a stylish homecoming
"See this punjabi coat? It's got that sherwani-style high collar, but opens up in the front, and you wear another kurta underneath it. It's a look that will give you the Matrix feel without departing from the Sub-continental tradition.”
Clad in a pink-and-white striped shirt and jeans with sneakers, his dark brown hair cropped close to his head, his face half-obscured by a well-trimmed salt-and-pepper beard, brown eyes sparkling with creative energy, Amir Adnan could belong to any place in the world. And that's what his style is about: truly cosmopolitan.
Amir Adnan's meteoric rise to fame and fashion began in 1990, when the business graduate, stepped out to realize his own individual style, at the same time translating it to the demands of a frustrated market. The need for a simple necktie took him to Italy where he trained and returned with an ingenious approach to reconstructing this basic accessory. His chic, shimmering neckties, a rebellion against the prevailing corporate culture, caught on like wildfire, opening up avenues for more extensive production, and Adnan himself decided to test his creative skills.
Once on the quest, Adnan took to designing with ambition and passion. In 1992, he launched his line of italic jeans in America. The jeans, which featured basic denim block-printed with an ethnic touch, provided just the right fusion look that quickly became popular. He followed this up by turning his attention to the revival and evolution traditional Pakistani sherwani, after attending a wedding in 1994, which opened his eyes to the potential there. “I seriously think this [the Sub-Continent] is the next fashion capital” he says. “Previously, we lacked the technology, but we've got it now, and we've got something else; a rich cultural and traditional heritage. You know how desi fast food is so popular abroad? A burger made by an Indian or a Pakistani would taste different because it has that extra masala to it; not too over the top, but still spicy, and with that exotic taste that makes Europeans and Americans go crazy over them? It's the same with our fashion. We have the scope to be trendy and metropolitan, and still adhere to our traditions.”
A little over a decade since its inception, the house of Amir Adnan is now the largest network of designer wear in Pakistan today, and has international outlets in America, Dubai and elsewhere. Riding on the success of this venture, Adnan, and his lovely wife Huma (a fellow business graduate who handles the marketing side of the business) launched a new label FNK Asia, which focuses on street fashion. The look is very chic, with lots of bold bright colours, and yet conservative. They've also launched their own fashion magazine called High.
A descendant of Nawab Sir Salimullah, and heir to Bangladeshi traditions, Amir Adnan is looking to launch an outlet here in Dhaka. For the globe-trotting genius, this is like a homecoming. His prêt a porter line for both men and women promises chic, trendy, and yet comfortable clothing. As the man puts it, “When I'm designing, I like to envision the wearer sporting my clothes with equal ease at a black-tie party and a simple family event.” Having spent some time out here in Dhaka, exploring market conditions, he hopes to be in operation by Eid. Now that's something to look forward to!
By Sabrina F Ahmad
Photo: Amir Adnan