This week You! is in conversation with jewellery designer and owner of her own brand Asma Iqbal Ahsan…
Jewellery has an unquestionable ability to bring out the best in a woman’s feature and personality. It has the power to make one feel beautiful, stylish, special and confident. In eastern wear, specifically, jewellery plays a vital role. There are many different and amazing upcoming brands in Pakistan which caters to all your Jewellery needs. Be it modern, chic, statement, subtle or desi. One of them is Zelli by AIA which is the brainchild of Asma Iqbal Ahsan. She has been working as an entrepreneur on the business set up since last year. Execution of this start-up was taken place in the beginning of 2022. Talking about where she derives her inspiration from, she says, “From nature, historical sources, world culture, fashion and countless things surrounded around us like objects, shapes etc. that we encounter everyday. My concept is to design ‘One’ article in each collection to empower the wearer and to make a statement wherever they go.” Her designs are meant for the modern women who are at also deeply connected and appreciative of their roots and culture. With this brand, they can achieve the look of being trendy and exclusive at the same time.
What makes this brand different from all the other ones out there is that each piece is designed in-house and handcrafted using the finest hypoallergic gold treated metal alloys and semi-precious stones. All of her designs have their own concept and individuality. “Making one article in each style costs us a good amount as compare to bulk manufacturing and left us with very minimum profit margins. But to keep the vision and aim to provide affordable luxury to women out there with elegance and delicacy to make her stand out,” she explains.
Asma has always been attracted by colours, unique cuts, and gems. This inspires her to make designs inspired by different significant eras or cultures. “We design Mughal inspired pieces in our collection alongside Egyptian cuts and semi-precious raw and refined stones,” she shares.
Asma has studied Business Management from UK. On her return to Pakistan, she joined a media channel as a Sales and Marketing Executive. She worked on media buying and planning for brands like Unilever and Nestle Pakistan for almost 2 years. After which she joined a well renowned international hair brand in Karachi as a Head of Business and worked very closely with local models, designers on campaigns and shoots alongside with an international brand team in UK for 9 years. “This is the beginning of my journey, with no previous experience or guidance in the jewellery industry, I have started my brand with passion, and took a leap of faith with Zelli by AiA,” she states. After working professionally for more than 10 years Asma had an epiphany that she needed to do something on her own, “I realised at some point in life, your personal development and growth stops working under influence. I started analysing my strengths and passion which led me to become my own boss,” she elucidates.
The designer believes in staying in trend with understanding of practicality and affordability but she is not willing to compromise her quality of uniqueness and sophistication in any case. “Some of our designs are the best sellers and our clients’ request us on daily basis to re-create them but we gently refuse their requests,” she stresses. “I think, the customers should select pieces to match their personal style and personality. It also allows the creativity and individualism to shine through and speak for themselves,” she adds.
Talking about her own personal style, Asma chooses comfort along with style. “I like to stay comfortable in my own skin. Classy bohemian is my way to go!” she reveals.
The artist is not afraid of being copied as most of her work revolves around customised limited edition pieces which she herself does not replicate. “They can copy the designs but not my creativity and vision,” she says with a sense of ease. When so much thought and effort is put in each piece, it is hard to find room for big changes or customisation. “We have all sorts of designs and price range for our customers to select. Yes, small adjustment in embellishment is possible on client’s request,” she imparts.
2022 is all about statement gemstone earrings, go-big studs and tops, choker necklaces, beaded pieces and pearl malas’. Colours that will rule this season will be neutrals, pink, blue, green and purple. Sharing her view on the trend, Asma tells, “I am looking forward for you all to discover and embrace gold plated choker necklaces and symbolic vintage jewellery pieces by Zelli on Eid-ul-Azha. Sparkling chokers with studded stones are eye-catching with their nautical style to accessorise with your day or night out outfits. Along with vintage gold-plated statement rings, arm cuffs and earrings portraying a bold and vivid look.”
She is currently working on her Eid-ul-Azha collection called ‘Zuri’. She also plans to open small concept jewellery stores in Pakistan.