Kauser Humayun of PERSHE Talks to Fashion Central

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"PERSHE by Kauser Humayun we strive to create art – and not simply commercially viable products – through our jewelry and clothing. Our inspiration is that rare work which is timeless, yet maintains an edge that adds to its versatility

Q1. You began your career as a jewelry designer a few years back; what made you start designing clothes?

I’m an artistic soul who has always striven to express myself through different mediums. However, my love of designing clothes began much before I launched a career in designing jewelry. Through mere coincidence, I made jewelry my focus in the beginning and the rest is history.

 
After establishing myself in jewelry designing, I began to explore the market for clothing on the demand of my clients. As these two areas of work complement each other, it helps to integrate one with the other.

Q2. How does designing jewelry differ from designing clothes?

Even though the initial inspiration may emerge from the same source, the difference is that the design and finesse in fine jewelry is far more difficult to achieve than in clothing. On the other hand, the business of clothing – especially the ready-to-wear market – has proven to be more time-consuming as one must produce in bulk.

Q3. What does ‘fashion’ mean to you?

Fashion is the artistic expression of one’s self; it is the bits of adornment that complete one’s outer and inner self. Fashion is a means through which one can truly rejuvenate one’s self, and should be respected seriously as opposed to being considered a frivolous pursuit.

Q4. How would you define your city’s fashion?

Generally speaking, Pakistanis are fashion-conscious people. We do have fashion-forward individuals who are aware of international fashion and use their knowledge to guide local fashion as well; however, the average Pakistani is unwilling to experiment unless and until a trend is so commonplace that there is no longer any risk or self-expression in it. I can see this beginning to change, and I hope it continues to do so.

Q5. In your earlier years, did you know that you would become a jewelry and fashion designer eventually?

I wasn’t actively thinking about becoming a fashion designer; I just loved to design clothes for my self from a very young age. I loved dressing up in the clothes that I created; I would play with clothing and accessories that I created on my own. I never realized I would choose to do this as a career. Even at the school I attended at which we had to wear uniforms, I wanted to set myself apart so I would tweak it for my self and my friends. Later, I went on to designing my own accessories – such as [at that time] costume jewelry, scarves, and shawls – to differentiate myself from the rest. I even designed my own wedding dress. At one point in my life, I designed home accessories as well. It is this array of interests that I hope to encapsulate under the brand of Pershe one day; we have already established ourselves in the clothing and jewelry markets, and we hope to widen the brand through home accessories as well.

Q6. What was the first article of clothing that you ever designed?

I designed a purple and white color-blocked, wrap-around dress when I was in my early teens. It was quite a hit.

Q7. When you create something, what goes through your mind?

Creating comes naturally to me. It begins with a visualization of the aesthetics of the garment that can be triggered by anything at all, followed by an assessment of whether it can be exacted in a feasible and practical fashion.

Q8. What’s your favorite part about conceptualizing a design? Describe the general process you go through to design and release a piece of clothing.

I visualize the process from the beginning till the finished product. The meticulous care that goes into the creation of my garments follows with an initial sketch to the selection of the textiles, cutting, fitting, and embroidery and/or embellishment.

Q9. How would you define your personal style?

I keep myself updated with international fashion, and I am adventurous enough to try new trends. However, I keep my aesthetic balanced between the international and the local fashion scenes (I do not like to follow others). I like a flair for the dramatic, yet I’d rather be understated than overdressed.

Q10. What are you favorite fabrics to work with and why?

I prefer pure, light fabrics that fall softly or drape well. Sometimes I have to work with sturdier fabrics for structured silhouettes. However, the fabric I choose is also supposed to make a woman feel comfortable. There are times when I have something in mind, but it may not be the right season… so I put it off for the right time of the year.

Q11. According to you, what are the colors for Fall 2012?

My favorite colors for the coming season are bordeaux, garnet, lilac, deep aubergine, forest green, and burnt orange.

Q12. What combination of clothing and jewelry would you like to suggest for the winter season?

I would suggest chunky, statement jewelry in the winter e.g. long, medallion necklaces over pull-overs/sweaters or light coats/capes, statement rings and wide cuffs. Earrings have seem to have taken a back seat, so I would recommend stud or hoop earrings (you do not want to overload on the jewelry; a statement piece is no longer a statement piece when you have 3 of them on.)

Q13. Do you design clothing and jewelry with a particular clientele in mind?

In the beginning, I was designing mostly for young, fashion-forward women who were in search of unique, artistic pieces of jewelry or clothing. Now I design according to the line that I am creating, whether it is prêt (ready-to-wear), luxury prêt, couture, or bridal wear (in jewelry, contemporary, individual pieces for evening wear or heavier, classic pieces for bridal trousseaus). We have broadened our target market for ready-to-wear to include women from across Pakistan, and that is what I feel one must do in order to create fashionable yet affordable ready-to-wear clothing. As far as by bridal wear is concerned, I believe in creating timeless, heirloom-worthy classics. I am most experimental with my luxury prêt lines. I believe my forte is couture – structured silhouettes in the best of fabrics that accentuate any and every body type.

Q14. How do you intend women to feel when wearing the ‘Pershe by Kauser Humayun’ brand?

I want them to feel stylish, spirited, and special. Neither one of these is possible without the other: ‘style’ has no purpose if the woman who is sporting it lacks ‘spirit’.

Q15. What’s your advice to aspiring designers who want to join the Industry in coming years?

My advice to aspiring designers wanting to join the fashion industry is to come prepared with knowledge, internships and work experience before entering this highly competitive market. Do thorough market research, and expect to work untiringly ‘round the clock – that is, if you wish to survive long-term in this business.

Q16. Are you concentrating on prêt/ready-to-wear and couture only or is bridal wear also on the cards? Where are your clothing lines available?

Our prêt/ready-to-wear clothing is stocked at various fashion houses. Our  couture and bridal wear (as well as fine jewelry) are available through at our home studio through appointment only but we will be exhibiting it in a special viewing during the second week of December.

 
Currently, our ready-to-wear line is available at Tehzeeb and L’Atelier fashion houses in Lahore as well as Labels’ e-Store. We are launching our line at fashion houses in Dubai and London in the next few months.

The creative force of PERSHE, fashion designer Kauser Humayun reveals the inspiration of her products designing in an exclusive interview with Fashion Central.

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