Asra Syed, an ace fashion designer whose designs are a piece of art joined NewsX for an exclusive interview session. Asra is a self-made designer who is inspiring others with her journey now. She says always wanted to be out there. “I wanted to make what I am good at. I wanted to have my own designs”. Like most of the girls, while growing up, Asra liked shopping but she also had ideas that she wanted to execute. “So the whole idea was to be creative out there and show what we can do”.
Asra’s initial inspiration comes from her very surroundings. She had designer friends who were already into designing professionally before her. “So working, interning with them, learning and understanding how designing works I decided I want to take it forward by pursuing fashion designing”. Asra did her degree from Mod’Art International for 3 years. “Ever since I joined college I was like I want a label called Asra. So it is something that I have been looking forward to, so it means a lot, I worked to be here today”.
The source of her constant inspiration that keeps her going comes from her everyday life. “When I dream, I get ideas. I see something, some colours or someone walking on the road and some outfit they are wearing and how I can incorporate that into my designs. Architecture, anything inspires me. I am wild when it comes to getting inspired by things”.
Asra’s journey had its ups and downs. There surely was a time when she was a newbie in the industry. “Initially when I just decided that I want to do this I had not worked enough in the industry so I have learnt everything on my own experiences. So it was a little tough, it took me two years to have my team in place, to have my place, to have my store and how I am going to go about, the kind of line I want to display, what are my inspirations, like a lot of things” But as days passed, with experiences, that changed and Asra and her team progressed every day.
Every successful business has a uniqueness of its own. ”
Her muse she says is an everyday woman, a woman who inspires all. ”The muse of our brand is someone who is a hard-working woman, she’s family-oriented because we are into couture and we do bridal as well”. So mainly they focus on executive wear since there are not many executive brands from India. “We have a lot of other brands like Zara and XYZ. I felt like there is this gap that we need to bridge where we are having elegant and classy silhouettes for women who are working. So our executive wear is very inspired by all those things. We want a bold but we want a working, outgoing personality”. Also, according to Asra their USP is that they “want to make you look good, so anything that we make, we make sure that you look good in it”.
In these unfortunate COVID times, the nationwide lockdown had impacted almost all the businesses across the globe. Asra’s business also faced some issues that they surely didn’t see coming. “Since we are also into bridal couture, it did affect us largely. Since not many weddings are taking place and it did affect our business in a very different way”. However, people are now getting back to normal, taking precautionary measures. “We are trying to get back to our clients and trying to tell them that we are all hygienic and working nicely and we want to deliver our best”.
Since everything just stopped for the last three months, Asra says that she hopes that now people will be coming out, there will be more marriages and there will be more people going to work. “It’s a great market I see for us now”. In these uncertain and complex times, Asra and her team changed their way of working. “We did a lot of video calls, we called our clients and did as much as calls that we could on WhatsApp. Also, we were making sure that our employees are not at risk while working for us”. According to Asra, they didn’t have a lot so they were doing more of ready-to-wear clothes for their clients. Asra mentioned that they are into bridal couture as well. “There were too many people who got married during the lockdown as well. Some were not willing to get married so they had smaller functions, so we were carrying those out during this time”.
Businesses have gone completely online during coronavirus times and the trend of online shopping has exponentially increased. According to Asra, online is the next “big thing”, it’s the future of fashion. “We are working on our website. All this while we were working on our social media and through our store”.
She thinks that people will be more comfortable sitting at their homes and shopping overcoming and having a look themselves at the clothes. But keeping that in mind, she also recognizes that not everyone is comfortable shopping online. “We are taking appointments, having appointments so we do not crowd the place and give everyone time to have a look at our collection if they are interested, so we are just keeping all these things in mind”.
Speaking of plans, Asra said that sky is the limit for her. “We definitely see ourselves going international. International in the sense I would like to have stores everywhere in the world, we are working towards it and Inshallah, one day we will make it”.