In an exclusive conversation with OK! Pakistan, Rashmi talks about her journey and her return to fashion after a hiatus


Pakistan’s vibrant fashion scene is all set to welcome its latest entrant: Rashmi Kumari Ahmad. Boasting a wealth of design experience across continents, from India to the US, to the UAE and now Pakistan, Rashmi’s creative sensibilities are geared towards reinterpreting subcontinental tradition through the lens of contemporary silhouettes, drapes, motifs and embellishments. This, while emphasising ease and convenience without compromising materials or stun appeal – “think showstoppers at destination weddings”, as she puts. Rashmi’s pieces exude romance, sensuality and sophistication, beautifully interlacing the bold, bright and delicate to create luxurious couture ensembles.

When and how did you begin your professional foray as a designer and how did it come about?
RASHMI KUMARI AHMAD: I started my fashion journey at a very young age when I moved to New York. I have worked with pretty much all the big international brands including the likes of Alice Temperley, Mathew Williamson, Jenny Packam, Giorgio Armani and Pucci, among a host of others industry greats. Following my move to Dubai in 2005, I launched my own label by the name of C’est Moi Couture in 2007. My gowns and kaftans retailed internationally in stores such as Saks 5th Avenue, Bloomingdale’s and Harvey Nichols. The brand saw huge success globally until I opted to take a sabbatical in 2017.

Born in India, having lived in New York and Dubai, you today call Pakistan home – tell us about your journey thus far.
RKA: I moved to Karachi in 2018 and have absolutely loved the experience so far. Aside from finding a new home and new friends, as a designer, the move has uniquely positioned me to merge and marry the best of Indian and Pakistani fashion, design and craftsmanship. It was an opportunity I simply couldn’t give up.And after a six year hiatus, you’re back with a big bang – tell us more. Earlier this year, I launched a new venture, my new label Rashmi Kumari Official. I saw a huge gap in the market with regard to saris. My specialty are modern and contemporary saris with beautiful hand embellishments – primarily stitched and easy to wear so that they can be worn by all.

What is your design ethos?
RKA: The ethos behind the label is to perfect an always-flattering, timeless aesthetic that caters to glamorous women, whatever their shape and size. My first collection is constructed using sheer chiffons, lux silks and stunning velvets in a gorgeous palette. We’ve aimed to highlight organic but nascent subcontinental capabilities – unsung women artisans whose creations are as romantic as their stories are.

What has thus far been your greatest learning?
RKA: To not hold on. I am a creature of habit and strangely, not too experimental. I’ve always hesitated thinking outside the box and pushing boundaries, often resulting in me getting comfortable and complacent. Time and time again, I need to keep reminding myself, I need to reassess, rethink and realign every so often.

What is your motto in life?
RKA: Carpe Diem – seize the moment, the hour and day and live it to the fullest as if it were your last!

What do you enjoy doing the most in your downtime?
RKA: I am an avid reader. There is nothing quite like settling down to a good book and I am someone who is forever on the hunt for a new read. My all-time favourite has to be The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak – Rumi’s journey of self-discovery, spirituality and love is simply compelling.

Which designer/design house inspires you and why?
RKA: I am greatly inspired by Coco Chanel. She was a visionary and trail blazer, way ahead for her times.

Is there any one person you one day wish to dress?
RKA: For me, each and every client is a celebrity, I therefore have no ambitions of dressing any one in particular. The ethos of my brand is that whoever wears my clothes should feel like a star – my designs are made to complement and flatter all body types.

Had you not been a designer, what might have been your alternate calling?
RKA: Let me tell you a secret, I am a closet singer. Had fashion design not been my professional calling, I would very definitely have been a struggling singer. Music influences me in a big way – it inspires and uplifts me, it spurs my creativity and gives me immense happiness. Like Plato said: “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” 


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