Instep Today

In conversation with Mahgul

Instep Today
By Mehek Saeed
Sat, 05, 19

Mahgul as a designer has never been about getting noticed herself but about making clothes that speak for themselves. Last year, news sprung up that she’s taken the creative reigns at Sapphire and one concurrently noticed that her namesake brand had stopped producing new collections or being a part of fashion week. Earlier this year, Mahgul turned her attention back to her neglected brand and created a collection titled Between Ebony and Ivory. The name of the collection signifies what she calls the ‘gray period’ in her life – a transition from fast fashion back to her creative design work.

“Sapphire is a fast fashion brand; it doesn’t need me or any one creative entity sitting there,” she spoke about the fact that she’s realigning her work commitments. “Sapphire needs other legs to be stronger; like their marketing, production and strategy. I set up a strong design team there but I never lent it my aesthetic. With the marketing team, I came up with the brand’s own identity so it’s never associated with me and is run on auto. I am just somebody to give direction to a team but I am not the face of the brand neither did I show myself as such.”

Mahgul explained that contrary to what people think, she’s still associated with Sapphire as consultant but is now focusing her energies on her own brand.

She shared that during her full time stint at Sapphire, she’d made a conscious decision to put her own brand on the back burner, just taking usual orders but not innovating.

“My mind has been tuned to fast fashion and mass production and sometimes you need to step away and get that feeling of pure, non time related creativity that’s better for a niche brand. Working with time frames is a different ball game because Mahgul’s clients are willing to wait for the finer things, but if you miss your seasons with fast fashion, you can’t survive,” she pointed out.

Now that she’s fully back at Mahgul, she admits that missing an entire bridal season has adversely affected her brand but she purposefully steered away from her usual collaboration with Al-Zohaib textiles for lawn this year.

“That part of my creative hemisphere has been used up with Sapphire. I will however, be doing bridal week because I feel that’s what my clients missed the most about my work.” She feels there’s also a shift in the bridal wear market where people are not looking for extremely heavy heirloom pieces anymore. “There’s a huge change in their thought process. There are few brides who are getting dressed for other people, they want to feel good on their big day. They don’t want expensive bridals they’ll never wear again so the translation of fashion is something that’s really exciting me these days.”

Whether it’s making a bride’s choli adaptable to a sari blouse or her dupatta into sari pallu, Mahgul wants to hack all the possibilities.

“I want to be a part of that pulse with Pakistani fashion, thinking about whether we’re going to make it or break it. I want to be that quiet soldier who works behind the scenes, rather than as that big fashion designer. I jumped back into it before it’s too late - I don’t want my namesake to recede into the shadows,” she shared.