Saadia Asad is one of the most leading names in Fashion industry of Pakistan. Internationally celebrated and recognized for her fusion of eastern and western stirred up trilogy and preppy trends, Saadia delivers premium styling quality and value to her customers worldwide.

Studied at London School of Economics, her goal is to take the fashion of Pakistan to a new dimension and get it recognized worldwide. From economics to patronage, Saadia is committed to her fashion role in the global community. Her creative efforts as a fashion designer and in working on series of daring designing promotions, Saadia Asad has influenced and established lasting associations with a wide range of cultural influencers and gurus. Great style, pronounced aesthetics and traditional artistry; Saadia symbolizes all these character traits, producing intricately fashioned clothing with an overt modern receptivity. Saadia Asad is a design house on one principle: elegant clothes. The characteristic of the label is a process of continuous evolution. In an interview with Sunday Plus, Saadia shares her design philosophy, her journey as a fashion designer, her likes and dislikes about her profession and much more. Following are the excerpts of interview:

When & what led you to discover your spirit of a fashion designer?

I always had an eye for beautiful clothes and styles from a very young age. In my teenage, I realized how much I enjoyed creating patterns and cuts. My very first design was for my cousin at the age of 14.At that time; I never thought I will become a fashion designer one day. However, it took me only a couple of years and allot of designing for my close family and friends that made me what I am today.

How long does it take you to make a collection, from your first idea to execution and ready to wear?

I believe in customizing outfits for my clients. I like innovating and giving new exclusive designs to all my customers. Somehow I feel that every girl wants her bridal outfit to be unique and beautiful as she has dreamed of wearing the perfect one for her special day. That’s why I don’t like repeating my designs. Bridal orders usually take 6-8 weeks from visualization to finish. We also have introduced a new line Luxury Pret which is made much faster. It takes about a week in production.

How do you select your fabrics, before or after you draw your collection? And what you look for when choosing a fabric?

I absolutely love fusing different fabrics together. Ideally I sketch the cut first and then start filling in the spaces with embroider, motifs, appliqués’ and other embellishments. I always have multiple fabrics to choose from when it comes to execution which we randomly buy .When it comes to selecting and buying of fabrics, I like to pick whatever I feel looks pretty to the eye and is of good quality. I never compromise on the quality of fabric.

What is your design philosophy? What does your brand stands for?

My design philosophy to remain simple and chic and be creative and fashion forward. It’s very important in our line to be fashion forward and know the upcoming trends and styles. If we don’t keep on innovating we can’t possibly survive in this market for too long. My brand stands for excellent customer service and good quality unique designs. My USP is my designing and customer relations which increase my clientele as I treat all my customers like my own friends and family. Which results in repeat customers.

What does fashion mean to you? And do you have any other passions besides fashion?

Fashion is about expressing your identity, showing someone who you are through your fashion choices and using your clothes to tell someone something about yourself. Or at least it is for me- I suppose for some people clothing is just about comfort or utility but for me it's about expressing myself. Seeing people wear my designs gives me immense happiness and makes me feel content.

I am quite passionate about cooking and making gourmet dishes. Unfortunately with my busy schedule I don’t get to squeeze in time for that.

What part of your job does you like the best? And Least?

I love being my own boss. I am a people’s person so I enjoy meeting new people and making friends. Over the years some of my clients have become close family friends. The part that I dislike is the small issue that arises at work due to supply chain and labor issues. They can really disturb you and get you off tract at times.

From where do you draw inspiration for your designs?

For my collections I like to go with theme based designs. At the moment we are coming up with our new line in shamoos silk called the “Saadia Asad Prints”. Me along with my team have selected a couple of themes and fused them together. We are doing a mix of moroccan with retro. Once the themes are finalized the inspiration and ideas start popping in.

What 5 words would best describe your brand?

Affordable, unique, trendy, stylised and luxurious

What is the price range of your brand?

Casuals are PKR. 2500-6000, Pret is PKR 9500-18000, Semi-Formals are PKR 18000-30000. And lastly made to order depends on the designs and how much work they have on them.

Define Pret …

Ready to wear clothing has a huge market in Pakistan and abroad. Over the past five years the trend of Pret has increased. Women don’t want to wait for months to get a particular style made. There are more impulsive buyers in the market who want outfits immediately, which have resulted for a higher demand for ready to wear outfits. It’s a great concept and I am very excited about our luxury prêt line which we launched in September 2014. Its currently available at PFDC mall one and Fashion Pakistan Lounge Lahore.

How would you define your style? If you could give women a fashion tip(s) to be fabulous, what would it be?

Simple, classy and chic. I would say a woman has to be simple and stylish at the same time to carry an outfit very gracefully. Excess of anything make a girl look over decked. So I prefer keeping it simple and stylish.

Who would you most like to see wearing your clothes?

 I would love to design a ball gown for Victoria Beckham .She is beautiful, classy and a style icon who can carry anything with a lot of oomph.

Who is your style icon(s) and why?

My style icon is Victoria Beckham. The lady knows how to dress up for different occasions. Not once I have seen her with a wardrobe malfunction. She’s smart, talented, beautiful a true beauty with brains.

What are your goals with your brand? How do you see yourself progressing?

At the moment we are working on launching my own e-store www.saadiasad.com. I want to reach out to clients globally and make it easier for the buyer to order our outfits and get them delivered anywhere in the world. I want my brand to be more accessible for clients living outside of Pakistan. My next step after this would be my lawn prints and my own flagship store in Lahore.

As a designer, what are your goals and ambitions and what are your next steps?

My goal is to launch a Saadia Asad flagship store in every big city of Pakistan and multiple outlets in Lahore. We are just stepping into textiles, so hoping this particular line is appreciated by the clients and picks up well like my other line of clothing.

Pakistan seems to be carving a path into the international market with the increase of fashion weeks being held abroad and growing retail presence, how does this translate into a larger scheme of things? What are some of the disadvantages that we need to overcome?

It results in awareness and growth of Pakistani fashion in the foreign countries, which increases the export of our clothes globally. It’s a step forward for designers and will hopefully bring in more international orders. We need better pricing on imported fabrics. I feel pure Chinese fabrics have gotten quite expensive. They should be subsidized and sold at better prices.

How comfortable and competitive is the fashion industry in Pakistan for a brand?

The fashion industry is extremely competitive. Besides the older generation of designers that are there, there is a lot of upcoming talent as well. It’s actually the survival of the fittest. If your work is good and prices are reasonable/affordable you will be able to make your place in the market. Else, the brand dies out with the first three years.

Which designers and brands have been your inspirations?

I quite like Gucci & Hermes .Gucci does everything right when it comes to colour combinations, cuts and styles. Their fashion accessories are just perfect. I love the colour combos Hermes uses in their scarfs and Birkin bags. They are so vibrant and full of life. Brighter vibrant colours are a sign of happiness and I love using those kinds of colours in my clothing line as well.

As a designer what is your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge would be time management. We have to make sure that we deliver on time and at times there are bottlenecks in pre production from labor and supply chain which can really put us in a difficult situation. So far we have been lucky always delivered on time.

What was the most valuable lesson you learned as fashion designer?

Team work is very important.

If not a designer, you’d be…

A doctor

Where are you going to stock your collection?

PFDC mall one and Fashion Pakistan lounge Lahore. It will also be available online on my e-store www.saadiaasad.com. We take customized orders at our design studio which is by appointments only.