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RAW Amir Adnan

THE MAGAZINE

Interview with
Amir Adnan
by Ahmed Hayat
What is the one thing that makes you
different from other designers in the
field of fashion?

Smiles before answering; you see there


are two things which I concentrate on
pursuance of a hobby and business.
I have converted my hobby into my
business.

Some people in this industry just


do fashion designing for the sake of
pursuing an art. For example they
are just interested in the creative part
of it and they are not involved in the
business side. For me both the sides
are equally important. I am probably
the first designer in Pakistan who
has commercialized the business
of fashion. I guess this is one thing
unique that I have. Now there are a lot
of people who are following the same
line. I came up with a realistic fashion
not the one which looked nice and
creative on paper but actually nice on
people as well. be writing stories for children. This is different language. I have just translated
something that is in me. that heritage into my own vocabulary
How did you start fashion designing? which is more understandable to a wide
I believe in turning things around which spectrum of people and that is what
By sheer coincidence actually, I started don’t exist. I feel that everything is there made the difference.
making ties for myself as a hobby. I use you just need to rearrange the elements
to wear my ties to work and people and they will look totally different. After Tee Jay you are the second
used to appreciate them. They wanted designer to receive “Pride of
to buy them from me and that gave This is exactly what I have done in Performance”, how does it feel to be
me the idea that there was a market of Pakistan I have just rearranged the regarded as ‘the man who has been
these kinds of things. I made some ties elements. S halwar kurta was always responsible for reviving the Sherwani
and started selling them. It worked! So there Sherwani was always there, it’s an and taking it into the realm of haute
I quit my work opened a shop and this age old garment. I have just rearranged couture’?
is where I am today. some of the elements and I have made
the same things more fashionable and It is good and I am happy about it
What was your motivation in globally acceptable. This is the thing I because you see the country has now
designing a label when Pakistan am always up to so this is what I thought taken fashion designing as a serious
was still learning the meaning of of when I started fashion in Pakistan . profession. People never took fashion
fashion? designing as a profession at all and I am
This question was always in my mind; one of the few people who did.
My motivation, I always thought if I why there is no concept of fashion in
was not a fashion designer I would Pakistan ? We have all the ingredients - After completing my MBA and working
be doing something which would be we have the culture, we have the design in a bank, I gave up everything to
indigenous. Which would be creative, sense, we have talent, we have a lot of pursue a career in fashion designing.
commercializing creativity or I would rich heritage that I could develop on but This just proved to everybody that this
that heritage had to be translated in a guy is serious; he is not an artist who

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RAW Amir Adnan
THE MAGAZINE

has got his feet up in the air and empty see that Pakistan would be featured in clientele. I would not be a choice of a
pockets. He is not a person who is just a lot of things. rock star or a Bollywood star but I would
pursuing art for the sake of art but has be the choice of a top industrialist or a
a lot of business sense. India was not featured in all these things top government official.
say twenty years ago. Did you think
Especially when I turned fashion that India would have a Miss Universe What motivated you to open a outlet
designing around I made commercial or Miss World? You could not but ten in Dubai?
sense out of what ever I made. I proved years ago. People did come up, so it is
to everybody that fashion is a business just a matter of time before Pakistan It is a step towards expanding in the
and a serious one. Getting the Pride of reaches that point. rest of the world; Dubai is the first
Performance is an authentication of stepping stone. We want to globalize
fashion as a business; a serious field Once it does it will start proving itself. our business and we have started with
which people could pursue. It is all bound to happen as the next Dubai . We also have some presence in
global market is in this part of the America but Dubai is where we have
I am very happy that I could turn this world it’s not going to be the west; it opened a full fledge fashion store. We
tide around and I could give a new is the east that is going to take over the are planning on entering the Indian
direction to the youth to follow. I gave west. If you notice all around you, we and Bangladeshi market probably by
people in Pakistan a completely new are the biggest market then the rest. next year. It is just easy to come here
profession to follow. In movies, in music, in fashion; east is compared to India .
just coming up. Eventually the tide is
Tell us some thing more about the going to turn away form the west and But don’t you look at Dubai as a
Fashion Council of Pakistan? towards the east. When it does turn western hub?
towards the east, Pakistan being in the
When ever fashion develops it needs to east is bound to benefit. It’s all a matter Not exactly, Dubai is a wonderful
be collected on a platform and hence of time but eventually the competition amalgamation of all cultures in the
it needs a council. Like the garment is going to be among these countries world. When I walked in the first mall to
industry started and an association was and the west would follow. buy a shop I confronted a person who
formed. In the same way the association asked me a very good line; “Are your
of fashion is called the Fashion Council Your clientele include Mr. Musharraf, clothes capable of attracting people
of Pakistan. In the Fashion Council of Mr. Vajpayee and Mr. Karzai; what from sixty five different nationalities, if
Pakistan there are two councils at the is it in your work and your design so then you deserve a shop in our mall”.
moment. that attracts prominent figures This got me thinking where else would
like them? I get people from sixty five different
They are still developing, everything nationalities looking at my products.
is still at its initial stages and it will You see the kinds of clothes I make No where in world!
take sometime to mature. It is only are meant to make the wearer look
after they have done something and his status. As I said that my clothes are If I go to India or Bangladesh I am only
either or both the councils manage to a symbol of achievements, so those targeting a certain group of people, I
put all the designers together to give a people who have achieved a lot in life am catering to one taste of preference.
more stable platform for fashion as an are automatically drawn towards this If I am successful in Dubai I am actually
industry that they will be successful. I kind of clothing. When they look at targeting too many nationalities at the
think it is definitely good and it should it they say this is what we should be same time; which is exactly what my
have happened a long time ago. wearing; it suits their stature. client base is in Dubai .

