of the Élan woman. The beautiful city of Salvador, with its rich culture, heritage and colonial architecture was an obvious choice for the backdrop to our lawn campaign. In all its glory and grandeur, it mirrored the overall bohemian and versatile theme of the collection.
What did you love most about Brazil and the cities visited? How was your trip as a whole?
We were unfortunately on a tight and extremely hectic schedule when we were in Brazil, and only got the chance to fully explore Salvador, the city for our shoot. It is home to beautiful world heritage sites, historic churches, and lots of fun squares, arcades and shops. One of my favourites was definitely the São Francisco Church and Convent of Salvador. The grandeur of the church, its ornate woodwork, and splendid Baroque interior is absolutely mind-blowing. It is full of life – the energy, colours and general vibe were phenomenal. Every corner was buzzing with the beat of drums. We’ve tried our best to capture the mood of the city; I would recommend you follow our campaign videos to fully understand the vibe I am talking about.
Last year a lot of Elan fans were unable buy before the designs were sold out especially online. This year have you increased the supply at all or added more stockists? Will you stock your lawn differently this year?
Due to popular demand, we have more than doubled our stock this year, as we would love for all our loyal fans and customers to get their hands on their favourite lawn designs. We have also supplied many more stockists, both around the country and internationally, making sure Élan lawn is more accessible. We have also revamped our Elan website, and worked hard on our E-store to be able to better serve our Elan customers, both in Pakistan and abroad.
Elan has been making strides by winning best lawn’s at LSA’s two years in a row and your bridals are at the top of every bride’s lists – how do you plan on maintaining this winning streak you have going on? What is your best kept secret to success?
There really is no secret; it is all about innovation, hard work and the ability to deliver. I make sure that each of our collections is different and stands out from what is available in the market. It is an extremely competitive market, so it is important for us to stay on top of our game, introducing new trends, delivering high quality products and forever raising the bar, in terms of design, quality and of course, marketing.
When you first started Elan, did you have any concerns?
Not at all, I was extremely confident about my designs. I always aim for the best, and have strived to bring forth the best of fashion in Pakistan. Of course, I have also had extremely good luck, a great team to work with, and of course, clients who keep wanting more.
What is your take on the cuts for this lawn season and summer collections in general?
The Pakistani market has evolved overtime and is now more experimental to say the least. People are open to new silhouettes, and are willing to play around with more distinctive cuts. I always find it interesting to see how designers, and clients themselves, infuse eastern silhouettes with western.
Are there any new and exciting projects you’re currently working on or plan to work on?
There have been a number of new and exciting projects that I have worked on this year. I launched our Essentials and Indigene lines, ready-to-wear at a more competitive price point, which was extremely well received. I launched a capsule collection of six digital print saris, which were sold out on the first day. We’re currently working on this years festive collection, which will be launching in May this year. Apart from this, I am also working on a few other projects, which are currently in their initial stages of planning so I don’t want to give too much away.
When can we look forward to Elan’s store opening in Karachi?
The Karachi store will be opening doors later this month. It is a beautiful, artistically curated space, done up by my dear friend and immensely talented Yousaf Shahbaz. I am extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to work with him, as he truly understands Élan’s aesthetic and vision.
Which are your favorite lawns from your collection this year?
As clichéd as it sounds, it’s extremely hard to choose. After spending hours, days, and weeks on each design, one really falls in love with all the designs. However, if you must make me choose, I would shortlist three designs Ipanema, Vera Cruz and Pelorino which have found a special place in my heart this season.
You were recently interviewed by BBC in which they asked you about your label and what it represents. How did that whole experience make you feel? Were you intimidated?
I am generally a little conscious in front of the camera, but talking about my brand and work is something that I am at ease with, so I wouldn’t qualify the experience as being an intimidating one. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am intensely passionate about my work and can speak about it for hours on end, so the experience was a very comfortable one for me. It is a great honour to speak about your brand and creations on such a distinguished platform, so for me it was a truly humbling yet proud moment.