with the luxury market going from strength to strength in pakistan (admit it, it is) it only makes sense that more local names join the game. while our fashionistas remain strongly obsessed with their 2.55s and birkins, local luxury handbag brands are popping up and gaining some serious mileage. and krizmah is one of these brands. but it isn’t your ordinary luxe, high-end brand. krizmah strives to keep the traditional arts of the chitrali region alive by bringing them into mainstream fashion.
krizmah is the brainchild of friends nadia malik (left) and zainab ulmulk (right). zainab, who hails from the katur dynasty of chitral, always derived inspiration from the intricate, traditional embroideries of the region.
she eventually joined forces with nadia to create a line of luxury handbags which showcased the traditional chitrali embroidery, specifically the kalani stitch. the duo began working directly with chitrali women in 2009 and went into retail a year later.
the bags themselves are require an immense amount of work and detail. each piece takes anywhere between 3-8 weeks to embroider, based on the design. all embroidery is done by hand by a single artisan, with one square inch of cloth consisting on a minimum of 200 stitches.
each krizmah design comes in two color options, with about 10-15 pieces of each option going into production. this is the best way to keep exclusivity. no one wants to see everyone else with the same bag as them.
the objective is to ensure that the consumer is getting best, high end product therefore nadia and zainab work with the best tanneries in the country for the leather for their bags, all of the hardware and accessories are imported from italy. the ladies take care of the designing themselves, with nadia handling the drawing. i suppose it helps having a graphic design background, as both of them do.
so far, krizmah has gotten an overwhelmingly positive response, with foreign buyers showing a keen interest in the products. locally, nadia and zainab believe the clients need to be more open to the concept of a local luxury brand, with local fashion councils doing more to include these local accessory brands in the fashion scene, specifically fashion weeks.
i have to add that the ladies behind krizmah are much more than businesswomen, they are also deeply involved with social and community work in the chitral region, with one of their major contributions being the funding of a young girl’s education each year.
krizmah recently launched their my secret garden collection in karachi and lahore, you can see the entire collection here. i especially love the fusion of contemporary elements (particularly the chunky gold chains) and shapes and traditional sceneries/embroideries on the bags.