Blending traditional Pakistani crafts with modern silhouettes, fashion designer Sahar Atif creates spectacular bridal, formal and casual wear under her signature brand SAAI.
There has been no looking back for Sahar Atif, the pioneer princess of SAAI a leading brand for bridal, formal and casual wear, since she rolled out of the first experimental batch of PIFD (Pakistan Institute of Fashion Design) in 1998.
An artist by nature, Sahar has never been intimidated by challenges. She has chosen to look them in the eye and faced them with grace, be it her passion for fashion or her continual efforts in the revival of rural craft. A glimpse of Sahar – the maestro- at work, absorbed in her creations would open a new window into the life of this passiondriven designer. Sahar works like an ancient artisan working on every piece of her creation.
In 2012 Sahar took on Pareesa, a brand launched by ChenOne (One of Pakistan’s largest retail chain) as a Creative director. It was a very wholesome experience which transformed the artist within her into an entrepreneur – a true marriage of sorts.
Every time she opens the ramp she bedazzles her audiences with a unique blend of bridal couture and fusion of latest trends along with the shades of traditional weave and unmatched excellence. Although she likes to experiment yet her identity is defined by the traditions of the subcontinent.
By Sahar Atif
Established in 2004, SAAI by Sahar Atif is an under stated, minimalistic brand best known for the designers’ signature incorporation of Pakistani craft and heritage within each creation. Indeed SAAI’s outlook towards design is extremely experimental with the female form, at times playing with body sculpted silhouettes and at other instances draping it in yards of flowing fabrics to create the allure of mysterious romanticism teamed with the timelessness of craft embroideries.
Sahar Atif herself is a graduate of the first batch of Pakistan Institute of Fashion and Design [PIFD] who further studied fashion marketing in America. She encapsulates the spirit of entrepreneurship with her expanding brand SAAI and academia through her work as a teacher within the realms of fashion. To this end, Sahar is an integral part of the visiting faculty at PIFD where she teaches fashion marketing to aspiring designers. She also currently heads the Design and Textile Department at the Lahore Grammar School and is also working in close coordination with the University of Cambridge in the implementation and design of an A-level module in Textile, Design and Fashion.
While SAAI was initially launched with a focus on bridal and formal wear, the brand has grown to encompass a diversity of labels including pret-a-porter, Haute Couture and diffusion wear. July 2005 saw the launch of ‘SAAI Concepts’, a brand focusing on home accessories with its retail outlet in Lahore. In 2007 Sahar showcased her SAAI bridal collection at the coveted Bridal Asia platform in New Delhi to an overwhelming response from media and buyers alike.
The SAAI “Revival Collection” in 2008 saw collaboration between SAAI and AikHunarAikGhar [AHAN], an organization focused on encouraging the revival of craft and the empowerment of marginalized rural women in Pakistan.
The SAAI “Revival Collection” in 2008 saw collaboration between SAAI and AikHunarAikGhar [AHAN], an organization focused on encouraging the revival of craft and the empowerment of marginalized rural women in Pakistan. The 2009 witnessed the showcasing of SAAI’s Bridal collection at the Asiana Bridal Show in January of the same year to much acclaim. At the 2010 PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week, Sahar Atif made her runway debut in Pakistan with her critically acclaimed “Gulistani Sahar” prêt a porter collection, inspired by the regional embroideries of rural Pakistan. This was followed by the showcasing of “Lattice Lure” in November 2010, inspired by locally crafted embroideries.
In February 2011 SAAI was invited to present its collection at the Mauritius Fashion week and later in the year, Sahar showcased “Domail”, a collection in which AHAN came together with SAAI under the umbrella of Sahar Atif ’s design aesthetics, focusing on ethnic Kashmiri embroidery, at the PFDC Fashion week platform. Thus far, 2012/14has witnessed Sahar Atif ’s collaboration with Chen One’s Pareesa Lawn brand. Sahar single handedly took responsibility of Chen One’s participation in “Lifestyle Pakistan” in New Delhi. A hugely successful venture both brand and designer. Pareesa showcased in the PFDC fashion week 2014 in the high street category, Presenting runway lines to the mass market customer on the Chenone racks.
Sahar continues to be an integral part of the Chen One team as a the Creative Director of Pareesa.
SAAI showcased at PFDC Bridal Couture Week 2012 and 2013 and also exhibited at Bridal Asia in New Delhi in 2013.