Masala!

Abhinav Mishra’s cross border India-pakistan fashion collaborat­ion

When Indian designer Abhinav Mishra and Pakistani creatives Izzah Shaheen Malik, Sana Bhatti teamed up for their collaborat­ion, they didn’t expect it to break the internet

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Ever since their Independen­ce from the British back in 1947, political tensions between India and Pakistan have been sky high. But despite that, people from each side of the border have managed to co-exist without any feelings of animosity. When it comes to art, artists understand that their talent brings people together, irrespecti­ve of where they come from. That is exactly what Bollywood enthusiast­s from both sides of the border witnessed when Pakistani stars such as Mahira Khan and Fawad Khan wowed crowds in India with their incredible performanc­es.

Prior to them, Atif Aslam too mesmerised fans with his soulful singing. However, as political tensions increased back in 2017, Pakistani artists were barred from working in India. Despite that, friends from each side of the border maintained contact - like friends do.

When an Indian designer teamed up with a bunch of creatives from Pakistan, their collaborat­ion quickly turned viral.

Abhinav Mishra, one of India’s top bridalwear designers, got in touch with his friend, Izzah

Shaheen Malik based in Pakistan to come up with a beautiful campaign showcasing his pieces that saw Izzah’s artistic talent combined with Sana Bhatti’s stunning backdrop - each compliment­ing the other. However, unlike a run-of-the-mill fashion shoot, this collaborat­ion was purely done on friendship and their love for the art form.

Speaking exclusivel­y to Masala! magazine, Abhinav, Izzah and Sana revealed how their collaborat­ion came into place. Abhinav explained in a phone conversati­on, “We have been very fortunate that our label has gotten love from several markets across the globe. Some of our friends reached out and said that they would like to do a shoot featuring our new collection and we were more than happy to take it ahead. I am friends with everybody in the campaign and they have been longtime patrons of our label. So, it felt like a match made in heaven when they said they would like to shoot it.”

Adding to Abhinav’s statement, Izzah revealed that thanks to social media, they were aware of each other’s work and always appreciate­d it. “Our approach to the wedding industry was very similar. My work capures emotions and that is something that Abhinav also stands by it so this collaborat­ion was just waiting to happen for the longest time.”

Sana too added that it was “mutual love and admiration for each other’s work” that brought all of them together. “Abhinav, Izzah, and I had been wanting to do something fun together for a while and this seemed like the perfect time to do just that. Since the collaborat­ive campaign included mostly friends from the wedding and fashion industry, it all just fell into place seamlessly; resonating the three brands’ aesthetics each step of the way, a domino effect!”

While Abhinav is a top-notch designer, Izzah, at the age of 21, has been running a photograph­y business called Pictroizza­h with her team of creatives. She is one of the leading wedding photograph­ers based in Pakistan who does not her talent to be limited to the audience in her country.

“Fashion is a unifying force and politics really doesn’t come into question”

Likewise, Sana, with her brain-child Ayra

Events, too has dreams of conquering the world and establishi­ng her name in the world of event management. Each of them believe that the campaign - titled Mastana: A Monsoon Curation ’21 - wouldn’t have been a hit had it not been for the other’s exceptiona­l talent and vision.

Unlike a traditiona­l fashion shoot, the designer or his dresses did not travel to the location of the shoot. With the pandemic in place, creatives all across the world have found the perfect opportunit­y to come up with some of the most glamourous ideas, without the need of physically being present there.

Set in the stunning and magical backdrop created by Sana and her team, Abhinav’s client flaunted their self-bought outfits as Izzah clicked away. But were there any creative difference­s? Surprising­ly, no. The trio revealed that they didn’t want to interfere in the other’s area of expertise.

Sana shared: “The three brands have synced in aesthetics and creativity so it was a no-brainer when it came down to executing our collective vision. We knew exactly what we wanted, hence, it wasn’t difficult to manage the communicat­ion of it; thanks to the digital age. Other than being friends, we have immense respect for each other, we are all self-made with a strong work ethic to freely let each other do what we do best, and bring together what seemed impossible to most; a beautiful campaign that roars unity and fun.”

While there were no creative difference­s, Izzah and Sana’s team did face a challenge when it started raining cats and dogs on the day of the shoot. Izzah recalled: “Fashion shoots are no stranger to the dress not arriving on time or not having the right dress, but since the models were clients of Abhinav, we didn’t face any of those issues. However, there was an unexpected thundersto­rm on the day of the shoot but we still managed to pull it off.”

The reaction to Abhinav, Izzah and Sana’s collaborat­ion has been nothing short of what they were expecting. Abhinav revealed: “The reaction to the shoot has been positive. It’s very nice to see people of all nationalit­ies and it truly symbolises that fashion is a unifying force and it brings people together. It’s definitely been exciting to watch the response from social media and in general we have gotten a lot of love from across the border. Social media helps to truly break distance barriers and open up a world of creative collaborat­ions.”

We couldn’t agree more as the shoot has since gone viral on social media.

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