A gentle and caring personality- Subeena is one girl who won’t give up. She’s not only passionate but also loyal to her work and family. I’ve known Subeena for almost two years now and I’ve observed how she goes into fantasy land when she designs her clothes for South Eastern women. She comes up with her own colours for the season, her own embellishments, dress elements and general construction, “My designs inspirations come from everywhere. I’m inspired by technology to nature. Everything inspires me. I just wish I could have a memory for all my ideas!”. There’s a huge community and market for her contemporary take on the Shalwar Kameez and other evening and celebratory dresses. She has managed to encourage the Shalwar wearing woman to nix the pants/leggings and celebrate the beautiful dress that’s part of the package. Yep, she’s revolutionised traditional Pakistani/Indian womenswear and she’s not stopping here. Many of her designs are named after her clientele and have been wildly successful. Subeena Z dresses are elegant yet trendy with classic elements always noticed.. she’s now become an American sensation within the South Eastern communities.
Who is Subeena?
I’m a daughter, a wife, a sister, a loyal friend and a mother. I’m a Leo. But most importantly, I am a woman and proud to be one. A woman that simply wants it all! I once went to a conference and the speaker lectured the attendees about the power of women in society which was a wake up call for me. I realised all my roles and the influence I have on so many people.
When did you move to Chicago?
I moved to Chicago when I was 15, but I feel like the London has never left me.
What’s the difference between British style and American. How has it affected your designs?
London fashion is very different and very proper- if that makes sense. For example, sweats are meant for the house! British attire is eccentric but at the same time clean and simple. Simple, yet striking which is what my designs are all about.
I like Chicago’s style.. it’s got that free-flowing style, you don’t find the definition and edgy construction that you find in British fashion, for example. So, I take that ‘flow’, add simple designs to it and give it that clean but striking British feel to it and voila- you have a Subeena design! They are simple, easy flowing, clean but with a striking affect.
You’ve got an incredible story and a legend of a mother. Do you think that you were by default born into the world of fashion, are you always dressed up?
Yes I’ve been born into fashion, and not because my mother knew how to sew, but because she enjoyed styling herself. She always matched her bangles to her Sari as well as her jewelry. She always put importance on looking like a lady. In comparison to my mother, I have to admit that my everyday style is very, very casual. I always say “I like dressing other people up, not so much myself”. I treat my designs like art, I step back and admire it.
Would you say that people in Chicago have style?
Chicagoan have style, but not everyone dresses up. Its not like London, where everyone take a lot of importance in getting ready and their general appearance. In Chicago, the ones who dress up have a lot of style. As for those who don’t make the effort, don’t look that stylish. I have noticed that in the last 4 or 5 seasons, people have been better dressed on the streets than before. Thanks to fashion bloggers!
What would you never wear?
I would never wear a Kaftan, they remind me of night gowns! But I guess you can never say never.
Eastern Fashion, what’s trending these days?
For the past couple of years, long gowns have been gracing the eastern runways, but the hem is decreasing. Midi lengths with bold pants are the next big thing. With that said, the long gowns are not going anywhere yet.
You’ve been active recently with the Gaza/Israel situation. How do you feel about these series events?
I was very emotional for a a while and I now realize, that all I can do is stay educated on the matter and start making difference here. I believe social media is getting people to question “why are they fighting ?”. It was getting very depressing and I started feel hopelessness. But now I’m researching what can I do in Chicago, to make Chicago a better place. We have poverty here, gun violence and child abuse here and I have a better chance of making a difference here than anywhere else.
What do you think is the best advice you can give to aspiring fashion designers?My best advise would be to save up and take your business seriously, because it’s an investment. Also don’t stop dreaming, formulating and creating designs. Keep sketching and even if it takes you awhile to get started, keep practicing. I believe there are a ton of amazing designers in the world, it’s the investment that stops them.
Where do you see your brand going?
I see my brand going far beyond my dreams. I see my designs across boutiques and stores across America. My dream is to open a boutique one day and I think will happen in the next couple of years. I’m waiting for my little one get a little older, so that I can devote more time to my line.
What’s a quote you live by
“Everyone is struggling with something… respect the one that smiles through it”