Looking at these councils can we see If you want me to define my style in a I have designed clothes for them who
Pakistan taking part in Miss World few words it would be elegant, sober, have no link with Pakistan as such right
or any other International beauty conservative and yet stylish. These are now I have done a wedding in Germany.
contest? the four things that people of the above So you see Dubai is not a western hub
stature are looking for. They cannot it’s a multi-national hub.
Why not? I don’t see any reason; it is be flamboyant, yet they don’t want to
just a matter of time when we would be dull and they want to wear stylish Moving on to something about you.
be able to see all these things. You see clothes. They are looking for very Who is Aamir Adnan?
every thing takes time “Rome was not good quality and finishing; we offer all
built in a day” but if you look at what Aamir Adnan is a person who is deeply
these things. We have a lot of designer
Pakistani fashion was fifteen years ago, rooted in his origins and has a vision
flair within that parameter which is
ten years ago, five years ago and now of everything around the world. Aamir
otherwise difficult to achieve. This is
there is a definite incline. There is a Adnan himself is a very dynamic
the balance we have achieved and this
progression in everything. I do hope to individual and does not believe in
is why we attract the above mentioned

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RAW Amir Adnan
THE MAGAZINE

stagnation. Life is all about movement You favorite photographer? We have brought a part of Pakistan
and it is a dynamic process; this is my with us and I would like to see dozens
basic philosophy of life. In Pakistan it is definitely Khawar Riaz, of more stores like that. As far as the
I have not worked with any one else people of Dubai are concerned they
I am a very domesticated person- I love much so cannot comment on them. have not seen the best of Pakistan ,
people, I love family, I love holding on they have just seen the tip of the ice
to people who are dear to me, I value Tell us some thing about Fnk Asia ? berg. The main chunk is yet to come
relationships and I believe in long term in; when it does then they will see what
relationships. Fnk Asia is something Huma, my wife,
Pakistan has to offer.
has started. It is just a diversion from
The process of making clothes? what we do. Aamir Adnan is more Do you have an interest in politics?
sober, elegant and more for men.
There are several processes. I have Fnk Asia on the other hand promotes Yes, to a certain extent I do. I believe
got many people working with me so youth & freedom of spirit. It is wild in doing things for the country rather
we have different teams for different and bold in colors- it is predominately then sitting at a table and talking about
things. There is a team who selects for women. There is this difference what others should or should not do.
fabrics, there is a team who designs between the schools of thoughts and
and predicts what are going to be the hence they are two different labels. It I believe in doing things on my own.
colors for the next season and then the is produced by the same house and We want to eliminate poverty from our
colors are finalized by me. the same set of designers. It is done by country and what we have done is we
the same people but with difference in went to the interiors of the country and
Then there is the purchasing team concepts. In Fnk Asia new designs and got hold of women who are very good
which goes out in the market and new colors are introduced every three at their craft. We pick them up with
notes down the quality fabrics which to six months. the help of the government, get them
suit the color theme. The whole team to Karachi to our factory then we train
sits down and decides on the design Designer wear is normally considered them, give them work and send them
and then we produce sample products. for the elite society. Any comments? back to their villages. We then repeat
Once it is finalized by me, it is put in the cycle with another set of people.
to production and then shipped down Not necessarily, it depends. Couture
to our showrooms all over. A very is meant for the elite society. Couture It is our target at Aamir Adnan and
mechanical process is followed. means very high quality, made keeping Funk Asia to give work to a set of five
the client in mind. Aamir Adnan does hundred people every year. There are
What are your hobbies? couture but Aamir Adnan also does a lot of people working in a village
clothes which are off the shelf and very called Dadu where they are producing
The best I would like to do is sit in front affordable. Anyone walking in could go a lot of things for Funk Asia. This is my
of TV with my kids and watch cartoons. for them. They are at a very reasonable politics.
If I am not doing that I would be reading price, and that is how we promote Funk
them a story book. I love spending Asia. This is how I empower my country.
what ever spare time I have with my Until and unless individuals like my
family. I love gardening, I love looking Essentially Funk Asia doesn’t do self wake up and play our role there
at flowers, and I love to see things grow. couture so I don’t think fashion has is no point of sitting and saying that
I love creation. anything to do with price any more; Musharraf should not do what he has
not in this world. It used to be like that done.
Your favorite model? say two decades ago when fashion
was considered only for the rich and I read the news paper I know what is
In Pakistan there is this guy called famous. Zara is a prime example- it is going on round but I am a doer. I want
Abdullah with whom I have worked a very fashionable yet at a very nominal to actually reach out and do things
lot. He is really good I don’t do much price. myself. This is politics for me.
of women’s clothes so can’t say about
them but I think Vaneeza Ahmed is What is your evaluation of Pakistani What about your views on religion?
nice. Internationally I am a great fan fashion at present in Dubai ?
of Naomi Campbell. If you see right Religion is part and parcel of every
now the concept of super model has Pakistan has got its own distinct mark. I body’s life. I would quote a very vague
finished. You have a super looking would like to see a lot more of Pakistan example I heard Madonna’s interview
model in every country. You got some in Dubai which I don’t at the moment. once and she said everyone has their
Russians coming in and some Chinese Pakistan has a lot of beautiful things own God and she was so true. No
models have done fabulous work. So I to offer the only thing is its not being matter how inclined or how spiritual
can’t mention any one in particular. offered in Dubai . you are everyone has their own version

