In Kashmir where people are struggling to come to terms with the ongoing agitation, this budding fashion designer is weaving her dreams through social media.
On November 2, 2015, Iqra Ahmed started her career by starting a Facebook page called Tulpalav to sell designer creations of traditional Kashmiri women attire.
A year on, Iqra is a satisfied businesswoman. Her previous collections have been sold out and she even has “advanced-bookings” for her winter collection.
Her designer work largely focused on Tilla, a form of traditional Kashmiri embroidery in shining-threads. She is working wonders by giving a new look to the traditional apparels like pherans, salwar, kameez and shawls.
Recalling the success of her venture, Iqra says: “Women generally want to look different and wear different. This was where my creativity worked. Tilla has been adding grace to feminine looks for centuries. Till now, it was only centered around Kashmir. But now, it’s going places through this online venture.”
A post-graduate in Linguistics from Kashmir University, Iqra wanted to do “something different in life.” Her childhood hobby of designing Kashmiri cloaks called pherans, gave her the idea of how she could make a mark.
Giving wheels to her passion, she did a crash-course in fashion designing and honed her “skills and creativity, to face the market.”
Designs were in place but amid the spiralling prices of real estate, finding the ideal space to sell her dream creations was a major hindrance. determined to not be dejected, she sought help from the Silk Route Consultancy, a local consultancy for startups. Through their help, Iqra made her presence in the online market.
The plan worked. Within hours of starting her Facebook page, she started bagging orders. She subsequently spread her Tulpalav venture onto Instagram as well. She hasn’t looked back since then.
Cautious of every step that she takes, she has showcased her dresses but has refrained from showing the faces of any of her models. Why? we ask, and she has a reason.
“Basically we come from a conservative Muslim society, so I don’t want to create any controversy. These models also had a precondition that I should never disclose their identity. So let the mystery be a mystery,” she told InUth.