Sofia Naveed Lari of SNL Talks to Fashion Central

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For someone who is most unassuming down to earth, friendly and courteous Sofia Naveed Lari with the namesake pret brand SNL has surfaced after being in the fashion designing business so phenomenally that she is one of the most sought after designers currently. Her SNL Design Studio at Zamzama Lane 2 is an epic itself. Also stocking her pret-line at multi-label stores like Ellemint Pret and Designers, this dynamic designer now plans a flagship store in Karachi. This creative businesswoman in the world of fashion has made her mark like only a few lucky ones can. And she is apt to go places with her outstanding brand SNL.

Q: How, where and what, got you going into this highly competitive field of fashion designing?

A: I was raised in creative surroundings. I’m not the only designer in the family. It was my mother who I looked up to as a role model as she was a fashion designer too, running her own boutique. Designing and getting attires to make a female look good is in my genes, I guess. In those days as a kid I used to be involved in fashion with my mother. The processes, the intricate details which makes a quality dress were things I got exposed to at an early stage in life. Then in college-days designing was a hobby but at that moment I wasn’t very serious about it as a profession. Today I’m back into designing and by God’s grace SNL studio at Zamzama is the proof.

Q. Many who enter the field of fashion designing face a major problem in developing good marketing strategies! How do you manage this singular aspect?

A: I personally think it’s become very easy to market your product through Social Media and Social websites like Facebook, etc. Secondly it’s always word of mouth – as the proof of the pudding lies in its eating, and thirdly by hoardings or print media ensure that the marketing side of SNL is taken care of.

Q: Does your brand SNL cater to the hi-spenders or do you have combos in the mid affordable bracket too?

A: The brand SNL has four consumer related fashion lines: "SNL Casuals" designed for everyday wear, work, college, lunches, etc. ranged between Rs2000 to Rs4000. "Luxury Pret" that is chic day wear as well as evening wear styled with pretty embroideries and cuts ranged between Rs5000 to Rs15000 – formals from Rs15000 to Rs30000, and SNL bridals start at Rs50000 and above. Practically, SNL has a particular unique outfit for every woman and every occasion. This was one most important aspect that I kept in mind.

Q: Where one shirt from SNL may cost Rs4000 how can you verify that it would be of the same quality that a Rs9000 would be. Or is there a difference in fabric, cutting, seams and embellishments and so on?

A: It depends really… the quality does differ for collections in different brackets depending on whether it’s a formal or a casual ensemble. At SNL every design is different, so are my various collections. No matter which outfit you pick you can rest assured that at SNL we do not compromise on quality in any way nor do we ever copy designs other brands.

Q: What is SNL best known for? Relevance to some attributes of the brand – fabrics and quality plus designing value.

A: SNL is best known for its signature fresh floral and colourful designs with different patterns and fit! Our clients love our fit, the original detailed styling and quality that we give! For instance, we don’t over-lock our clothes. All our outfits have been French Seamed. If you turn an SNL shirt inside out you will find it as neat inside as the outside. SNL’s standards of production are extremely high.

Q: You are about to launch your new range SNL Casuals. Please tell us about that in detail. 

A: Yes that’s true, indeed. You will be seeing our new line "SNL Casuals" very soon.  ‘SNL Casuals’ is being launched at Afreen Shiraz’ multi-label store ‘Ellemint Pret’ on 6th April. It will also be available at SNL Design Studio. This line targets women from all income brackets who desire a smart, designer outfit within their budgets. SNL casuals are ideal for office-wear, for lunch get-togethers, committees meetings, or a casual evening out with friends. SNL Casuals can see you through the day with enviable ease. Our clients will find printed pallazos paired with smart tunics, chic kurtis to pair with tights or jeans, smart crochet tucked Irish cotton shirts in pastels for summers, and a lot more!

Q: Do you wear your own brand? Tell us when you as a designer tend to dress up in others’ brands.

A: Yes of course! I mostly wear my own brand. For parties I sometimes dress up in western attire.

Q: How do you deal with the common phenomena of cheap copy reproduction of a brand’s designs? How do you deal with it.

A: Frankly, I have seen my designs at a lot of stores now. One of them is a very well known store in Zamzama where replicas of SNL are being sold for half the price. However, I have a loyal client base and they have come up to me upset at the fact that the other outlet is stocking SNL replicas.

 
For SNL it takes a lot of effort and time coming out with a new design, sampling and then passing it before we start producing that specific line. For copycats it is easy to buy one and make a zillion copies.
 
How do I deal with it is a good question – They say if someone copies your designs you’re famous! So yes I’m happy. I don’t mind people copying an SNL design because we can always come up with newer better options for our clients.

Q: You have now been participating in various fashion weeks where your design line is highlighted. What’s your take on them?

A: Fashion weeks, shows, exhibitions of such nature where a brand may get more exposure are a very important aspect of promoting your prospects. This is particularly beneficial for designers who want to expand their client base abroad/overseas.

Q: You are a professional fashion designer. How do you manage time between family and work, especially when you are progressing swiftly?

A: After five years of married life, I find that my husband and my dearest in-laws are genuinely supportive of my profession. But I do not take things for granted and strictly keep my weekends and evenings for my family. As I do not have any children as yet I guess it makes life less demanding.

Q6: Pick amongst models – Your faves?

A: Amina Ilyas is definitely my favourite. I feel she can carry any and every outfit elegantly. On the international scene, I feel Brett Novek is one of the hottest models.

Q: Your favourite designers and why?

A: Nomi Ansari and Bunto Kazmi for sure. Nomis higher play with pop colours that are vibrant and Bunto Kazmi for her the grandeur in the bridals.

 
Internationally, Poiret was a renowned pre-World War II fashion designer, who was the first to use draping in dressmaking and is credited with launching the suspender belt, flesh-coloured stockings, the sack dress and culottes.

 

Fashion Designer Sofia Naveed Lari talks to Fashion Central about her brand SNL and latest designing ideas and passion for cuts in an exclusive interview.

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