Designer Force - Fatima Irfan talks with You & I

A self-taught designer, Fatima is the force behind one of Hyderabad’s most fashionable boutiques – Adaa. From traditional custom-made creations to ready-to-wear outfits, her store stocks it all. We caught up with Fatima this week to find out what keeps her going.

How did you get into the fashion world?
I am a self-taught designer. Fashion is something I have always been super comfortable with. I was fortunate to have relatives in my family who were very knowledgeable about Nizami clothing and heritage, and so I picked up nuances about styling and fashion at an early age. I believe in designing apparel that has a timeless appeal and cuts across barriers of age and nationality. My journey has been extremely gratifying so far.

Tell us something about your store, Adaa.
Adaa is a fashion boutique that was born out of my creative vision. At my store, I design apparel that I believe will make my clients look elegant and feel comfortable. I have been working with a team of karigars, tailors, printers, and dyers for the last 15 years, and each day has been an enriching experience. It gives me great satisfaction to see the illustrations transformed into stylish garments.
Through the years, I have developed a keen rapport with my clients. I know exactly the colours and cuts each of them likes. For custom-made designs, I make it a point to understand the client’s sensibilities before starting work. My apparel ranges from bridal wear to pret (ready-to-wear), sarees, khada dupattas, and other styles of ethnic clothing. My latest collection, Mah’noor – Spring Summer 2017, is a celebration of ethnic summer wear in shades of ivory with subtle embroidery on natural fabrics. Today, Adaa boutique has dedicated clients from all over the world, and we also retail at reputed fashion boutiques across India.


What inspires you?
Creativity in every possible form inspires me, especially fashion. I love hand-woven and hand-dyed natural fabrics. I believe in style that is soaked in comfort. Your clothes must make you feel special. When I travel across the world, I notice an amazing collection of fabrics, embellishment and cuts, as well as the flair with which artisans craft them together. Life is the best teacher. I also find inspiration in women who have achieved success in their careers against all odds.

What have been some of the most exciting experiences in your career so far?
I still remember my first exhibition 15 years ago, where I showcased 100 apparels and all of them were sold out. From then on, I have earned a lot of appreciation for my work and my clients have almost become an extended family. Another exciting event was our latest fashion show, Mah’noor, which was held at the Taj Krishna, Hyderabad. I focused on Sufi-inspired fashion apparel that is just right for the season, and the show was a huge success. Also, designing khada dupattas for celebrities like Sharmila Tagore, Soha Ali Khan, and Shobha De was an experience by itself.

Any style tips for our readers?
I think how we dress is an extension of our personality. That’s why some of us look good in traditional apparel, while others look stunning in western wear. What really matters is that you feel comfortable. If you feel good, you will definitely look great. There is absolutely no need to fit in and follow the latest trend. ‘Be yourself’ is the mantra I live by.

Who do you feel are the most stylish stars in Bollywood today?
Sonam Kapoor, Twinkle Khanna, and Nandita Das are some of the lovely ladies with great charm and style. They have a great mix of glamour and sophistication.

What is your motto in life?
It is very important to have goals that inspire you to work harder. I am of the opinion that we tend to give away a lot about ourselves through our behaviour. Therefore one must always act with humility and prudence.            – as told to Suneela