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RAW Amir Adnan
THE MAGAZINE

of religion & of God. Everyone has a are just a waste of time. They end up have an inner talent and if you don’t,
set of believes and all these believes entertaining people rather than making it might still help in getting behind the
differ. To me religion is something an effect on them. People come look at scenes like into production, purchase
I can practice; to me religion is not the models, talk to each other and just and all which is very important.
something I would like to talk about, it leave, not keeping in mind the clothes.
is something I would like to do.
You also did some reality show. Tell
If during my daily activities I am dealing us about your experience?
with you fairly then I can impress you
to follow the religion. If you have a Yes I did it. Basically for the launch of
financial transaction with me and I do Fnk Asia, we decided to have new faces
fair business with you at the end of the and people for Fnk Asia. Funk Asia has
day you say this was a good person I become the street wear of Pakistan ;
did business with. If it is according to street wear is bridging the gap between
what my religion teaches me then I what is in fashion around the world.
have done justice to the religion. I thinkThis came in existing when we came
I follow the act not the words. back from Italy and what we saw on
the streets of Italy was definitely a
When twelve people from Saudi Arabia fashion statement.
went to Indonesia to do business,
all of the Indonesians converted to Everybody was wearing dissimilar
Islam just looking at their conduct and clothes and when we saw Pakistan there
because of their preaching. They were was uniformity in people’s fashion. Fnk
so impressed by the twelve merchants Asia is getting the best of that kind of
that they accepted their way of life; fashion at a very reasonable price. So
they accepted their religion so if I can in order to do that we did the reality
convert someone to my way of life then show, we told people to come forward.
I would think that I have done justice to We got three thousand entries and we
myself and my religion. short listed it to twenty people who
wanted to become models. They were
Any plans of designing jewelry or the new faces of Fnk Asia.
furniture?
Tell us something about your team?
Oh yes definitely. Jewelry and furniture
are very much next in line. I am Aamir Adnan is not an individual, it is
working with the team of USAid, the team work. It is a composite of four
government of Pakistan and the hundred people. For example this
jewelers of Punjab . We will be changing person Basit handles everything in
the shape around like what I did with Dubai ; it is nice to see him work here. I
the shalwar kurta . The government is have a brilliant team; it is great to work
using my imagination to convert the with them. It is just like a small happy
jewelry & furniture to that form which family.
would be highlight Pakistan .
Your advice for upcoming designers?
Are you planning a Fashion show in
Dubai ? First of all get in to a fashion school.
It will help you to get to know the
No I am not; but if it comes in my way technicalities of fashion. Getting into
then yes. I am not the kind of person a fashion school and getting a degree
who arranges shows and stuff. My doesn’t make you a fashion designer; it
fashion show is when my customer is a unique tendency to become fashion
walks out of my showroom happy & designer. It is similar to if you have a
satisfied. When a groom is wearing my good voice and on top of that if you get
clothes at a wedding it is my fashion some training you shine well.
show.
If you really want to get in this business
I concentrate on people not on shows. I then get in to a fashion school. Get some
avoid doing shows because I think they training but that is not just it, you should

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