Design Dubai


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Sabeen Manekia, the brains and talent behind ‘Ajrak’ is someone whose interest in fashion started at a very young age. Her passion for designing may have put on pause for a while, but she is back and better than ever.

We speak to her about her journey and more.

How did you get into fashion?
Although I never got to go to design school, I have always been interested in fashion since a young age. I initially started to design clothes after I got married and held exhibitions but discontinued once I had kids. Now after almost 15 years I wanted to revive that passion for fashion again and so I started my brand ‘Ajrak’.

Why the name ‘Ajrak’?
Before getting married, I lived in Karachi my entire life and I was surrounded by its Sindhi culture, which is very close to my heart. The word Ajrak has a very catchy feel to it also, and I try to bring in a touch of the Sindhi culture in my designs as well.

Where do you get the inspiration from?
I try to stay close to what is trendy and most in demand in the constantly changing eastern fashion industry by studying the latest trends that are being practiced by celebrities and other influences from the fashion industry.

Have you seen any difference in style sensibilities and design choices in Pakistan and Dubai?
Definitely. All sorts of areas have been catered towards the international market here in Dubai. The buyers here love everything from Western to Eastern fashion, from embroidery to intricate embellishments cause, whereas in Pakistan you are constantly influenced by the ongoing trends.

A style icon today, in your opinion?
Mahira Khan is definitely a style icon. She is a fashion diva in the Pakistani industry and she has all the features that a fashion icon should have. She has a great sense of dressing and incomparable style.

What is your idea of comfort clothing? What would we find you in on a day off?
Currently, it’s a pair of dhoti pants and a short kurta! Comfortable, yet stylish!


Tell us about your latest collection.
My latest collection focuses on a variety of casuals and semi-formal cotton net, organza kurtis with lots of embroidery! We tried to keep the designs comfortable, yet stylish and something that would appeal to a large audience from different cultures and age groups with reasonable prices.

Your take on Dubai and its fashion scene.
Dubai is a growing market. It is completely unique in that with all the expatriates and multi-cultured influences, it’s one of those cities that have a little bit of everything. This is definitely reflected in its fashion scene.

Flash-forward a decade, where do you see the label?
My hopes are to continue to grow and develop the brand while maintaining the quality and standard of our clothes. We want to build and hopefully become a well-known global brand.