As a woman entering the workforce- there are a number of seemingly insurmountable obstacles that one must encounter. How do you make your voice heard, or your presence felt? How do you stay true to yourself and your vision, or establish yourself as a fearless leader? How do you carve yourself a niche in a space that seems determined to ignore you, and your ideas?
If you’ve ever found yourself pondering over these very things, indulge yourself in an enlightening conversation with a fierce trio of trailblazing young ladies who have managed to make their mark with their bold and assertive style, all while staying true to their unique artistic spirit. Join us as we take a deep dive into what inspires them, their artistic process, and their individual journeys. Their experiences will assure you that once you devote yourself to your craft, the sky is the limit regardless of any adversities you may encounter.
Anna Salman rose to fame at the tender age of 16 when she had her first big-break as a part of an all-female ensemble band that was featured on Nescafé Basement. She’s gone on to release various singles and has developed something of a cult following with her vulnerable lyricism and hauntingly beautiful vocal stylings. In our conversation, we asked her what fuels her musical works.
So, what inspires you?
Majority of artists in any field draw inspiration from their own lives or their surroundings. I believe that most of my songs were written when I was nostalgic or bittersweet about something in my life.
When did you first realize that you had an inclination towards music and what inspired you to pursue it professionally?
I’ve always been drawn to this medium and viewed it as a form of expression and a source of comfort. I joined Soundcloud on a whim and began posting my songs- but it wasn't until a few years later that I realised the full magnitude of it. When I look back, all the steps I took had led me towards my career in music. After performing on Nescafe Basement, I decided to pursue it more seriously. It was really just the idea of being on stage and having others sing the words back to you that appealed to me. It's a magical thing!
How did your family react when you first decided to take up music professionally?
Totally on board! My father was responsible for dropping me off to sets late at night, and my mother would listen to all of my troubles because it was my first time in the professional world.
How would you describe your music?
My music began as a fusion of eastern and western styles. With the All-Girl Band, our first cover, Love Me Again, was an English pop song but with instruments like a sitar and tabla. As a solo artist, I’d describe my style as indie-pop.
Which musician do you admire the most and why?
There are many, but Taylor Swift has always been at the top of my list because of her remarkable song writing ability.
What is the best and worst thing about being a musician?
The nicest part is discovering how much your music has influenced someone's life, and the worst part is the senseless hate you may receive on the internet.
How do you deal with the pressure of performing on stage?
I'm still figuring things out, but I'm learning that feeling nervous before a performance is natural, because it is simply your body's way of indicating that you want to do your best. It's a part of being human.
You’ve been a part of an “All-Girl Band” (literally) - what misconceptions would you like to clear regarding females not being able to get along with each other?
I believe it is ridiculous that this notion exists and that it only applies to our gender. I believe that getting along with others has less to do with gender and more to do with how people communicate with one another. I loved every minute of being in an all-girl band; I collaborated with female musicians who turned into friends. Even after parting ways, we still have immense love and admiration for each other. We respect that each of us desire different things from our lives and careers and have to follow our own paths.
What advice would you give to aspiring young female musicians?
Don’t ever set the bar low for yourself. Make the most of the opportunities you have, make mistakes and learn from them, and of course, make music that you'd enjoy listening to!
What’s next for Anna Salman?
I’m working on my EP currently!
And our final question- what’s a song title that describes you?
I’m Awkward and Shy by NVTHVN
Creativity is _?
To me, creativity is playing with reality.
Why did you decide to take up art direction?
After completing my Undergrad in Toronto, I came back to Lahore wanting to pursue a career in the fashion industry. I started with photography, and while playing around with the frame for my shots I realised that I was more interested in creating the sets. As I began sharing my work and receiving a positive response, I decided I wanted to do my own sets and art direction, so I could have more control over the outcome.
What inspires you?
My interactions with different people everyday, music that I listen to, my travels- I think my work reflects all of these unique experiences and things that I love.
In what ways do you keep up with the latest creative tools and technologies?
Social media helps me and everyone else keep up with the latest innovations in my field- so I’d say it’s very useful.
How much is your work influenced by current events and trends?
It’s very important to keep your ear to the ground. I always know what’s happening in the industry and I do keep in touch with all the latest trends, but my work majorly depends on the mood of the shoot.
What’s the best creative experience you’ve had this past year?
I’ve worked with some of the best creatives in our country and they’ve all been amazing, I wish I could name just one experience.
