Hassan Sheheryar Yasin (HSY) talks to Fashion Central

HSY is primarily a bridal house which specialises in couture and is best known for combining contemporary silhouettes with traditional techniques of old. Indeed this synthesis is the cornerstone of the design philosophy at HSY. The brand’s inspiration is distinctly Pakistani and Middle Eastern peppered with Western influences.

Hassan Sheheryar Yasin (HSY) is successfully running his outlets all over the world, and is endowed with design mania. Hassan Sheheryar Yasin has approximately 14 clothing display centers worldwide; one in United Kingdom, one in Saudi Arabia, two in USA, four in UAE, and six in Pakistan. In Pakistan, he has two in Karachi, two in Islamabad and two in Lahore. HSY, who is a very generous and humble man by nature, has been serving the world of Style & Fashion since 1994.
Now Fashion Central experienced an interactive communication with HSY, in order to update its visitors about the current work status and all about Hassan Sheheryar Yasin (HSY).
As HSY is an established name and has so much to his credit, so Fashion Central did not dwell on his earlier stages.

1. We agree that HSY is a big name in Pakistan’s Fashion industry, tell us something about the stages of your successful professional career?

I worked both as a choreographer and designer in various shows within Pakistan and international shows including Dubai, London, New York City, and Toronto. Then, by realizing the brand’s association, I also worked in collaboration with other brands and other products advertisers, last three years were very important for us. We (as he always considered HSY as a whole team work, not just a name) worked with Breeze, Stoneage, even with Nirala Sweets. The experience to work with Nirala sweets was too good, as they characterize my Fashion motto that Fashion is a language of mind, body and soul, in a very presentable way. They added Almonds, in their sweets to represent the sharpness of mind. Then for body, as everybody is dieting these days, they made sugar free sweets: and then to symbolize the soul, they wrapped their sweets in the silver paper to give it a soothing look. 

I think Fashion is not just wearing clothes, it’s a life style; and life style means celebrations. We feel that everything should be celebrated. Whatever is connected to us, it could be clothes, jewelry, sweets, any sort of festivity, wedding decoration, interiors, etc, everything should be celebrated. There should be excitement, energy, mutual understanding etc.

2. Share your work experience with other fashion designers?

Actually everybody here thinks that what we are doing is right and what others are doing is wrong. On the other hand, I think that what we are doing is fun, join us; it can be a company, advertisers, other designers, anyone. I also like to work collectively. While working as a team, designers must consider that we work for the fashion audience, not for ourselves. We have to create fashion for everybody, for the woman belongs to every class of society; even for the one who wears Hijab, we want to design for her as well. I design for the Middle East girls and for the western too. When I went to Dubai for the Dubai Fashion week, I was the first Pakistani designer who displayed their collection over there. No doubt, it was an honor for me but working with many international fashion designers is not as easy because everyone comes with an ego. As compared to them, in Pakistani Fashion industry, there is a harmony among the designers. They accept differences, they don’t mind small things. 

Regardless of all the hurdles, I just want my client to look amazing, confident and simply gorgeous. 

3. What’s your inspiration to work in the field of Fashion designing?

I was brought up by a single woman; my mother is a very bold & hard working lady; she is like a strongest code for me, the inspiration of my work and life. I’ve learned to face challenges and to tackle things from her. You know, when you are grown up by a single parent, life isn’t that easy. She calls me ‘Sheroo’, it comes from Sheheryar and today I’m because of her. There was a horrible incident of my life, when in a road accident I lost my eye-sight; my world became dark and I was devoid of this faculity. I remained blind for about two years and doctors had bad news for me & my mother. But by the grace of Almighty Allah and because of the prayers of my mother and continuous medical care, I over came my blindness and the light came back. Now I’m really enjoying this life which I have again. ALLAH has just blessed me with this new life. So I know the value and importance of being healthy and to see this beautiful world with two eyes.

My mother also manages and handles many things of the brand. So it’s a family company, HSY is truly my family.

I was not money hungry; I’m not tempted at all by money or even fame. We have a very wealthy family background; my mother always told us who we are. I still don’t work for money. I just enjoy when people wear & celebrate my clothes. When we went to Dubai, HSY was the most popular brand; everyone was looking forward to us, so I enjoyed that scenario a lot. Middle East authority gave us the award too.

Anyway, when it comes to inspiration then I would say that my mother is also my source of inspiration. For me, every minute, anything can be my inspiration; my life is my inspiration.

