“Fashion is a business and business is an art,” - Altaf Maaneshia

  • 02 May - 08 May, 2020
  • Eman Saleem
  • Interview

A good success story writes itself, powered by burning passion, diligence and undeterred determination. Bringing for our readers today, is Altaf Maaneshia’s. The first Pakistani designer to showcase his collection on the prestigious ramps of New York Fashion Week (NYFW), Maaneshia is a Pakistan-based international designer that has credits to his portfolio which is the stuff of dreams for any aspiring and even well-established designer. His is quite a story to tell. Hailing from a village, the owner of luxury brand Altaf Maaneshia sets an example of how all limits are very much challengeable. Maaneshia has worked with multiple brands like H&M, Nordstrom and more until he launched his own titled as his namesake. Recently, he brought to the fashion scene, a comfortable street fashion brand titled ‘Stitch Bonded', a venture that caters to people who want the hip and happening. Maaneshia prioritises manufacturing products locally, showcasing it to the international market and making is more accessible. We get in touch with the ace designer to pick his brains about all things fashion and he shares with us a snippet of his learning from his pool of exposure, expertise and knowledge.

How much of your personal style segment goes into your designs?

I always push my own style as much as I can but let me explain this further. I am into a business that requires not only artistic skills but also business skills, a combination of both is fashion. To be honest, fashion is a business and business is an art. I keep all these things in mind and you can say this is my style of doing business in fashion.

Introduce us to your creative process. How does inspiration find you?

It starts with an inspiration and then we make a mood board, research board assortment plan to forecast fashion for the next season. Once that it done, we make sketches, then prototypes and production.

Tell us about the dreaded creative block, is it real?

It is real and worse; it lasts for a long time. This block usually happens when you are going through a difficult time and dealing with other things. Creativity is all about happiness. I think it is very important for a person to be happy when he is creating something new. Happiness adds soul to the work.

What makes Altaf Maaneshia different from everything else that is out there?

My journey and experiences make me and my work different. You will hardly see people with a background like me. This gives me an edge to take more risks, think differently, and focus on the bigger picture. I do not get afraid very easily because I have already seen the worst.

As per your understanding and experience, how is the Pakistani fashion industry different from the US?

We are different from each other and the reasons are obvious. We have a different background, culture and history. Our textile is full of colours, beautiful variety of rich fabrics, embroideries, embellishment etc. USA is a completely different market, its more about western street wear and ready-to-wear.

What do you think the fashion fraternity in Pakistan needs to work on?

We need to bridge the gap between western fashion industry and local. We both are different and strong in our own way. This bridge will not only give exposure but will also help us learn lots of things from each other. Alone we can go fast but together we can go far.

What does it take to make it to where you stand today?

Listen to people but don’t always do what they say. Educate yourself so that you can filter knowledge from information. Don’t define yourself by others’ success. Embrace failure. Focus on your goal and not on people. Believe in God, always have faith even if you are in the worst situation and be very kind.

What is your personal style statement?

I like to wear something edgy; I wear all kinds of clothes as long as I like them, except for loose trousers or bottoms. I don’t believe in rules or formulas. My body, heart and mind are evolving every day and I want to ensure that I keep myself open to graciously accepting the changes.

On an unhappening day, what kind of dressed does one find you?

Different types of shorts, joggers and jeans, t-shirt with rolled sleeves, you will always see my shirt tucked in from just from one side and paired with casual shoes.

Will we ever see you bringing your collection to ramps at home?

Definitely! I love Pakistan, so why not. I am just waiting for the right opportunity. •