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15 Questions with Lahore based Stylist and Fashion Connoisseur Mehek Saeed

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15 Questions with Lahore based Stylist and Fashion Connoisseur Mehek Saeed

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Mehek Saeed is a celebrity stylist, fashion journalist and a contributing editor at Grazia Magazine, but most people know her through her tastefully curated Instagram aesthetic that showcases some of the best looks in style, from formal wedding attire to high street fashion curated right here at home in Pakistan. We sat down with the celebrity stylist to see what its like to curate looks that often end up on the best dressed lists.

You’ve worked with a lot of fashion houses including Sapphire and Khaadi, to name a few, but what got you hooked into fashion in the first place?

It has to trace back to my very innately fashionable and always well-put-together mother; growing up with her was a masterclass in style, how to pick and choose outfits from what’s out there, to curating your own personal style. She always used fashion and beauty as a way to express herself and I think I picked that up from her entirely.

For me fashion is essentially about trying to push the boundaries, experiment and most importantly have fun while you’re at it.

Mehek Saeed

How did the last year affect your creativity as a content creator?

Last year’s lockdown increased my creativity and productivity as a content creator because I realised I just have myself to work with. With the lack of shoots, access to models, makeup artist and photographer friends, I realised if I wanted to keep myself busy I’d have to do it all myself. And so I did. It was fun and I think some interesting things came out of it.

Do you think the scope of sustainable fashion is increasing in Pakistan?

I do think the conversation is getting more attention and it is a definite keyword right now but there is a long way to go for larger industries to make their practices fully transparent and sustainable. I do see smaller businesses trying much harder though.

Which small local businesses are you following at the moment?

There are so many worth following and I try to highlight them on my page as much as I can – you’d have to follow to see! Whether it’s food or fashion, local businesses are very important to me and even as a consumer I prefer to buy local rather than products sourced from China (even if they are cheaper). It makes the buying experience much more wholesome and the end product means more!

What can we expect to see more of in the coming summer months speaking fashion wise?

‘A campaign I’ve been excited about 🤍 #BTS 
@crossstitch_official @sajalaly #StyledByMehek

Besides the usual lawn, the Pakistani high street has really improved in the past year or so. The kind of options available locally are so good that one really doesn’t need to rack up bills at Zara, Bershka, Mango, Topshop and can instead happily shop at Sapphire West, Outfitters, Breakout and other smaller businesses locally and not worry about the quality and longevity of their buys.

What’s your favourite piece of furniture / decor in your home?

I have so many but my new Anissa Kermiche vase or the lamp we got as a wedding present done by a Spanish lady residing in Lahore or all the art my husband and I have collected over time!

What’s the one thing you can’t leave home without, other than your smartphone?

Sunblock!

How many hours do you spend a day on producing content?

Producing content isn’t a daily activity. I shoot myself max twice a week and just plan for those two days to be as productive as possible and try to get my weeks worth of content done. Sometimes I lag behind when I have back to back shoots and styling work gets really intense but I try to balance it all.

What’s the curation process like when you’re stuck in a rut, have a creative block or just not feeling a 100%?

Honestly when I’m feeling that way I just ride the wave and let myself feel that way. I don’t push myself to create when I’m not feeling inspired or up to it because I’ve always seen I’m not happy with the end result – whether it’s a photo for Instagram or a styling video. It’s best to rest it out and come back when I’m 100%.

What’s your go-to comfort food?

The Khaosuay (that I made) on the Rina’s menu or their Aglio Olio, some green curry or a good ol’ plate of french fries with extra chaat masala never disappoints.

‘The Aglio E Olio has been the family’s go to comfort food for years. Think creamy, wholesome pasta with chicken, mushrooms and a side of toasty garlic bread.’ – Rina’s Kitchenette

Have you had to deal with cyber-bullying and hate speech. If yes, what aids help in such a situation?

Never as bad as a lot of other people I know have, but the closest to it would be comments I’ve read on my photos after fashion week some years ago. They are just rude and hurtful and one has to develop a thick skin to read them and go back and be able to do your job the next day. I feel that on social media particularly Instagram, if one doesn’t have anything good to say – don’t say it.

Each platform has a particular use and Instagram was always a source of inspiration and beautiful imagery, for me, I don’t want to open it and see negativity or things that depress me.

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In your opinion, is awareness about the need of plus-size clothing increasing and can we expect more inclusive campaigns from brands?

Yes, the winds of change are definitely blowing! You must’ve been seeing Generation’s campaigns which is a mass market Pakistani brand but one that’s always been at the forefront of change with campaigns that focus on diversity. Another mass brand that comes to mind is Khaadi who just did a campaign with plus size model Baemisaal (that I had the pleasure of styling). Besides these big league brands, a number of small home based brands are designing for all body types and it’s great to see.

Image from Baemisal’s collaboration with Generation.pk on World Mental Health Day

Let’s get uncomfortable for a bit, what’s the biggest fashion faux pas you’ve made that you now look back at and laugh about.

Haha, there are a few that I can think back to. There was this one top I wore fresh off the ramp to fashion week some 4 years ago. I thought I looked great in it but when photographs came the next day… that bubble burst very fast. It didn’t photograph well from different angles and one can’t really control that on a red carpet. Anyway, it’s safe to say that taught me a lot about how important angles are with photographs.

What was it like traveling to Turkey during the pandemic? Would you do it again?

While I was in Turkey, a lot of friends and family asked whether it’s a good time to travel and I told them that while I was there on a shoot, I wouldn’t necessarily visit for downtime at the moment.

On the plus side, the shopping experience was great because the shops were empty. But the country is still in lockdown on weekends and there is a 8:00 PM curfew on weekdays so the experience isn’t quite the same as the last time I visited.

The little town of Alacati I visited is normally a bustling summer destination but this time of the year it was very quiet with most of its restaurants and hotels shut down. If one does find a quiet resort that they just want to lay around and do nothing at, that’s great, but now’s not the time to go to Turkey as a curious explorer.

What’s next for you?

To take my Cloffice to the next level. I have big plans for it. Wish me luck, please! 🙂

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