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Covering up en vogue

A traditional Eastern woman’s winter wardrobe could be diagnosed as deficient in style without that elegant draping with intricate detailing also referred to as a shawl. These delicately tailored pieces have found place not only in wardrobes but have also become timeless heirlooms to be passed down to generations.

For Hassan Shehryar Yasin (HSY) who resides in Lahore, the idea for designing shawls and embarking on this winter odyssey came about two years ago. “We introduced the concept of getting signature HSY shawls with outfits in 2012 with our City of Gardens collection. Since then, we have been giving all our clients the option of getting shawls made with their outfits — especially during the winter season.”

laborating on what kind of shawls are mostly preferred, he asserts, “Clients tend to ask for intricately embroidered shawls that pair well with their outfits. They like to keep warm while still retaining the elegance a shawl adds to any ensemble.”

He further adds, “Our shawls are made to compliment the outfit they come with — predominantly using velvets and raw silks and embroidering them with signature HSY embellishments.”

Karachi-based designer Wardha Saleem, has been designing shawls for the past seven years. “From crafting shawls with single resham threads to shawls with elaborate embroideries, and block-printed shawls — I design them all.”

Are people willing to pay a higher price for good quality designer-wear shawls though? “There is surely a market for shawls. I would say there’s a niche market for embroidered shawls because of their high price tag but surely there is a market for block printed and lightly embroidered shawls at a mass level, due to their affordable price,” said Saleem.

HSY unearths his philosophy on consumer preferances, saying, “I think people are willing to pay a lot more for shawls as they are timeless pieces and can be used for generations to come.” Further, he says, “Expats love shawls as they are a true representation of Pakistani heritage and look fabulous with Western clothes. I get orders from both my international and local clients.”

Why more designers are not tapping into the market, HSY says, “I think the expertise required in designing shawls and getting experienced workers who can do such intricate work are extremely hard to find, hence designers shy away from this.” Saleem, however, disagrees. She beleievs that a lot of designers are making shawls and now a lot of lawn designers are coming up with their shawl collections and catering to the masses.

If given a chance to export shawls to the global market, HSY is more than willing to do so, saying, “Why not. I will be very excited to show my work internationally as long as it coincides with the values of my brand.”

Updated: 12/25/2014  


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