Traveling to different places for shopping has been a trend in Kashmir for a long time but, nowadays this trend is changing as people no longer need to go to other states to get their bridal dresses.
From decadent lehengas to elaborate gowns the designer stores setup in Kashmir provides all to the brides keeping their expectations in mind and make sure the brides get what they want.
The biggest struggle for the designers is to make their own place in the market but in recent years, they have seen a shift and received love and support from the people.
Osman and Sajida, Vie en Rose Designer Store and Pastau have built their names in the competitive market and have been doing a great job ever since they started. These stores are the go-to places for every bride to be.
Osman and Sajida
Osman Watali and Sajida Nain, both lawyers by qualification, own a designer label – Osman and Sajida.
Their journey started with a Facebook page dedicated to style and fashion, which got loads of appreciation. “Gauging the potential, we decided to enter into a partnership and design a clothing line together,” said Sajida.
Osman and Sajida started in 2014, with a pop-up shop showcasing western outfits and then gradually expanded their business to Indian wear.
“Both of us are very creative and have always been fascinated with every aspect of fashion design and styling. We wanted to take it up as our career so that we could showcase our design aesthetic through the clothes that we make,” she said.
They have their expertise in bridal outfits which made it easy for the people in the valley to buy and get their dream dresses designed. They also specialize in casuals, semi formals and occasion wear.
“We make everything in house, as we have our own workshop and make outfits from scratch,” said Sajida.
Osman and Sajida customize the dresses as per the clients’ requirements. “We think it’s very important for a designer label to make outfits for all ages, shapes and sizes, because we are unique in our own ways,” said Sajida.
They, as a couture brand, take immense pride in the fact that they design each and every piece themselves. “It’s extremely gratifying to watch the process of a sketch come to life which is one of the reasons why we love our job so much,” said Sajida.
The path to success has never been without struggles, for them. “It takes a lot of patience, hard work and perseverance to establish a label and to attract as well as gain the trust of prospect clients.”
Though their families needed a whole lot of convincing because initially they weren’t okay with them going into business let alone opting a career which isn’t “conventional”.
“But eventually they saw the passion and the drive in us to make a name for ourselves. They’ve been extremely supportive and we can’t thank them enough for believing in us and our dreams,” she said.
Vie en Rose Designer Store
Masarat Subhan from Srinagar started working as a designer in Kashmir to brighten up people’s lives. She designs dresses for all occasions.
“My work is all about bringing happiness to people and making their special occasions a lot more special and glamorous,” said Masarat who started her venture “Vie en Rose Designer Store” in 2019.
She has always been interested in fashion, dresses and everything glamorous. Masrat’s venture design for every occasion; be it Haldi, Mehandi, Nikah or Walima.
“I launch a new collection for every season, sometimes two collections for one season,” said Masarat.
From stitching to embroidery, all the work is done in Masarat’s workshop. “I get every single detail done in front of me and that’s how I can make a dress look like how I imagine it,” said Masarat.
Most of the dresses they design are “Bespoke”. “All the wedding dresses are made according to what the client wants. I discuss the theme and everything with them and then design their wedding dresses and their entire trousseau,” she said.
Masarat believes struggles are a part of everyone’s journey. “First the abrogation of Article 370 and then the Coronavirus lockdown hit us, but I never gave up. I was persistent and resilient and worked through all of this and I’m quite positive it’s because of that hard work I’m doing well,” said Masarat.
Being a designer who works on people’s dreams, it has been a rollercoaster of a ride for her, it has definitely been a hurdle but nothing she couldn’t overcome.
Mehvish Shahjee and Sadaf Shahdhar at Pastau – the bridal studio – offer handcrafted customized bridal wear, trousseau and party wear dresses. They started their bridal studio in April 2018.
At Pastau they customize anything in hand embroideries. They make various kinds of dresses like lehangas, gowns, sharara and other dresses.
“We make all kinds of bridal outfits and bridal lehangas in hand work including kashmiri hand tilla and we also design the party wear dresses,” said Mehvish.
Being a designer store owner is not an easy job, the beautiful designer dress that we get to see has a lot of hard work and dedication behind it.
Pastau likewise have different teams for various processes from manufacturing, dyeing, to embroidery and stitching. Everything is done in their different workshops located at various locations and each team is an expert in their own fields.
They customize as per the client’s needs, preferences and budget. “Every design is unique, we select everything from the fabric, shade, to embroidery and style of stitching and that’s what makes our dresses one of a kind,” said Mehvish.
She believes running a business in Jammu and Kashmir is a struggle in itself.
“We started on a smaller scale and worked our way up, there were lots of hurdles along the way but we learned something new with every struggle we faced,” Mehvish said.
The response to Pastau has been overwhelming which has given them a motivation to keep going. “We are overwhelmed with the trust and love we receive from our clients.”
Pastau has always tried to do their best to get up to their clients’ expectations.
“Our brides are from various financial backgrounds with different budgets and we do our best to get them what they are expecting from us.”
She said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has affected everyone in some way or the other and some brides couldn’t travel to buy the bridal outfits and we are glad that we could meet their expectations in such a difficult time that too in their home place only.”
Pastau is recognized as the “bridal label” in Kashmir. To keep up with the changing trends in the business world, Pastau have also launched their website and mobile apps for a hassle-free shipping experience.
The response to all these designer stores has been tremendous, right from the very first day. People have loved their designs and have received so much love from the customers in return.