Designer Profile: Saira Shakira – a talented new duo from Lahore

It’s always exciting to discover new designers with a unique signature. What’s more unusual is when these talented newbies have a range that it as wearable as it is distinctive.  Saira Shakira have been creating a buzz in Lahore society ever since they launched two years ago. Their sophisticated luxury pret was an instant hit, incorporating subtle bling and unusual cuts.

Saira Shakira - fashion designers from Lahore, Pakistan
Saira Shakira’s clothes can be styled as western wear or worn with cigarette pants for a more Eastern feel

Saira Faisal and Shakira Usman both graduated with distinction from the Pakistan Institute of Fashion Design.  When they started their label two years ago, it was because no one was designing the sort of clothes that they themselves wanted to wear. Their label Saira Shakira soon became a word-of-mouth phenomenon in Lahore.

Saira Shakira - fashion designers from Lahore, Pakistan
Shakira Usman

Saira Shakira are known for slimming silhouettes and elegant detailing. They create texture in their ensembles by juxtaposing different fabrics and by using built up embroideries. They are known for their use of cutwork, lace and unusual cuts.

When they launched their label two years ago, they were among a very small number of designers championing shorter hemlines. Their dropped waist and dropped hipline cuts give a very lean silhouette. They combine pretty embroideries and a little bling on elegant outfits that are incredibly versatile. Their pret is perfect for dinners and GTs but can also be dressed up for weddings and formal events.

Saira Shakira - fashion designers from Lahore, Pakistan
Saira Faisal

Saira and Shakira were in the same year studying fashion at PIFD. Their husbands are close friends and encouraged them to launch a label together. They have never looked back. Shakira explains,

“We’re lucky in that we have similar design sensibilities. Our strengths complement each other and we can creatively bounce ideas off each other. Since we have had the same formal training in fashion design, it is easy to work together on design elements.”

Their label initially offered only luxury pret and their first few collections focused heavily on soft colours and pastels. Embroidery and subtle bling gave a formal feel to fusion cuts while their exquisite detailing had customers beating path to their door. Their latest work focuses on brighter colours, particularly for formals, but incorporates the elegant cuts and pretty detailing that is Saira Shakira’s signature.

“We design for modern women who want a chic, contemporary look”, says Saira Faisal. “These are the clothes that we ourselves love to wear.”

Saira Shakira - fashion designers from Lahore, Pakistan
Outfits at Saira Shakira’s studio in Lahore

While Saira Shakira describe their cuts as East-West fusion, the outfits have a modern Eastern sensibility. This contemporary twist on Eastern wear is part of the appeal of the label. Floaty, voluminous sleeves and sheath cuts are paired with cutwork and thread embroideries in a look that is modern without jarring Eastern sensibilities. These are outfits that work as well at a family lunch as they do at a swish GT.

Saira Shakira - fashion designers from Lahore, Pakistan
Subtle detailing is part of Saira Shakira’s signature look

Over the past year Saira Shakira have expanded their line to include formals as well as luxury pret and have begun stocking their pret range at the PFDC in Lahore. Their pret collection retails at between Rs15,000 and Rs40,000. Their formals are Rs55,000 and up and are available by appointment at their Model Town studio.

Saira Shakira - fashion designers from Lahore, Pakistan
Formal wear by Saira Shakira

Saira Shakira are working on a new collection that they hope may get selected for the PFDC Fashion Week in April. If they are selected, fashion week will be a major challenge. While the jump from designing for society ladies and designing for the ramp is a huge one, Saira and Shakira have the formal training to make the transition with style. Whilst fashion week would undoubtedly be a massive learning curve for this relatively new but talented duo, it would be interesting to see what they come up with.

Saira Shakira - fashion designers from Lahore, Pakistan
Saira Shakira’s pretty pret is available at the PFDC store Lahore

Meanwhile, they are considering options for stocking in Karachi. Until then, checking out their studio or their rack at PFDC is a must if you are visiting Lahore.

Published in Karachista’s regular column in the Express Tribune on 4th January 2014

Copyright 2015 Karachista. All rights reserved
Salima Feerasta
Salima Feerasta
Salima Feerasta is chief editor of and one of Pakistan's top fashion and lifestyle journalists.

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