Crimson and Saira Shakira shake things up with all-new game plan



Unstitched luxury-wear is the latest money-earner to enter the market, sidling into designer lawn’s lucrative realms and easily attracting in clientele.

Instead of cotton, luxury evening formals dabble with organza, chiffon, georgette, silk and of course, oodles of embroidery.

And the shaadi-bound bling-lovin’ masses love it – happily buying the suits, usually priced under Rs 15000. That’s a much lower-price compared to a designer bespoke creation although the latter is much more of a statement-maker compared to a five-piece unstitched wonder. Economically speaking, though, the minimalist amongst us can even devise the multiple swathes of fabric into two outfits instead of one.

The latest brand to latch onto this trend is the fledgling Crimson. Earlier this summer, Crimson debuted into the market with lawn created in collaboration with Farah Talib Aziz. Farah was also installed as Creative Director of the brand and there were talks of a soon-to-launch prêt line and multiple stores about to open in key locations.

A few months down the line, though, FTA is no longer on board and Crimson has an all-new game-plan. “We want to establish ourselves as a high-street brand that works on a varied range of designer collaborations while maintaining quality control,” explains Crimson’s CEO Anum Akram. “Internationally, collaborations like the one between H&M and Balmain set the bar for the high-street. We want to go the same route. It’s something no one else has done so far, locally.”

To this end, Crimson’s unstitched luxury line, set to release around the end of August, has been created in collaboration with Saira Shakira. The Lahore-based designer duo are well-known for their edgy, out-of-the-box fashion week collections and were one of the few who were yet to try their hand at unstitched design. What prompted Crimson, a young brand that is yet to gain a strong footing in the market, to collaborate with Saira Shakira’s unconventional atelier?

“Saira Shakira have a very modern take on fashion and hopefully, it will set Crimson apart from the others,” says Anum. “We want to be one of the movers in the business rather than the followers and for that, we need to do things differently.”

What happened, though, to the earlier business model, where Crimson had gone on record with their long-term plans alongside Farah Talib Aziz? “It was great working with Farah and the lawn did very well,” says Anum, “but there were some time commitment issues which made it difficult to continue with the association. It was tricky for them to focus on their own core business while simultaneously working with us. And Maliha Aziz, Farah’s daughter and brand manager, was often shuttling between Dubai and Karachi. It became logistically very difficult.”

Will they be working with FTA again? “You never know! This time, we have worked with Saira Shakira. Next time, it could be some other design house with its own particular ethos. And yes, perhaps it would be FTA.”

We’ll be seeing the upcoming collection on billboards soon, modeled by actress Sanam Saeed, who also featured in Crimson’s lawn campaign. Will it feature the usual market-friendly unstitched design or can we hope for the experimental? “It’s very diverse,” promises Anum. “The suits will be priced around Rs 12000 and there are conventional options as well as slightly edgy ones. We have even included suits which feature embellished fauna. We do know that a lot of women don’t buy clothes featuring animals because they feel that they can’t pray in them and so, we are going to be manufacturing these suits in lower quantities.”

“This isn’t lawn for daily wear, this is evening party-wear and so, it has to be more stand-out.”

While currently Crimson’s main aim is to gain recognition in the market, the brand hopes to open its first standalone store in Lahore by next year, extending itself beyond unstitched fabric to ready-to-wear.