About Maheen

The Founder ,The History & The Story

I am a fighter just like my father and grandfather. I married young, and was really quite a stupid little girl, who thought life was about, love and marriage. Life taught me a few hard lessons in the years to follow and I am grateful, for it brought me to where I am today. I am constantly humbled by my good fortune and am not one to “cry over spilt milk” -Maheen Khan

Born Maheen Abbas in May 1945, the third among four sisters she was always a dreamer. She had and still has a charming, child-like impatience to get on with life. Very soon after she left school she applied for and succeeded in getting a job in a women’s magazine, writing on beauty and fashion, topics she still talks about avidly and within a context like none other.

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Marriage followed soon after, (1965) and brought with it the usual tough realities of life and survival. For the idealistic Maheen, that was the turning point in her life. It was then that she decided to start a small tailoring establishment. Ten years later, by 1975, she had become a household name in fine tailoring.

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The years before had been my “education” in fashion. Not four years in a college but twelve years, learning on the job and discovering my own philosophy on fashion.-Maheen Khan

Khan started her career in the fashion industry in 1972 with the opening of a bespoke tailoring establishment. She called it The Seamstress, and still fondly talks of her self as a “darzan”. With just Rupees 60,000 and a head full of ideas she launched her first boutique in 1982, where she launched a collection which was to change the history of Fashion in Pakistan.

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Today she is better known as the doyenne of fashion in Pakistan, and recently dubbed the ‘Coco Channel of the East’ by the Italian press, Maheen has through the years made quite a name for herself internationally. In addition to dressing royalty and celebrities her company’s impressive resume includes a multitude of productions such as Figaro for the Welsh National Opera and Mozart at the Royal Vienna Opera House, and embroidery for the entire production costume and sets of Oliver Stone’s epic film Alexander The Great.

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From the first I was striving for perfection, learning from everyone and anyone. I’m still learning still hungry.-Maheen Khan 

As a true leader and the ‘mother of fashion,’ she took up the responsibility of mentoring an endless amount of young talent, over the years. She gave a platform, shared her wisdom and nurtured her mentees with the knowledge of her career until they were ready to stand on their own two feet and explore the world of fashion. It is no surprise, that such a member of the industry was unanimously voted as the first Chairperson of the Fashion Pakistan Council and continues to promote the Fashion industry, a cause very close to her heart.

Today, in spite of her busy life, she continues to encourage and mentor younger designers, fashion photographers and models. Her doors are always open to any one related to the fashion world! Maheen was the first to encourage fashion bloggers and insist they be given front row seats. Today no fashion event is held without the presence of bloggers. In 1985, she was the first designer to insist that models must be paid for their work. (All fashion shows at that time were charity events).

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In 2007 she created the first Truly Pakistani branded label and called it ‘GULABO.’ Essentially inspired by the folk visual art on the mass transportation network across the country, ‘Truck Art’ and the Pakistanis’ love for color. Today almost every designer in Pakistan and Luxury brands such as D&G use truck art as inspiration for their collections.

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‘Dance with fashion and there will always be music in your life’ – Maheen Khan

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