AUGUST | 2018 By Asma Hafiz (asma.hafiz.z@gmail.com)


No more do you need to look for apparels that will suit your look outside Kashmir as these Kashmiri female designers will help you develop a wardrobe with an edge. If you are looking for truly original fashion ideas then check out the work of these independent designers from Kashmir who have also been working on revolutionizing the concept of traditional Kashmiri wear besides keeping up with the trend.


Iqra Ahmad, 26, has a vintage designer clothing collection to which she adds a modern twist. Iqra’s fascination grew into an inclination for reviving Kashmiri art and culture which led to the establishment of her label, ‘Tulpalav’. “My fashion influences come from me being able to share my perception of fashion with the world. I am trying to represent my culture in the best possible way,” Iqra says. Tulpalav is an online personalized store which deals with a variety of clothing styles ranging from pherans (traditional Kashmiri tunics for summer and winter wear) to wedding dresses and the casual wear as well. In a few years, Tulpalav has blossomed into a widely recognized fashion label that is winning hearts in and outside the valley. Her key product is the custom-made “tilla pheran” which showcases her focus on traditional craftsmanship while also keeping in view the new trends in the world of fashion. “My designs are expressive and they are meant for all those women who have a faithful optimism in the changes we people are capable of bringing,” she says. She also caters to the demands of her clients through Facebook and Instagram where all her products are displayed for sale. “Once the order is made, I start working on the product and customize the designs as per the preference of the client. We also have delivery op - tions and the products can be returned in case the customer is not satisfied,” she says. Tulpalav produces designed and customized fash - ionable women’s apparel alongside ready-to-wear bridal and contemporary clothing with a detailed handwork and vibrant color palette. Iqra has a masters degree in Linguistics from Kashmir University and has done a course in Fashion Designing from Wegan Leigh College, Delhi.

Her collection can be viewed on her Instagram handle Tulpalav.


Even though Anam Siraj, 27, never studied fashion but she still managed to make a mark in this industry by opening her own fashion la - bel by the name Closet Cloud by Anam whose physical outlet is situated in the posh area of Rajbagh, Srinagar. After working in the corporate sector for a con - siderable period of time, Anam says she found herself tied to the everyday monotony of an office routine that stifled her creativity. Anam did business online for a year and a half and was overwhelmed by the kind of response she received and that is what drove her to open her own fashion studio. Iqra Ahmad, Founder, Tul Palav Anam Siraj, Founder,  “My label is for all those lovely ladies who take pride in what they wear and have a firm belief in personal style rather than following the latest trend blindly,” says Anam. Anam does not believe in “charging exorbitant rates in the name of fashion” and says that it does not affect her business. She also finds inspiration from traditional Kashmiri wear and has been working with Kashmiri aari and tilla embroidery work closely. She has successfully brought a new look to cultural attires of Kashmir by thinking outside of social conforms. “We have a rich culture and experimenting with it has given me joy that knows no bounds. My designs are solely based on personal customization. It is only you who knows what looks best on you and that is what I am here for, to help you make that vision a reality,” says Anam. Anam is a post-graduate in Commerce from the University of Kashmir and has a diploma in Textile Designing from Delhi. She also caters to the demands of her clients through her official Facebook and Instagram page on which her collection is displayed.

Check out her collection on her Instagram handle @closetcloudbyanam.


Kanavez is a young fashion brand operated by a team of three people who have been working to design modest apparels with a modern taste. This team consists of Mehvish Tariq (23), Saba Altaf (24) and Faizan Tariq (26) and each one of them has a different role to play. While Mehvish is in charge of employ man - agement and material handling, Saba looks after innovation and designing with Faizan handling the customers and logistics. “Whenever I went to shop for any occa - sion I always faced the dilemma of what to buy that would be both trendy and modest. These days it is not easy to find attires that fit the above criteria and we have devised a solution for that,” says Mehvish. After deciding that they would not start their venture by opening a physical store when they have platforms like Instagram, the team created their official Instagram page. Kanavez deals with shawls, pherans, abiya, bridal wear, tilla work, aari work and much more. They are also working with silk and want to promote it. The past few months have brought consid - erable success to this thriving brand of fash - ion and they are getting orders all across India. In the initial days when the brand was still struggling to steady its grounds, Saba decided to learn the art of stitching from YouTube and worked on the designs all by herself. In one of their designs, they introduced the work of papier-mache on designer shoes, adding to their unique collection. “Fashion gives you the potential to be versatile and you can be whoever you want to be. Our label is working on making garments that will look the best on you without compromising with comfort level,” says Saba. Saba is pursuing bachelors in Fine Arts while Mehvish is doing her MBA and Faizan is studying Chartered Accountancy.

Check out their bold and fashionable collection on their Instagram handle @Kanavez. 


To ensure quality and creative control, a label named as “Hangers - The Closet” by the young designer Sadia Mufti is working to make people aware of the benefits of designer wear apparels. Sadia started her journey as a fashion designer at a young age and has given a design edge to all the fashion outlets in the valley. Although having no formal education in Fashion Designing, she has come a long way in this industry with an amazing collection to offer. “You don’t require a degree for knowing what your potential is worth. Fashion designing is all about using your creativity and craftsmanship and no diploma or degree can bestow you with that,” she says. 26-year-old Sadia is striving to carve out a quality not quantity reputation which according to her is what really matters. “Introducing designer wear clothing in Kashmir is a tad bit difficult because it’s more expensive than the normal outfits as better quality fabrics are used. People here usually steer clear of pricey clothes as they have yet to grasp its true essence and that is what I want to change,” she says. She caters to her clients at her boutique which is situated at Sara City Mall, Lal Chowk while her collection is also displayed on her official Instagram and Facebook page. Her collection comprises of dresses, suites, gowns, kurtis, khaftan and stoles. “You bring your designs and patterns to me, I will make sure to create that look for you and that is what makes us unique. Personal style is highly valued at Hangers. We also deal with Pakistani suits as girls in Kashmir follow it rigorously. Also we deal with bags but only on orders,” Sadia says. Sadia has done her masters in International Business from IGNOU.

Check out her collection on her Instagram handle hangers_the_closet


Mariya Ashraf says she was drawn into fashion from a young age when she used to make clothes for her dolls and would love to experiment with patterns and designs. She is currently settled in Qatar and recently launched her first collection in 2017 by the name of Aroosi. “Aroosi comprises of a collection of 15 bridal outfits which includes formal, semi-formal and bridal. All of this collection was developed in Qatar with the aid of my team,” she says. Besides having a workshop in Qatar itself, Mariya decided to set up one in the vale too where she is working closely with a group of women who are master in hand embroidery. Mariya uses hand embroidery and pure fabrics and has worked with fabrics like Japanese and Korean velvet and Hareer, French chiffon, Italian crepe and organza, Banarasi jamawar. Initially she had a closed group of clientele from UK, Ireland, Pakistan, Middle East and Kashmir but now she has made available her designs online through Instagram and Facebook. Her forthcoming collection Sozni will be based in Kashmir and is dedicated to the artisans of Kashmir. Mariya did her MBA from Amity University and MS from New York University.

Her collection can be viewed on her Instagram handle mariyaashrafofficial.


These brands from Kashmir hold great potential and it becomes important to identify them so that other labels may find inspiration from them. Every big fashion brand name started somewhere; it’s just a matter of time and perseverance. Happy shopping!