India's fashion icon Kirmani back in Valley to promote fashion | india | Hindustan Times
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India's fashion icon Kirmani back in Valley to promote fashion

The country's famous fashion designer Zubair Kirmani --- who left conservative Kashmir at the peak of militancy to pursue his interest in fashion despite societal pressures --- has decided to set-up a unit in Srinagar with an aim: to define nuances of fashion to people here and to alleviate condition of artisans.

india Updated: May 25, 2010 17:45 IST
Peerzada Ashiq

The country's famous fashion designer Zubair Kirmani --- who left conservative Kashmir at the peak of militancy to pursue his interest in fashion despite societal pressures --- has decided to set-up a unit in Srinagar with an aim: to define nuances of fashion to people here and to alleviate condition of artisans.

"I am returning not because I could not make it big in the country. I am back in Kashmir with a success story and want people to replicate the same success story," Kirmani (31), who owns a widely known brand Bounipun (Kashmiri for leaves of chinars).

From sketching shirts of friends as a child to meticulously detailing models for reputed fashions shows like Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week to Kolkata fashion week, the Kashmir-born designer has come a long way.

"It hasn't been easy to create a niche in the fashion industry. But with the dint of efforts and love for the art, I managed to reach this stage," Kirmani told the Hindustan Times.

Kirmani for more than three years have been a regular feature at the country prestigious and covetous Wills Lifestyle fashion show. He has already attracted clients like music maestro A.R. Rehman and singers like Kalash Kher and his work reviewed by European and UK top-notch fashion magazines.

After so much of success what attracted Kirmani to set up unit in the Valley? "I always had this thing in my mind to return to the Valley at the peak of my success and motivate more people here to follow their creative traits rather than traditional occupations. I want to explain nuances of fashion to people here, educate them," said Kirmani, who sells his range of designs in England, Spain, Beirut besides at reputed malls in Mumbai and Bangalore.

Kirmani has come with a dream for Kashmir artisans and craftsmen. "I want to set up a unit here. Once successful, I will rope in artisans and pay them good wages besides offering medical insurances, missing at this point in time in the Valley. Poor conditions have been the main source for many artisans to switch over to other trades," said Kirmani, who is launching a unit at Nageen and supply his ranges to selective shops in Srinagar.

Kirmani has also come to Kashmir to prove a point: "We can project Kashmirart as brand. Now that I have an established brand why not to promote real art and craft from the state. Paris fashion circles to promote Kashmir art are not as far as we think."

Kirmani sees a huge untapped market here. "I receive calls for wedding suits. There are many people who want to spend on quality clothes. All big brands are already selling their ranges in the state," he added.

After Rohit Bal, Kirmani is only second from the state to join the elite fashion club of India and first to return to the roots to make a difference on the ground.