Recently re-branded, Stitch Three hosted their Fashion Day Out Trunk Show near London’s Green Park, giving press and visitors a taste of the type of designers their boutique stocks.
Working together with Inaaya and Sonali Creations, the show was aptly presented at the Athenaeum Hotel where people could peruse collections by Malini Ramani, Maheen Karim and Misha Lakhani. The unique, high fashion retail and studio concept provided visitors with the Spring/ Summer collections of these three hot fashion properties from India and Pakistan. Also there were Inaaya and Sonali Creations showcasing their stunning jewellery collections.
As the name suggests, there are three super hard working women behind the brand. Aisha Tabani Chowdhry, Aamna Lakhany and Radhika Hasan came together to form Stitch Three – formerly known as Faisana – and have built a business which fills a gap in the UK Asian fashion market.
I was lucky enough to speak one to one with Aisha, Aamna and Radhika prior to the event in order to learn more about this venture and the bridge they’ve built for UK consumers who still desire a slice of authentic Asian fashion. Here’s a snippet from our interview.
S: Tell us how did this merger come about?
Aisha: We were doing a small studio outfit and Radhika was doing exhibitions and events. We met up and thought we’re doing similar sort of stuff catering to slightly different markets because Radz was working with more Indian designers and we were working with Pakistani designers. We thought let’s try and do an event together. It’ll be fun and interesting to see what we can pull together. We’ll bring in a few Indian and Pakistani designers and put them on a catwalk and it will be first of its kind. When we did the event together our energies worked so well together that we figured it made sense to continue to work together.
S: You’ve hosted pop up stores, fashion weekends and you run the studio as well. How has working together on these projects been compared to if you were doing this alone?
Aisha: I think it’s the scale of what we can do when there’s more people coming together; there’s more ideas and more creativity. There’s a greater scale that you can accomplish.
Radhika: I think we’re very similar because we have full time jobs and little children so it would have been difficult to manage this on such a large scale. I think all three of us had the same vision and we wanted to do the same thing, but we couldn’t do it separately. We’re able to do a lot more together.
Aamna: I wouldn’t have coped! I think in terms of getting the designers and selling, would be fine. All of the other stuff, I wouldn’t know what’s going on. We all have our own strengths.
S: So what are your specific roles within the company?
Aisha: So Aamna does our creative work. She runs the studio as it’s based at her home so that makes more sense. A large part of her work is seeing and working with our clients. Radhika does more design and liaison, working on pitches and sponsorships. I do more the accounting and financial aspect of the business. All of us to a certain extent do a little bit of brand management. We all have designers we work with individually.
There’s three elements to our clients, which includes customers, designers who we also provide a service to and there are the stockists we distribute to.
S: You had a very busy year in 2014. Can you tell us more about the events you hosted last year?
Aisha: Well we did the Faisana Fashion Weekend, which was our first event together and that was a fashion show with three Indian designers and three Pakistani designers. We had two parts to it. We had the evening event which was on the Friday where we had drinks, canapes and the fashion show. That was a VIP buying event and our trunk show was the next day. At Diwali, we did the Diwali pop up and the concept behind that was to have a luxury shopping experience and to create more of a department store vibe. We didn’t want it to have a ‘mela’ feel. We wanted it to be luxurious, high end and most importantly an experience. We had champagne, we had separate areas, lounges, a home ware section, we had jewellery and clothing.A separate area for the kids and fitting rooms too.
Radhika: That sort of concept had never been done before. We always try and do things that are unique and have never been attempted before.
Aamna: Even though our personalities are different, our vision has always been high end, luxurious and internationally focused.
The trio are definitely a force to behold. Together they have carved out exactly what they envisioned when they first got together. The latest event at London’s Green Park echoed their idea for a departmental feel where visitors could wander into different rooms, admire carefully picked items from the collections and even try on garments that took their fancy.
True to their word, champagne, tea and coffee were on hand as well as delicious nibbles and cupcakes that really gave the whole show a sense of exclusivity.
Making a very sharp transition into a completely different industry can be daunting, but together, the ladies at Stitch Three have shown that it is achievable.
“What’s important about when you think about changing careers is not just about what you have knowledge in, but what you have skills in. Any new business requires a certain amount of skill. One of those things is having passion for the product or service you’re selling. But equally you need to be able to organise yourself, follow processes and document everything. So for me, I would say is knowing that you can source those skills when starting a new business,” Aisha explained.
“You should work with a product or a service that you feel for and have passion for. Knowledge can be built, so you can go and research and learn stuff but you have to be able to apply that knowledge and you can only do that if you have a connection to that specific area.”