Design projects can be challenging, what is one way you facilitate this process to make it go smoother?
Having a job you look forward to doing more every day helps things go smoothly, I usually try to ground myself and my team down as they play a crucial part in my career, and we can only perform our best when all of us are calm and in sync.
The nature of your work involves a lot of spontaneity and last-minute decisions. When your projects are not going as planned or when you face an obstacle, how do you communicate it to your colleagues and clients?
It’s all about intuition and improvising on the spot. There are a lot of things that don’t go as planned because there are many variable factors in my field; the weather for example. Usually, it works out for the better and fortunately my colleagues and clients have trusted my vision and helped me achieve what I’ve planned.
Creative output is very subjective. How do you respond to / deal with creative disagreements with colleagues or clients?
Being the eldest daughter in a Pakistani family helps in making you feel like you’re the one who needs to take control, and when I have a vision that I feel might not get executed to its optimum with budget and economic constraints, I need to get the client in the loop. There’s fortunately been a lot of regard for my creative vision and everyone I’ve worked with has given me the freedom to do what I’ve planned.
What challenges have you faced as a young female entering the industry?
I feel like every woman in this country is working in a man’s world. Having very limited women in my field it was a little difficult to get people to trust the fact that I’ll be able to pull this off. Dealing with so many vendors and departments filled with men is probably the hardest part of my job. It took me a while to understand the lingo and ways of our workforce. Fortunately, I’ve been blessed with an amazing team who’ve supported me completely this past year and helped me get to this point.
Do you think people have become more accepting of young female talent in this field?
I think, overtime people have realised as long as you’re doing it right it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, you just need to be constantly relevant.
What advice would you give to young females aspiring to enter this field?
It’s a lot of sleepless nights along with no social life or weekends but it’s a completely other world filled with experiences you can never forget.
If you could capture one thing in the world with your art, what would it be?
There isn’t just one thing I could set my mind on but I would definitely want to capture different realities and stories that explore the real world, the people living in it and their struggles.
Fibha Binte Ali Hussain is a stylist cum set designer who is always pushing the envelope with wildly inventive ideas and adventurous concepts. Her intricate creations and style sensibility have helped her amass a huge following, and it seems like she’s only ascending to greater heights. We had a chat with her about how she curates one-of-a-kind, unique looks for her clients and executes her bold visions.
What is the biggest misconception people not working in your field have about your job?
THAT STYLISTS WILL DRESS YOU LIKE THEMSELVES. Let me start off by saying I have no interest in making you look like me. I want you to look like the very best version of yourself, I want to enhance you, not change you. I am a creative. It’s my job to know what’s in style, what modern women and men are wearing at every age and how to put outfits together in an interesting way.
How do you choose what looks work for each individual client?
According to their body type and personal aesthetic.
Do the clothing choices you make at work inspire your personal style?
To some extent but not always. Everyone has a personal style and a certain body type so we always have to keep that in mind.
If you could choose a celebrity closet to shop in, who's would it be and why?
It would be Sonam Kapoor for sure, because I feel her style is very different from others and I may be able to find very diverse stuff in her closet
What trends are you loving right now?
High wasted pants, relaxed hoodies, chunky sneakers, earthy tones, statement sleeves.
Which trends to you want to see disappear?
Cold shoulder tops, they were cool and a natural extension of the off the shoulder trend, but I think it's time we bid this trend adieu.
What's the best style advice you've received?
Someone told me once to learn how to balance proportions. Balancing proportions is about styling your outfits to create an overall aesthetic harmony.
Let's say you could travel back in time to one fashion era, where would you end up? What did you like about that period?
I’d say the 80s. 80s fashion had a lot of missteps, but it was because the decade was so explosive on the fashion front. It tried everything, every which way, so it’s a given that you get a lot of crud. On the flip, it produced some really good ideas that once streamlined according to contemporary fashion, come out well.
What are some of the challenges you have faced as a self-taught young female stylist?
People assume that just because you're young, you're not as talented or as good at what you do. However, with the right attitude and mindset you can prove them wrong. Do not allow others and yourself to doubt your abilities!
Our Ready to Wear Fusion Collection is the perfect fit for you if you’re a fearless leader- a bold innovator or an artistic force to be reckoned with. These artfully curated pieces feature resplendent prints that embody the spirit of fun and imagination. So- take your first step forward today- and tell the world that you’re here to make a statement and carve your own path!
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