Having been launched more than 10 years ago by veteran designer Amir Adnan, the brand Awami was created as an economical, minimal version of the Amir Adnan design ethos. However, at that time the brand was not taken very well and ultimately it was discontinued. Recently Parishae Adnan, daughter of designer(s) Amir and Huma Adnan, with a degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, has re-launched Awami with an updated identity.
A decade later, the newly revamped Awami has a philosophy that is all about eastern power clothing for women. “The brand’s philosophy, when it was initially launched, was very different from what it is now,” shared Parishae Adnan, CEO of the brand, in an exclusive interview with Instep.
According to Parishae, she is the Managing Director at Shapar Pvt. Ltd., the company umbrella that holds the brands Amir Adnan, Huma Adnan, Craft Stories, Fnk Asia and now Awami. She’s marked as the youthful future of fashion.
Talking about the need to bring back the brand, she revealed that the re-launch of Awami is not necessarily the revamping of an old idea. “It is an entirely new entity with the same name. More because I fell in love with the name, than anything else,” she said, adding that she looks after everything, from design philosophy to supply chain, to production, distribution, sales and marketing.
Parishae continued, “Awami was launched keeping in mind a market need that I personally face on a day-to-day basis. I work six days a week from 9 to 6 and dressing in the workplace requires me to wear formal, well-tailored, eastern outfits that make an impact. No one was catering to this need and hence I thought that this gap should be fulfilled.”
Based on the philosophy of post-industrial revolution of women’s fashion in the west, the brand enables women to establish their authority in a space that is traditionally dominated by men. “It is my space just as much as it is a man’s and it is my equal right to stand and fight without feeling uncomfortable just because I am a woman,” she asserted.
On how being a daughter of two renowned designers gives her an edge over others, Parishae shared, “My parents’ legacy and company dates back over 30 years and that is my edge. Having a robust internal company system comes with experience and I feel the support and wisdom I get as advice on a day-to-day basis is what sets apart my skill set from anyone else.”
Speaking about her design philosophy, Parishae explained that it revolves around clean lines, with fabric and colours that last over time, to be worn day in and day out without losing shape or colour. “Each piece is a practical investment that can be dressed up or dressed down depending on the occasion or mood and every single cut is developed technically so that it is flattering on different body types. Very much like a suit, it is not so much about the design, but the fit,” she added. “In fact, the brand caters to any person that wants to de-clutter their lives. Anyone who is goal oriented and driven, anyone who cannot afford to be sidetracked by things like gender.”
When asked what is that one thing that she wishes she could change or influence with respect to Pakistani fashion, Parishae stated, “Actually nothing. Fashion is not about likes or dislikes, everything is subjective. As far as influence is concerned, I feel anything that has to be influential, will be, and anything that isn’t, won’t catch on.”
As for her design inspiration, Parishae shared that her inspiration comes from women’s experiences. She stressed on the fact that every single design has been made to cater to a need that has been identified through various surveys and personal experiences.
With a degree in financial economics, Parishae said that the way she thinks is very data driven and objective. However, her passion comes from being a feminist in a highly patriarchal society where every day feels like a battle to be fought.
So, what will be made available in the outlets? “I don’t think I can answer that because at the end of the day it doesn’t matter how much I have put into this brand or what you see in the outlets,” Parishae said, adding, “I could go on and on about systems and data and analytics and technical things but all of that is irrelevant. At the end of the day the only thing that matters is how you feel in my clothes and the association you make with the brand.”
When asked if fashion needs to make socio-political statements or can get away by being just pretty, Parishae said, on a concluding note, “Well, fashion is subjective and there’s nothing stopping it from doing both. Fashion, sometimes, is also seen as art and I think that’s beautiful. For Awami however, the ‘fashion’ is practicality. I wear Awami and run board meetings in a male dominated field and for me that is that making a socio-political statement.”