With a number of fashion shows under her hat, Sadia Siddiqui, CEO of Mustang Productions has always had an eye for creativity and doing something she loves. Hailing from a business background it is no shocker that the mother of two children decided to start her own production company.
With an MBA from the University of London and a number of academic achievements to her name, she was all set to step into the world of fashion and thus, started Fashion Parade, a platform for South Asian designers to showcase their talent in London.
Sadia has directed PFDC L’Oreal Paris Bridal Fashion Week for three years and is a platform where her expertise’s in fashion and event direction is put to task. In a brief encounter with Pakistan Today, she talks about her career and success in the fashion industry.
- How did you get into the fashion business and what’s the story behind Mustang Productions?
I think it was a case fashion finding me rather than me finding fashion. Hailing from a family with a business background, I never thought I would be getting into the fashion business, but I always had a creative side.
Back in the days, I used to love sketching, fashion and had a wild imagination. I knew I wanted to do something different.
After living in London, I decided to start my own modelling agency and as things worked out, I soon found myself established in the fashion industry and eventually started my own production house.
- You have directed various fashion shows in Pakistan, how has the experience been so far.
I have worked with Sehyr Saigol during PFDC and to be honest, it is the best fashion platform to be associated with. Her aesthetic and work have always inspired me because we were on the same page on so many things. She is one of the main reasons I partnered with PFDC.
Moreover, ever since our fashion shows adapted international trends and formats, things have evolved and are more in line with the fashion industry internationally and I think that’s a great achievement.
- What process goes into directing a fashion show?
For starters it is not as easy as it looks, a lot of effort and energy is involved in directing a fashion show.
I start by providing the catwalk design and the concept months in advance, which in PFDC’s case is approved by Sehyr.
Following this, the production team then helps in bringing the concept to life. We also communicate with the participating designers to make sure their collection and the message is conveyed perfectly.
After we have this sorted, we go on to select the models, makeup artists, their teams and so on to make sure that nothing is missing from the show.
- You are to set a new bar for international fashion shows with Fashion Parade, tell us something about that and what future it holds for you?
I directed my very first Fashion Parade show five years ago; it was the first South Asian fashion platform to give a sense of International fashion shows and since then there has been no turning back.
The main concept of Fashion Parade is to cater to an international audience while getting a chance to direct it; I wanted to promote the South Asian art and culture with this platform. This year, Fashion Parade will take place in New York, which is a completely new city for me as I had developed contacts in London over 18 years and had gotten familiar with the market.
But New York will be a challenge and I’m ready for it.
- You have also produced TV programs for B4U; tell us something about that experience.
I’ve always been interested in doing television shows and that is how I got in touch with B4U. That collaboration gave me an opportunity to write, produce, and host the show ‘Achievers’, a show about in-depth interviews about the failures, successes, and struggles of an achiever. I could not pursue it further as I got involved in other projects; however, this experience is something which holds a very special place in my heart.
- In terms of creativity, what is your creative aesthetic when directing a show, or when it comes to fashion?
It varies from show to show, I suppose. My ideas are usually spontaneous and come around during the time of discussion. Although, my basic creative aesthetic, in my opinion, would be that everything has to make sense.
A theme for a certain collection should match the stylistic aspect and eventually appeal to the audience. It’s very important to stimulate the audience’s imagination.
- Do you think being a woman has affected your position?
I don’t think being a woman has affected my position per se. The only difference I’d say is that being a mother of two, it can be challenging to give the career the same amount of time that a man ideally would.
- What challenges have you faced throughout and how has it strengthened you overtime?
Working in the fashion industry, you need to have thick skin in order to survive here. It can be very difficult at times but I guess the reason that I have survived here is that of my professional attitude at a workplace. I try to keep my work and personal life separate and my experiences within the industry itself have made me more resilient.
- What new trends would you like to see in Pakistan?
I would like to see more fresh faces and punctuality in the modelling industry.
I feel people in this industry do not want to experiment things beyond their comfort zone; which in turn hinders your growth. By welcoming fresh talent in the industry it can set the bar higher for growth.