I recently had the chance to talk to Kiran Chaudhry, the designer and creative director of Anaya by Kiran Chaudhry. This led to a wonderful personal conversation about her life, fashion and Pakistan.
How did you get into design, and what was the first piece you ever designed?
I got into design quite by accident. I had always been a fine artist and used to enjoy painting as a child and throughout school. However I went on to do more serious things like becoming a lawyer and practicing corporate law in London for several years before I realized it was not in line with my creative nature. Coming back to Pakistan I joined my family textile business and realized the potential of lawn both as a business and as a creative pursuit. My first design however may have been when I was 10 years old and started giving my mother’s tailor very specific instructions on how to make my outfits!
Where do you draw inspiration from when you design, and where did you draw inspiration from creating this collection?
I draw inspiration from almost everything that I see around me which is beautiful. It can be nature, patterns or somebody’s outfit.
For this collection, I wanted to make something formal, but also very wearable. I love comfortable clothing and hate having to choose between style and comfort. So I always try and find a balance between making something striking, beautiful and yet practical and versatile.
When you design who are you designing for? (Who do you envision wearing your work?)
The Anaya woman is someone who knows herself well. She is not a slave to fashion or trends. She has a classic understated and laid back sense of style that is bold and modern but also traditional and elegant in equal measure. She makes her own rules, her own money and wants to spend on timeless pieces of good quality that are also good value for her hard earned money. She is well traveled and understands how to move effortlessly in both the east and the west, while always staying true to her roots.
What does the word fashion mean to you?
Fashion to me is self-expression. It is one of the many ways to tell the world who you are and what you stand for.
Do you have a favorite designer that you admire?
I am a huge fan of Kamiar Rokni who also happens to be one of my best friends. Am fortunate to be collaborating with him on a series of wedding collections this year. Watch this space! I also love the work of Faith Samee and Misha Lakhani. Sania Maskatiya is also one of my favorites.
Where do you think Pakistani fashion is headed?
Pakistani fashion is constantly evolving. It is however one of the most exciting industries at the moment and has great potential as a way to showcase our heritage, craft and culture to the world.
What would your advice be to aspiring young designers, unsure of how to take the first step to achieving their dreams?
My advice to anyone embarking on their journey towards their dreams is simple.
Just do it.
You have to start somewhere. Don’t think of how you’ll get there. One thing usually leads to another and when there is passion and dedication eventually results come. Believe in yourself or nobody else will and never give up!
Finish the following sentences:
What’s next for the brand?
Next for the brand? Well, we have a very ambitious next year planned with many more collections, a retail plan and possibly some international shows! Watch this space and don’t forget to follow us on insta! @anayabykiranchaudry
Thank you Kiran for this wonderful, empowering and honest interview! We can’t wait to see more of your beautiful designs in the future!