Samina Khan | Fashion Designer, New Delhi


Samina Khan is a very articulate and a warm person, who would go many extra miles to help others. Always armed with a smile, she believes in networking well.  From being a science graduate from Woman’s Collage M.A. Road, Srinagar, to her Law Degree from Kashmir University, Samina decided to excel in an industry she was not trained for. Today she has established herself as a fashion designer with her own Cloths Label.

Excerpts from an interaction with Rajesh Prothi.

Why did you pick up a profession, which is different from what you studied?.
Being a science graduate to an advocate has been quite a journey. From law to fashion has been equally fascinating. Yes, it might seem whimsical but that’s how I am. I was in search of something that would be me, finally, I found it and landed being a fashion designer. I always had a flair for fashion so it was something that came naturally.

You have created a brand for your clothing. Which geographical area is your brand focused on?
I create very original and simple designs suitable for the time and season I have exhibitions. If it’s a summer exhibition, I have summer clothes and vice versa. Delhi exhibitions are different from cooler places like Kashmir as Delhi’s summers are hot, unlike Kashmir’s climate. In Kashmir silk and velvet sell even in summer whereas in Delhi one is able to sell stuff that is suitable for summer only. In winter Kashmir sells only warm clothing whereas in Delhi at the same time all time of fabrics are sold.

In your designs have you in any way incorporated the designs from Kashmir?
I am a Kashmiri and Kashmiri things are dear to me. As I live in Delhi I yearn for Kashmir. My embroideries and style reflect that. Colors, designs, and embroideries are very beautiful and resplendent in Kashmir and I have an eye for good designs. In Delhi, people love Kashmiri designs and it sells very well if they are ethenic Kashmiri works and are authentic in nature. I don’t like mixing modern with traditional embroideries and that is how I keep them very traditional. The old tilla traditional designs reflect our culture, the paisley, chinar, and tulips are indented in our taste. Since I have exhibitions in Kashmir I have to see to the taste of my clients and provide them with materials and designs which are not available in Kashmir, so I have to design and print different styles and looks. That is the reason I have survived in this competitive fashion world.

You are a mother also, how do you balance your time between work and home?
I am a mother first after that a fashion designer, so I have set my priorities right. It is easy to balance if one knows how to manage work and children together. Since I work from home it is easier to handle both situations. I have three daughters and bringing them up along with work has been quite a challenge. In the long run, it has proved its worth, girls are all grown up, up to the mark and work has also flourished. I thank my stars and god for that and my patience is worth mentioning too!

Every year you go back to the Valley, what changes have you witnessed since you moved out of Kashmir?
Since I left Kashmir some 25 years back, I have witnessed a sea of change in Kashmiri taste. Previously in Kashmir, people had very less taste in fashion and would go for safe designs and colors. Now they want different materials, designs, and vibrant colors. The cut and styles of dresses matters to them. They know what is in and make it a point to dress fashionably, but as compared to Delhi they still don’t venture into bold designs as the atmosphere in Kashmir is less flamboyant and the culture is less exposed to what we see in Delhi. Previously cotton would not sell in Kashmir, as cotton is not a formal dressing material here. But now since I design more cotton and make them into formal wear they love them. I give them different choices like long skirts, floor-length gowns, jackets, and pants which are quite different from the mundane.

At home how do you try to keep the Kashmiri culture alive?
I am married into a Punjabi family, but I as a Kashmiri want Kashmiriyat everywhere be it my food, my walnut furniture, my copper utensils to my nun chai, and kehwah. Crewel curtains, Kashmiri carpets, and namdas decorate my home. I breathe, eat and sleep Kashmir. My daughters don’t speak Kashmiri properly but I make it a point to make them understand what I speak. Kashmir is a cultural hub of softness, friendliness, humor, hospitability, and generosity. I try to live up to it.