4. Just recently, the Lahore Fashion Week 2010 has been the big success and it is understood that you were the big brain behind it; please share with us, what value it will add here & abroad?

As I’ve told you that I was the first Pakistani designer who went to Dubai Fashion Week. The experience was great but I felt that it should be in Pakistan too; in fact I always felt so. Now I think the PFDC Sunsilk Fashion week proved a great success, especially in a city like Lahore. It was a big deal to call the hugely reputed designers from all over the Pakistan and then to gather them under one roof. This gathering of designers, definitely added strength to our industry and important to state here that in such type of exhibitions we collectively represent our industry, more than ourselves as designers.

In terms of designers too, some Fashion designers are now getting fame after appearing on the platform of Lahore Fashion week 2010. For example, some designers were popular only in Lahore; still the whole Pakistani Fashion Industry did not know them. So they gained recognition, first among the designers of other cities of Pakistan and also got noticed by designers of other countries. When you show a collective body, you show the strength of the industry. We need to highlight our strength & our other good designers too; like in abroad people know HSY, Sana Safinaz and few more names but now they know many more of our other designers as well. Just like, Ali xeshan and some brilliant designers like him, they were not too famous outside of Lahore before this, but now they are making waves all round.

Other then media & Fashion industry people should know us. So, it’s a good way to highlight our country in front of the international fashion market.

We (HSY) showcased his couture menswear and women’s wear collection entitled ‘Mumtaz Jehan’ at the Lahore Fashion week 2010. The inspiration for this collection is drawn from the inherent beauty of life.

5. Tell us something about your designing philosophy; like which colour scheming you prefer the most and why?

My designing philosophy is to make timeless elegant clothes, we don’t make trendy clothes. Fashion is now becoming a Horicon or a magnet, everyone gets attracted towards it and started revolving around it but we stay in the middle and maintain our own pace. We change few things around but it remains the same. We have our own position and standard we don’t compete in a way. We make the dress that can look stunning, today and always, we don’t make sensational clothes.

You know one of my collections was inspired by the food, when I was eating the dessert, the colors of the dish attracted me and I started noticing them. As an artist, you need to be open and broad thinker; and this can only be possible when you put your ego aside. People usually think for themselves before anything else, they think they are walking into the room, but I feel that this is the room and I’m experiencing walking into it. I like to think in this way. I always feel good when people come to me for my clothes and designs.

Family background is very important, I’ve been very lucky in this regard. When I came here in Pakistan, I was expecting family values and the internal connectivity, which our religion taught us; but I felt that people are not too connected with one other. Then I took initiative and tried my best to convey the message, be calm & confident, you are Pakistani and you are better than anyone. 

6. Here comes a typical, yet & interesting question, what is Fashion according to you, how do you define it?

Fashion for me is your sense of living. It’s not only about dress, but it’s about you and what you live with. It can be your values and ethics, it can be everything around you.

7. Tell us something about your outlets? Do you plan to increase them which also covers your future plans?

We do have our outlets in Pakistan and in many other countries, but we don’t want to show off. We think that if we are good, people will come to us themselves and it happens. I think over distribution is not a good idea because I think over distribution makes the product common. Our market is so big so it’s not a good idea to make you common. Our clients are different; they are not too influenced by the latest fashion waves, they want to wear different but without losing our customary feel.

8. How do you rank yourself among the other fashion designers in the Pakistani Fashion industry?

I don’t rank myself among other fashion designers; I don’t think that ranking is important. I mean, we think that we are the best. If anyone else is thinking in the same way, so I think they are right too. We designers have no ego problem; we appreciate each other as well. It’s my pleasure that I’m appreciating someone, what of it? At times, we also look for the right kind of partnership and we work together with good understanding.

Furthermore, our clients are our judges, they are our people, and we work for them not for one another.

9. What is the most defining point of your career till now?

There is no such defining point in my career  till now, because I think it’s just a beginning. I also think that there shouldn’t be such defining point because if your career has been defined, it’s over. I want my profession so large that it will become impossible to define it, in just one definition. So, one definition is not enough to describe my nature of work.

10. Any message for the beginners?

Don’t execute your work only for fame & money, because if you work for materialistic things it doesn’t create beauty. If you want to beautify your work, you need loyalty with your work and you have to create something from your own. Live your own, who knows what will happen tomorrow.

Enjoy the interesting yet informative conversation with the Pakistan's leading fashion designer Hassan Sheheryar Yasin (HSY), through the plat form of Fashion central.

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