Guest Q&A With Fashion Blogger Zahra Sandberg

Month after month, one of our constant style inspirations has hands down been Zahra Sandberg of Love Zahra. With Eid on the horizon, we reached out to Zahra to get the scoop on keeping your Ramadan looks fresh, trying something new for Eid and picking eco-chic looks for your wardrobe:

Asra: With so many iftars, dinners and parties, what's one tip you can give to help a Desi fashionista keep their looks fresh?

Zahra: I agree it is tough - especially when you will probably post a few of your outfits on social media, you don't want to be wearing the same thing all the time. Rather than buying a new outfit for each event though, I like to mix and match tops and bottoms, borrow outfits from friends, or buy consigned designer goods, like from DC by Asra!

Asra: What are your top 3 favorite Desi fashion trends right now (casual or formal wear)? 

Zahra: I wish I was as up on desi trends as I used to be before kids! To be honest I don't think you have to follow trends, with Western or Desi style. At any one time long shirts or short shirts, capri pants or shalwars, can all be in style. Anything goes these days so wear whatever you like! That said, I've always loved both the long frock style for formal events, or the medium length shirt with cigarette pants for casual and semi-formal. 

Asra: Can you give us the scoop on your favorite modern Western pieces right now?

Zahra: I love where fashion is right now - Anything off-shoulder, ruffled, or wide-leg is on my list. Also currently obsessing over everything Johanna Ortiz Resort 2018.

                                                                                        Photos via Vogue.com

                                                                                        Photos via Vogue.com

Asra: What do you think is the must-wear color this Eid? Any tips on styling it?

Zahra: I think white always looks amazing, especially with a great summer tan. For styling, I say bring on ALL the jewels, big earrings, or a large statement choker, for Eid - more bling is better.

Asra: How do you think eco-friendly clothes can play into the wardrobes of Desi fashionistas this season and beyond?

Zahra: I I believe caring about the environment is always something we can improve upon. Buying second hand or supporting slow fashion brands is one easy way to do so. The way I look at it is, even if you do it once in a while it is better than not at all!

Even for the biggest fashionistas, sporting eco-chic Desi wear can turn heads and save you a pretty penny. Whether you want to sell your newest formalwear or are looking for designer Eid and wedding season fits, our upcoming DCXAsra collection has gorgeous individualized look for every taste and style. 

Check back on our website later this week to find the perfect pieces for you! Xoxo, Asra

Pop-Up Shop Recap: Individualized Style

With so much to choose from in our current selection, along with hosting Pink Banoo's current line (@pinkbanoo), clients were looking for and buying a variety of styles.  Pieces purchased varied from long and flowy suits to capes, tulip pants, saris and kurtis. 

Eid, along with other holidays, is generally the time that fashionistas like yourself take note of what's trending, which generally helps guide you in what you may (or may not) want to wear.  Regardless of what is trending out there in South Asian fashion, every individual is unique and has their own style, making all our pieces both fashionable and eco-friendly.  How's that for a win-win?   

Since style is so personal, I feel that our upcoming SS17 release has something for everyone.  We will be launching five unique styles.  Each look is meant to inspire clients and readers to try looks they have not yet added to their wardrobe.  Each look is also meant to be a staple for your closet.  I have always personally believed that having a variety of pieces is essential to any wardrobe, and the SS17 collection is meant to illustrate just that! 

Special thanks to the sisters at Cak3d Makeup and Husna from HCakes :) We partner with local business owners to try to make our events an interactive experience.  The event was a huge hit!

3 Tips For Cleansing Your Desi Wardrobe

Sometimes, all it takes is a good cleanse to recharge your perspective and refresh your wardrobe. With Desi wear, this can be especially challenging given the hours of work and hundreds of dollars that go into our prized formal wear.

In the spirit of Ramadan, we’re breaking down a few things you can do to cleanse your Desi wardrobe in preparation for Eid and wedding season.

Brand new Firdous Lawn Suit

Brand new Firdous Lawn Suit

Find Classic Pieces

"Learn to invest in the best quality you can afford and wear pieces in different ways." - Michael Kors

Whether we’re talking your trendiest western pieces or your favorite embellished Indian kurtis, it’s important to remember that classic pieces are the ones worth keeping.

More is certainly not more when it comes to cultivating a chic capsule of Desi clothing. For women with designer taste, this is especially key to making sure you maintain a sense of control over your wardrobe and your wallet.

By eliminating the overly trendy pieces and focusing on traditional cuts and styles, you can re-wear and give your looks a twist by simply switching out jewelry, experimenting with makeup and hair, or even glamorizing with a killer pair of heels.

 

Keep the Most Versatile Picks

Finding versatility when it comes to Desi clothing is no simple task. Take it upon yourself to find all your Desi wear and comb through each and every piece to see how much you can wear it.

