Art Nouveau: A tale of our cities


It all started in the bustling city of Karachi, inside a Parsi school where a girl found solace within the arts. Letting her creativity flow through whatever her little fingers could wrap around, whether it was a paintbrush or a needle, spilling her vibrant energy through expressive colors and designs onto a blank canvas. They say humans are inherently attracted to their craft and this was hers. This is the story of Shenila Ali. The designer with a purpose.

Talent only takes you halfway, the rest lies in your efforts and hard work. That is why from a young age, Shenila nurtured her passion by not only designing and stitching her own dresses but also embroidering them by hand, understanding how something worthwhile only comes from attention to detail, as well as dedication to the process.

In a society geared towards the sciences, she chose to step into the world of fashion, bulldozing through obstacles to keep her dream alive. Getting married at a young age wasn’t easy and now with a plethora of responsibilities, she found herself hanging onto her aspirations with a newfound hope. After that, she relied on her strength, determination and the sheer belief that only those who dare to beat all odds to achieve their dreams come out victorious in the end. And there she stood in all her glory when, finally, she was awarded a gold medal for her Bachelors in Fashion.

Her education only paved the way for her ever-growing dreams. This is when SHENANNZ was born; an international luxury clothing brand, established in partnership with her sister. From its conception, SHENANNZ was meant to leave a mark on the fashion industry locally and internationally.

The designer with a purpose

Shenila’s reach did not stop there; her resolve to touch and inspire lives strengthened. Because when God gave, she had to give back to the society that had cherished her. She wanted to empower women just like her and give them the opportunity to thrive, something they would seldom come across. So Shenila ventured into the rural parts of Pakistan, working with women who hardly ever had the opportunity to give their designs a voice. She wanted to help them become entrepreneurs in order to be able to help themselves and improve their living condition. And by incorporating their hand work in her design development, Shenila not only brought authenticity to her collection but gave these women the confidence and an outlet to showcase their talents and make it their strength.

Working with interns and students was another way of empowering young girls and fashion enthusiasts, so she started teaching fashion subjects at different universities. Shenila was able to instill knowledge as well as a sense of confidence in her students that made them very well equipped as budding designers. Her experience in the industry only made her more suited as a mentor, as she was able to provide them with the connections and opportunities that otherwise would be impossible for them to explore in the currently saturated design industry.

Whoever took her classes had become a force to be reckoned with. Inspired by Shenila’s passion and techniques, her students were set out to conquer their dreams without a doubt about their ability to succeed. Shenila’s impact on people was something really worth seeing.

The Collaboration

With a new generation comes fresh talent. Fashion evolves and it is through young designers that we see this evolution. They tend to play with stereotypes and generic styles, only to present a remix laced with the abundance of their creativity while preserving its cultural roots. To observe the evolution through these budding fashionistas is really a feat in itself.

Shenila, being one of the few designers who recognize the importance of different perspectives, has handpicked one of her students, namely Sarah Faisal, to bring their ideas to the table for SHENANNZ’s Spring Collection 2021. The unique combination of two mindsets, one of an existing designer and the other of a passionate fashion student, is all set to make waves.

With her vast knowledge of fashion, Sara’s designs are trendy, timeless pieces.

The designs from this unique collaboration are expected to be the hallmark of our Spring Collection 2021 and it is anticipated to make a lasting impression.

The Budding Flower

Sara Faisal is an ambitious student, currently majoring in Fashion and Textile Designing at The Millennium Universal College. Her efforts evidently showcase her beliefs in developing and honing her skills and talents, as she vigorously studies the works of existing designers and is a keen admirer of William Morris’s design aesthetics. Incorporating their intricate techniques to make her own unique designs is an arduous task she excels at.

Sara also draws inspiration from her surroundings; by noticing the minute details in her environment she indulges in the beauty of simple things. It is her firm belief that art is everywhere – It is only a matter of perspective whether you can perceive it or not.

During COVID, quarantine gave her a chance to put her own surrounding under the lens and rediscover its beauty. It is then that she came across insects, especially butterflies and the detailed art nouveau kind of textures that their wings resembled.

She drew pattern and color inspiration from the art nouveau era and designed a unique print collection. The motives were designed based on the inspiration, which were later incorporated into multiple repeat options.

These ravishing prints were then transformed into unique and chic silhouettes by SHENANNZ.

This collection is not only the product of perseverance during troubling times but also represents inspiration from the most unexpected of places, as well as a blend of talent and collaborative effort between diverse mindsets. We hope this collection leaves a lasting impression on our consumers because it is really one for the books.

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