Ujala Ali Khan talks to Shabnam Naz, the designer behind the recently opened boutique Tima Fashion Galleria in Dubai.
From simple, floaty kaftans to heavily embellished bridal gowns, the newly opened Tima Fashion Galleria in Jumeirah, Dubai, houses Pakistani fashion for every occasion.
Launched last month, the boutique is designed like the boudoir of every fashionista's dream. Exquisite, hand-carved wardrobes carry the bulk of the collections, while the more exclusive bridalwear finds a home in a special zone resembling a classic bridal room where ladies looking forward to their big day can lounge with family and friends as they browse through clothes and accessories.
"I wanted to offer my clientele a truly special shopping experience by surrounding them with unique international and regional designer collections in a feminine and calming environment," says the Pakistani designer and entrepreneur Shabnam Naz, the woman behind the multi-brand luxury boutique. "I wanted it to be a place that feels chic, fashionable and welcoming."
She says of the collections featured in the boutique, which come from designers she handpicked: "We have an exclusive range in formal and casualwear, unique bridal pieces and everyday items designed to make a difference." The boutique also features the Italian designer Julian Martin and the Pakistani brands Lakhani's, Peter Sham and Walkies.
"I excel in Pakistani design for women but I also wanted Tima to offer Dubai more than just that, so I brought men's traditional wear from Pakistan. As Tima also caters to Arabs, I included an Italian designer in the mix who does Arab wedding gowns," Naz explains.
Naz, 40, studied fashion design in Karachi, Milan and Paris and only started formally designing five years ago, but says she's been interested in fashion for two decades.
"I have studied the work of many designers over the years," she says. "Life is a continuous learning process and I search for inspiration and motivation all the time. My philosophy about fashion is that it transcends the bounds of age: looking good is everyone's right."
In Naz's opinion, the late Princess Diana is the most stylish person in history. "She was fashionable in an inimitable, simplistic way. There was nothing flamboyant about her - just extremely understated elegance."
Naz insists that fashion without style is incomplete: "Fashion is something that you adopt. Style is inborn. Style is the personal touch you give to whatever you adopt. Without a good sense of style - or when lacking personal touch - the best of fashion can come across as boring.
"Sometimes, people just need a little bit of guidance and a nudge in the right direction. That's why I stress that I am not only a designer but also a fashion consultant. My clients at Tima get not only a fabulous piece of fashion, but the chance to discover their personal style, which is something much more long-lasting than fashion can ever be."
As a stylist, Naz has dressed a number of Pakistani celebrities, "many, many people from the film and media industries", she says. "But I don't want to name them. Client confidentiality!"
As the main designer and sole owner of Tima, Naz had to face certain challenges in opening the store.
"Constructing a fashion house in only two months was a huge challenge. Apart from the logistical aspects, I also had to ensure that every single piece was worthy of being in the boutique," she says. "My work is like my baby to me. It was weeks of back-breaking and nerve-racking work. But now that I see my dream having come true, those stressful weeks seem like nothing."
Tima Fashion Galleria is located at Villa 28 on Jumeirah Beach Road, opposite Mercato Mall and adjacent to National Bank of Dubai.