Look for the best quality fabric, neutral colors and flattering cuts to determine what you find most versatile. Once this is decided, use your versatile pieces as a basis for mixing and matching newer pieces as seasons come and go. Remember— cleansing is not about elimination, but moderation.

 

Donate and Sell

If you’re tired of your formal desi wear and ready for a change, make sure you put your pieces in the right hand. Donating clothes, both eastern and western, at this time of year is a great idea and gives you the opportunity to get eco chic while sharing your style with others.

Aside from donation, consignment is a route we highly recommend for designer-loving Desi fashionistas. With DCXAsra, you can list and sell your pieces with ease and ensure that you’ve given your pieces to someone who will appreciate them just as much as you.

We guarantee a seamless shopping experience with fabulous pieces from top Desi designers. Check out our latest pieces on our website or sell your most recent designer finds before Eid!

Featured Designer: Sania Maskatiya

Karachi based designer, Sania Maskatiya, has been designing clothes since 2007, a year after graduating from the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture with a degree in textile design. She expanded into creating her own self-branded fashion house in 2010 and has since become one of the most coveted Pakistani fashion designers. 

She provides one of the biggest ranges in Pakistani fashion, including bridal collections, luxury pret in both contemporary and traditional silhouettes, formal wear, Eid collections, and even menswear. Her designs have been showcased at Lakme Fashion Week, sported by celebrities such as Sonam Kapoor and Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, featured on magazine covers, and have won various style awards (saniamaskatiya.com). 

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With a background in textiles, the Sania Maskatiya brand has become well known for their unique prints and textile designs, which is all done in-house. These aspects of the design process are what makes Sania Maskatiya stand out from other Pakistani fashion houses, and the diversity in collection type, print, color, and fabric makes it appealing to those looking for clothing for various occasions. 

There are a few Sania Maskatiya pieces up for sale on our site, including a navy kurti, a yellow kurti and a multi-colored paisley kurti. The colorful prints are perfect for the summer time, so shop while they're still available! 

Keep an eye out for more Sania Maskatiya looks on the site in the near future, and let us know if you have any pieces you would like to sell! 

xoxo

Featured Designer: Ayesha Somaya

Ayesha Somaya is a Karachi based fashion label that was established in 2008 by Ayesha Sohail and Somaya Adnan. The duo showcases a wide range of pieces from more casual ready to wear looks to couture designs, as well as more traditional Pakistani silhouettes to pieces with more of a western influence. They have showcased at Pantene Bridal Couture Week and Pakistan Fashion Week, just to name a few, have hosted trunk shows and Eid showcases, and most recently held an exhibition in Lahore on April 6th.

Prints are definitely in for the spring, and we have a couple of printed Ayesha Somaya's pieces for sale on the site including this Green Ombre SuitAqua Suit, and a Red and White Three Piece Suit. Perfect pieces for the season, especially if you are loving longer style suits. 

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Ayesha Somaya is one of our favorite designers, and although they are Karachi based, they also have an online store. Make sure to check back here for more of their pieces! If you have any Ayesha Somaya pieces to sell, let us know

xoxo.

NYFW

Fashion Month kicked off with New York Fashion Week, followed by London, Milan and Paris, showcasing top designers' Fall/Winter 2017 looks. With so many exciting shows, we narrowed down to a few iconic designers from NYFW: Naeem Khan, Prabal Gurung, Anniesa Hasibuan and Bibhu Mohapatra.

Naeem Khan is known for glamor. Often times you'll see his gowns being worn at high profile award shows and events. Every year his shows exude luxury, especially in this new collection. He managed to work in beautiful flower prints, bold shimmery two piece looks, elegant flowing gowns, animal prints, feathers, and so much more. He is one of the few designers that could make all of that work in one collection and make it look so glamorous. 

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Anniesa Hasibuan is an Indonesian designer that made a huge impact on the fashion scene this year as being the first designer to do a full show using all immigrant models wearing hijabs. Another glamorous collection filled with ruffles, metallic fabrics and intricate sequined prints. 

Prabal Gurung is known for his expressive shows. This year his collection - opened by Bella Hadid - showcased the four F's of the season: fur, florals and fringe. The show ended with all the models walking through with shirts with different social and political slogans. His collection was a little more edgy than his usual shows and showcased a wide variety of his talents in color and texture. 

Bibhu Mohapatra is an Indian designer that showcased his ready-to-wear Fall collection at NYFW. He incorporated the metallic and fur trends into his collection along with a lot of streamlined silhouettes. 

There were a lot of really impressive collections this year, and we focused on some of the immigrant and Desi designers that were a big hit this year at NYFW. It's always really impressive to see how a lot of the same trends (fur, metallics, fringe, and florals) transcend through different designers and how they manage to do it in their own unique way. 

If you've followed fashion month, share some of your favorite looks with us by tagging us on Instagram! 

xoxo.

