Sarah Karim Couture as a brand has been a high-end trademark for the fashionist as in the country. It has been a trusted option for those attending glamorous fashion events or lavish weddings and sangeets. To begin with Sarah Karim entered the world of fashion in order to assist her Nani Shashuri (grandmother –in-law) who ran an organization that gave employment to artisans and was a charity. The designer carries on that legacy but has also diversified & expanded the business manifold. The owner of the fashion couture recently talked to the Design Magazine team in an interview.
When did Sarah Karim Couture come into being?
It started 12 years back. But the artisans working for the brand have almost 30/35 years of experience. My Nani Shashuri started this work as a charity. She wanted to create employment for artisans who no longer enjoyed any patronage from erstwhile Nawabs & Maharajahs. She further trained these artisans and gave them better designs & color palettes to work with. She used to design mostly sarees at the time. When old age prevented her from being as active as she used to, she was always concerned about the future of the artisans if there was no one to give them steady work. That’s when I stepped in and took over the business. We reinvented many designs & started a new line of formal wear with modern cuts & drapes. That’s how Sarah Karim Couture was launched.
What do you produce?
Now our work is more diversified. Earlier we used to make party wear only. Now we produce bridal wears including designer lahengas and Shararas. We also have a pret line to cater to those with limited budgets.
Let us know about your showroom…
We have one store & work shop in Gulshan-2. The other workspaces where the artisans do the embroidary zardozietc are located in Mirpur & Mohammadpur.
What is the process of design customization?
We always tell the customer that the design will be exclusively ours. We only customize the fabric or style and sometimes the color according to the client’s choice. We do not copy designs from their design booklets or magazines. Say, if a client tells us that a particular color or shape of design does not suit her, we try to make the dress as per her choice. Sometime we suggest clients which fabri color or pattern will look good on them.
Who are your clients?
We have clients all over the world now. We have organized fashion shows in India and Singapore. We receive lots of orders from Canada, Australia and UK..especially for our bridal line. There are many shops that take order and make the dresses from neighboring countries. We are proud to say that all our workmanship is done locally and the quality is the very best!
What is your advice to a young fashion designer?
First of all, one needs to be passionate about the work they do. No matter how glamourous it looks, this line of work requires a lot of dedication and hard work. I often sit with the artisan and inspect every detail to ensure that the best quality is maintained. Also you have to be very sincere with your clients if you have to make your them trust you. For instance, we do not do anything to promote our brand, that’s happened mostly from positive word of mouth. I am very strict about selection of fabrics and perfect quality. The artisans never process any design without my inspection. If you can make your clients a 100% satisfied with what you deliver you need no promotion or advertisements.
Can you please tell us about your daily schedule?
I have to struggle a bit in this. I have three children of different ages. My elder son is 18 years old. He has recently moved to London where he’s studying for an undergraduate course in business. My younger son is a grade- Viii student and the youngest child, a daughter, is a fourth grader. Typically I stay four days in the showroom and two days in the factory. Friday is usually my day off and I spent it with my family and kids!