Coined as the Coco Chanel of the East, Maheen Khan is one of Pakistan's leading fashion icons. Designing clothes for the independent woman, she's been in the industry for 40 years and has showcased her collections around the globe including London, Paris, Rome, Milan and Singapore amongst others.
"I design specifically for that strong stylish woman who knows her mind,” says Khan, explaining that her clothes are inspired by women who are comfortable in their own skin.
“The confidence to dress the way you perceive yourself comes from within. Once you’ve discovered the essence of who you are you will discover your style.”
With only a high school diploma under her belt, Khan’s first encounter with fashion came when she worked for Pakistan’s, SHE magazine, as a writer and model. It was from there that her career in fashion took flight being one of the founding members of the Fashion Council in Pakistan (Fashion Pakistan) which held its first fashion week in Pakistan in 2009.
Now, 40 years later, Khan has emerged as one of the most successful fashion designers in the country. Renowned for being a trendsetter, visionary and an inspiration for Pakistani women and women worldwide, Khan’s been the recipient of many awards including the Lux Style Award, Style Icon award, as well as the 'Benazir Women Excellence Award’ for Best Women Wear Designer.
In conjunction with her fashion line, Khan and her team have also worked on movies including the Queen and Oliver Stone’s, Alexander, (amongst others) designing and embroidering many of the costumes .
However, Khan says above all, she enjoys her day-to-day work the most and that she’s now focusing on the opportunity to give back to the fashion world by promoting emerging talent. Khan places particular emphasis on young fashion designers and models, trying to give them a break when she can. She says young talent is the key ingredient to ensuring the sustainability and growth of the fashion industry within Pakistan.
In an exclusive interview, Sam Mednick sat down with Khan to get her insight into her incredible career, Pakistani fashion, emerging trends and the striking differences between fashion in the east and fashion in the west.
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