Sadaf Fawad Khan (SFK) Bridals may be debuting at the PFDC L’Oreal Paris Bridal Week (PLBW) early next week but one is already familiar with the brand thanks to its celebrity roots.
Helmed by Sadaf Fawad Khan, wife of actor Fawad Khan, the brand’s been flitting in and out of our social media feeds, with shoots that usually feature Fawad in a groom-esque avatar, smoldering next to a model wearing heavily embellished wedding-wear.
Sifting past the star power, though, our initial sneak peeks of the brand do hint at an interesting aesthetic that dabbles with traditional intricate embroideries and modern silhouettes.
The PLBW catwalk may as well prove to be a litmus test for Sadaf where she shifts focus away from the star power that is an inevitable part of her brand and proves her mettle as a designer.
The designer does seem to have a game plan at the ready, with her fashion showcase preceded by shoots in major glossies and a private preview held at her studio. In conversation with Images, Sadaf discusses her design ethos and the transition of her label, starting off with prêt and rerouting to bridal-wear:
Images: You started off five years ago with prêt and luxury-wear under the Silk by Fawad Khan label but now you have moved onto bespoke bridals. What prompted this change?
Sadaf Fawad Khan (SFK): Back in 2012 when I first started off, ready-to-wear was booming and so was the culture of multi-brand stores. Shortly afterwards, several fashion brands exited multi-brand stores and set up their own retail standpoints.
The market for prêt also became very competitive with textile giants collaborating with premium fashion brands and retailing at very low price points. This was when I realised that I should be investing my energy into a new genre of design.
A bad second pregnancy gave me some homebound time which sort of kickstarted the research and development and the outcome was great – a beautiful baby girl and a pretty collection as well.
Images: You’ve taken your time in delving towards fashion week. What made you realise that you were runway-ready now?
SFK: I think that we have evolved with time and experience and now with retail and brand experience at hand, I thought that it was about time that we explored new categories and platforms to showcase.
Images: In what ways have you tried to differentiate your bridal wear from the designs prevalent in the market?
SFK: I feel that the bridal market is currently flooded with similar looking collections and we have tried to differentiate ourselves by working on a motif-based collection. The emphasis is on colour and negative spaces instead of heavily-worked designs where one can’t really identify the details at a glance.
Some key motifs emulate the tree of life with gorgeous birds and crystal work in flowers. The colour palette primarily takes inspirations from the colours of a lunar rainbow – i.e., a moonbow. There will be a lot of solid colours and a whole lot of sequins and sparkle. So we aren’t sticking to the conventional silver and grey palettes which have been quite dominant in the market lately.
Images: Fawad Khan has often been seen in the fashion shoots of SFK Bridals. Does your label also specialise in groomswear?
SFK: Yes; there is a limited range of menswear that I am building slowly.
"[Fawad's fame] keeps pressure on me to meet expectations and focus more on the worth and credibility of the brand. When you have a name, you naturally worry about reputation so this is actually a good problem to have."
Images: Do you feel that your label benefits from Fawad's celebrity appeal? Or do you feel that it adds pressure by hiking up expectations?
SFK: It does both and I don't mind it. I like the fact that it keeps the pressure on me to meet expectations and focus more on the worth and credibility of the brand. When you have a name, you naturally worry about reputation so this is actually a good problem to have.
Images: But don’t you fear that the detailing within the clothes may be overlooked due to Fawad's star power? Don't you think that true fashion shouldn't need celebrities to make it stand out?
SFK: No, I don’t think that the detailing will be missed. Celebrities give mileage in terms of marketing but a buyer doesn't get the celebrity with the outfit, so quality and many other factors are definitely a concern for the real buyer. I don’t intend it to be a one-time venture so the focus on all the essentials is really there .
Today even couture is becoming fast fashion but I want to stand by my brand’s promise to deliver on good quality and originality of design. I think the showcase itself will speak more about what we have to offer.
In today’s Instagram world, people at fashion week are busier in taking images and racing to post them instead of focusing on the details within the collection. So it makes sense to host a meet-and-greet prior to our debut showcase to expose people to the quality of the handwork.
Images: Why have you chosen to host a preview a few days before your fashion show? Will you be displaying the same clothes that will be seen on the catwalk?
SFK: Only three to four select pieces will be put on display at the preview. The idea is to expose people to the quality of the handwork and the detailing involved and also briefly introduce them to the inspirations and design elements that we have selected for the season.
I think for a debut, it makes a whole lot of sense to host a meet-and-greet prior to our showcase since in today’s Instagram world, people at fashion week are busier taking images and racing to post them instead of focusing on the details within the collection.
Images: Will we be seeing Fawad on the catwalk for your PLBW showcase?
SFK: Would ANYBODY mind that?