Nestled away from the bustling weekend crowds, the very first Suzali London exhibition took place on Saturday at The Arch. The premise of Suzali London is to not only introduce the UK market to both high end and emerging designers from India and Pakistan, but to offer a price point to consumers that is affordable. Owning a luxurious designer garment needn’t be demanding on your bank account as Sana, the founder of Suzali London explains.
“The reason why Suzali came about is because I have identified a real gap in the market related to Desi fashion. I feel that desi fashion needs to be more accessible to the UK population. I think in terms of existing supply, you have two extreme markets. You have very high end pieces, which are absolutely stunning. So you have your Sabyasachi, Tarun Tahiliani, beautiful, beautiful outfits and prices are pretty correlated to the intricacy of the work. At the other end of the spectrum, you have much lower prices but personally I don’t think they are as nice and I also don’t feel that it gives a true representation of the amazing designers of South Asia. There is so much talent in India and Pakistan and I feel that there are two real issues here. I don’t think we see the breadth of talent coming from that region and we also don’t see the price point. That is the gap I’m trying to fill.”
In order to do just this, a variety of designers are on offer at Suzali, which allows various budgets to attain a slice of South Asian fashion without compromising on an important aspect – quality.
“We have a variety of price points and designers within the Suzali London collection. There is Nida Azwer who is extremely established and her prices will be slightly higher. I don’t need to speak for her brand, it really does speak for itself. Mehreen Noorani comes with a very impressive CV. She graduated from the Fashion Institute in New York and she has been a buyer for some big brands. She also sits on various fashion institute councils. There are Bollywood actresses who wear some of her embellished capes, which is her signature statement.”
“Naureen Arbab is a well established designer. Karachi based, she supplies quite internationally to Canada, USA, Middle East and South Africa as well, but she doesn’t have any presence in London. That’s where I come in – I’m her exclusive distributor in London. Naureen Arbab’s collection is very versatile. It’s an old meets new kind of collection so you will have some of the more traditional outfits and more versatile items that are still on the traditional side but can be worn different ways.”
With a career in Banking and a degree in Maths, Sana’s sole drive for Suzali London is her pure love for fashion. Following designers very closely, she’s extremely clued up on how well trends and collections translate to an international market like the UK.
“If you think about the UK Asian market, it’s huge. You may have some women who are professionals, stay at home mums, some women of the older generation and I think you have enough variety within the female Desi population to support the outfits that Suzali provides. On the one hand you have very western outfits presented by Sarah Anees and Mehreen Noorani also caters for the modern Asian woman with those embellished capes. Then you have traditional people over here as well so you have designers like Lalarukh who I also stock.”
So how does one get various designers on board? Sana has used a variety of methods to touch base with designers, but the most effective of them all is explaining the gap in the market and enabling them to feel assured that their designs will sell well to a UK market.
“I think more and more Desi women over here are not going back to India and Pakistan as much as they would in my parents generation. We would go back pretty much every other year, whereas now more and more families have now moved out and we don’t have that link or access as easily.”
“Every designer would like to have some presence in London. It’s one of the financial capitals of the world, it’s one of the fashion capitals in the world and it’s such a cosmopolitan city with a large number of fashionable Desi women.”
Feature image: The Arch