Lakmé Fashion Week

February began with Lakmé Fashion week, kicking off on February 1st until the 5th showcasing some of India's top and upcoming designers. The star studded week is organized twice a year with the purpose of being a way to "redefine the future of fashion and integrate India into the global fashion world". We wanted to share some of our favorite looks from different shows this week as well as some trends we noticed. 

First up is Chola, showcasing fun, flowing, oversized pants, a variety of prints and colors, and sporty styling, creating a very urban and modern overall look to the collection.

Farah Sanjana with bold, nature inspired prints and elegant ensembles.

Amit Aggarwal brought beautifully intense looks to the runway with rich colors, a harmonious mix of textures and warrior-like silhouettes.  

Payal Singhal gave a more modern look to traditional Desi silhouettes, as well as using pastels and embroidery for a luxurious collection.

Tarun Tahiliani showcased all of his abilities in this collection. Opening with a set of airy, white looks, to showing a vast range in bold colors, prints and embroidery. This was one of the more refined and elegant collections with so many favorites. 

Some major trends we saw coming out of Lakme fashion week include floral prints, white ensembles, fringe and the continuation of the cape trend. White was a major player in Tarun Tahiliani's show, as well as in Anita Dongre's elaborate show featuring Kareena Kapoor sporting a beautiful long cape.

Divya Reddy

Divya Reddy

Kareena Kapoor for Anita Dongre

Kareena Kapoor for Anita Dongre

Keep an eye out for these trends in our upcoming SS17 collection, and shop some of our current floral favorites, like our Ruby Shakel Glam Suit, Kiran Faisal Floral Suit, Nida Azwer Top, Sheetal Floral Frenzy Suit, and the Nishat Kurti

So many beautiful looks and fun trends came out of Lakmé Fashion Week from all of the upcoming and established designers. If you followed the shows, share your favorite looks with us! 

2016 Recap

Belated Happy New Year to you all!  I just can’t believe how fast January has gone by.  With February already here, I wanted to do a quick recap of 2016! Better late than never, right?

We started off in March with our annual photoshoot, collaborating with our friends at Jewelry by Madhu and makeup artist Hira Faheem (@makeupnstyleup).  Photos were creatively designed and directed by Shaista Hussain.  Have any recommendations for makeup/jewelry/photo/models that you would like to see us partner with?  Send us your suggestions we love hearing from our readers and clients!

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In May, I had the honor to meet Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, two time Oscar winner for her documentaries on young women and their struggles.  The event was hosted by the Skinless Project (@skinlessproject).  The event itself created so much positive energy and inspiration from Sharmeen that I plan to blog about it very soon - stay tuned!

We kicked off summer by launching our new collection, shortly followed by Beyoncé’s Formation World Tour.  I gotta say, that show was just WOW.  We celebrated Eid at Navy Pier, which was historical because Eid prayer in Chicago had never been held at Navy Pier.  I will say, it was amazing to see so many fashionable Eid outfits all over the pier!  With a few weddings, a trip to Austin, and spending lots of time outdoors, Summer 2016 flew by very quickly!

During the 2016 holiday season, we ran a campaign called "Buy One, Give One”. For every suit purchased, DCxAsra donated a suit.  This is a new campaign which we plan to do annually going forward. When I started DCxAsra, my vision for the business model was to also include a platform to give back to the community. I found this to be the perfect start! Anything you want to see us get more involved in?  Let us know!  We are always open to suggestions and ideas on how to give back. 

In December, we hosted a Pop Up Shop through illMuslims in LA (@illmuslims). We met tons of cool people, and participated in a curated fashion show! We had so much fun that I wanted to share some photos with you from the event, including our Ayesha Somaya Blanca kurti, uniquely styled by Amber Kazalbash (@Libertydenied). Want us to “pop up” near you?  Send us a message!

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To end the year, we hosted a holiday party, where we collected clothes for donation.  We also had a pretty awesome dessert cookie spread, including ugly sweater cookies to decorate!  Through our Buy One, Give One campaign and donations from the party, we were able to donate sixteen suits.  Goal for next year?  To at least double that number!

So, you might be wondering, what can you look forward to in 2017?  Here are a few things we have in the works:

  • We are already in the planning phase for our SS17 shoot. If you are interested in collaborating with us for our annual photoshoot, we would love to hear from you!  Also if you have designer clothes you would like to consign, please complete the online intake form. Keep in mind that we do accept both brand new and like new designer items. Approximately 40% of our inventory is brand new, never been worn.  We also collaborate with South Asian designers (both local and overseas) to bring you fresh inspiration and style!

  • We are scoping out locations for pop up shops this year.  Let us know where you want to see us!

  • Promos and giveaways!  

  • DCxAsra Anniversary Party in Chicago?  Stay tuned!

Although belated, we hope you all had an amazing 2016.  Looking forward to an even better 2017 with you all!  Whether you are an email subscriber, client, or just getting to know us, I want to personally thank you for your support!  I look forward to serving you through this amazing platform called Designer Consignment by Asra.

 Xoxo, Asra