Royalty and what not: In conversation with MNR

Mohsin Naveed Ranjha, the chief designer of MNR design studio, took the fashion scene by storm after he showcased at the HUM TV Bridal Couture Week 2014, this year again he is ready to show his work in BCW 2016.

Since 2011, MNR has been pursuing his thirst for fashion and is finally starting to make a footing in Pakistan fashion industry.

Pakistan Today (PT) hence just had to meet up with this soaring designer.

PT: Who is Mohsin Naveed Ranjah (MNR)?

MNR: I am a struggling designer, trying to make a stand in a very competitive industry while competing with other designers and their work.

PT: How did you get into fashion designing?

MNR: My family runs the textile business in Gujranwala but I didn’t want to join them. I have always been very artistic and wanted to be a painter. So studying fashion from GIFT University in Gujranwala was the next best thing to being an artist.

PT: What are the biggest hurdles in the fashion industry?

MNR: It was difficult to arrange for good labour in the beginning, find good designers who can work for me but now I have crossed that.

PT: Why are you still operating from Gujranwala then? Why don’t we see you ever where?

MNR: When I participated in fashion shows people actually said “oh is that even a city” or “where exactly is that place”. But now I must say that the so called small city of Gujranwala has become my backbone.

Gujranwala isn’t a village anymore; it is the industrial hub of Punjab now, adjoining with Sialkot and Faisalabad. People come to me from all over the country now, in only three and a half years in the fashion industry.

I am just 27 years old and I am satisfied with my position. I don’t want things to get out of control which would be hard to manage with a family. I

have a nice studio in Islamabad at the moment and that is enough.

PT: Why haven’t you been participating in the fashion shows recently?

MNR: It’s useless to do such marketing when I don’t have stores in the big cities, it would be stupid on my part to promote in such a situation. People want instant response and easy commuting.

But yes, if a single customer comes all the way and leave happy they might bring in more, but people who haven’t heard of MNR as such won’t travel to that extent.

I will also be participating in Hum TV’s BCW this year on the May 6; I am very excited about it. I hope people like my collection.

PT: What is harder to produce prêt or bridals?

MNR: Mass production is easy; people come and get their choice off the rack. You earn on the spot and it goes into profit instantly.

With bridals, which of course have a larger profit margin, it takes months of discussions and arguments to get the final results.

PT: So what’s your ‘Design Philosophy’?

MNR: I like to believe that my work is a sonnet, an ode to beauty, romance, and nature.

My mantra behind the creations is to transform the people wearing my pieces into art, which might sound peculiar. But I like royalty. There will be hints of natural accents with a classic touch.

Basically, it concentrates on how effortlessly we create luxurious looking attires, with a subtle eastern sensuousness.

mnr-2-1PT: Some more details about your work patterns?

MNR: The fabrics are according to the seasons, ranging from sheer laces and nets to rich silk and jamawar. My work is very traditional.

The motifs are inspired by architecture, nature, mehrabs along with heavy work. The craft is defiantly traditional with modern-day spirit and silhouettes.

The surface embellishments are everything natural, from birds to flowers and animals. The colours and cut lines matter in each design.

We never use machines, it’s all hand work. I personally love gota, old vintage, and heritage techniques to create that texture.

PT: But don’t you think brides are looking for lighter designs now?

MNR: They definitely are, weddings have become very happening, brides dance too now, so people like easy to wear bridals, yet beautiful and royal.

The real challenge is how can we work in such a way that she looks like a royal bride and still be able to carry it?  And I love it!

The starting range for your bridals is about 2.50 lacs, formals at 50,000 and Pret 15,000.

PT: Why have the bridals become so expensive?

MNR: We have to pay for the marketing, fabric, staff, studio, labour, so many things. With mass production alone one can’t make a lot of profit.

The demand too is increasing, so is the competition. So people have a choice and they can choose the best. They chose designers for a reason; they are paying for the quality, professionalism and sincerity. So it is a bargain.

PT: How is MNR different from all the others?

MNR: Commitment to clients, delivery on time and our work quality is better than others. I believe in working really hard and all hand work.

Mostly designers use machine heads and on that they add work to make it look heavy, I do not deceive my clients.

PT: Let’s talk about your men’s line, why don’t a lot of designers promote their men’s line like their ladies?

MNR: We started suiting and sherwanis for men, jackets and other attires. It’s easier to handle men than women, men trust designers more. But then again, groom clothing ends at 2 lacs whereas, brides’ starts at 2 lacs.  

PT: What do you say to critiques?

MNR: It’s very heartening when people say “Ye kaha se agaya” (how did he come into the scene).It’s difficult for them to believe that an outsider has invaded their industry.

PT: Advise to brides and grooms?

MNR: Do your homework before you come in and wear what suits you.

Dress according to your body and not what’s in fashion, we are here to advise but the choice is yours.

PT: What’s in for the summers?

MNR: Lighter shades, Chiffons and Nets.

PT: Your say on plagiarism..?

MNR: If someone copies me, I feel good. Because it shows that I am producing something which the others aren’t and it’s an ego boost.

We at MNR do not use the net or magazines for our designs, I have four associate designers and I constantly keep a check on them.

PT: What’s next for MNR?

MNR: We shall be opening a studio in Lahore soon and then get down to doing shows and exhibitions abroad as well as locally.


Originally Published in Pakistan Today 

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