Tabassum Mughal is a self-trained designer who believes in neat cuts, elegant silhouettes and unique styles.
With an “insatiable curiosity and thirst for art”, this aspiring young designer has built herself a long list of loyal clients over the years. She may have started designing clothes casually for friends and family but is now in the game for the long haul; she has spread her wings not just in Pakistan but in the international arena as well — UK, USA, UAE and Norway.
“Everyone is unique and being able to understand each person’s individual style and what they can carry off with elegance, is key for any designer,” says Mughal, whose done her bachelors in business administration and also holds a diploma in fashion design. “I believe everyone should wear something that complements their personality and figure and not wear it just because it’s ‘in fashion’.” She feels it’s crucial for people to invest in clothes that actually suit them.
Although it started off as more of a hobby, Mughal has been designing clothes ever since she can remember. “I started designing clothes for my friends and family years before I actually took this up as a serious profession,” she reminisces. “Everyone would love my creations and this ultimately helped me realise and discover my talent.” She started her label Tabassum Mughal Haute Couture in 2009, where she showcased her collections at a personal boutique in her backyard.
With her eccentric style, Mughal is always on the quest for something new. After receiving numerous requests from her clients based in the Middle East, Mughal finally decided to take the leap into the line of trendy abayas. “I have created many collections from eastern to western wear, casual to formal and bridal trousseaus to fusion and merging of styles,” she says. “My upcoming collection, Aswad by Tabassum Mughal, however, is a rather unique one.”
This line has specifically been designed for her clients in UAE; those interested in wearing elegantly embellished abayas with hand-picked stones, crystals and other ornaments to make them stand out in a crowd. Another upcoming collection is R2W which will include ready-to-wear casuals, office and party wear.
“Anything can inspire me — be it a piece of architecture, a certain scenery or image, an interesting piece of jewellery or even different cultures,” she says about what inspires her to create her magic on fabrics. For several years, Mughal has also been showcasing her collections to the world through Pakistan Fashion Week. “When we are inspired and motivated to do something, we need to flaunt it in front of the world,” she laughs. “Our high-end creations, our creativity and our distinctive styles need to be showcased.”
Despite being in the industry for merely four years, Mughal doesn’t feel threatened by her competitors. “I don’t see my competition as real competition because my standing and style of work is very different from other designers,” she says, confident with her achievements so far. “Our fashion industry has evolved remarkably and has made its place in the international market. And for that, I feel very proud.” She feels designers such as Maheen Khan, Sana Safinaz, HSY and Rizwan Beyg are names people will remember for years to come due to their contributions to fashion.
No job comes without hardships and Mughal feels challenges designers face on a daily basis can also be traced down to a number of significant issues: power outages, rising costs, training labour, labour turnover and the ability to believe in yourself. “Obtaining well-trained workers as well as preventing them from running off to my competitors, was one of the initial obstacles I faced,” she says, adding that she is still figuring out how this matter will ever be resolved. “Believing in yourself and in what you are doing and the assertiveness to deliver are also essentials as this industry is very competitive.” She feels you need to be prepared for everything and giving an edge to your work is one way you can rise above your rivals.
“Currently, the label is catering to a niche but has future plans to expand itself and become available to the masses as fashion is ultimately for everyone,” she says. She also feels that having a natural talent and inbuilt passion for fashion is crucial to this business — you either have it or you don’t.
Published in The Express Tribune