Mariyam Rizwan creates art you can wear

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By Maheen Bajwa

Always in search of the hottest fashion designer to amp up our wardrobe, we fell in love with quirky newcomer Mariyam D Rizwan’s style design, finish and aesthetic. We sat down with her to talk hand-drawn ballgowns and signature gold chains in her dream boutique in Clifton, Karachi.

WO: When did you start your label? How has the response been so far?

Mariyam: It’s been six months since I opened my boutique to the public. The response has been overwhelming; I have been lucky that in such a short time I have made a name for myself, especially my dresses and gowns.  I’ve dressed quite a few celebrities such as Aamina Sheikh, Momal Sheikh, Sumbul Iqbal, Urwa Hocane, Anoushay Ashraf, Syra Shahroz and Hira Mani.


WO: How would you define your design sense?

Mariyam: I am a painter and a traveler so I incorporate both my passions into my work. None of my prints are digital. They are all hand drawn by me and then scanned for printing. It is a much longer process but I choose to go this route so I can give my client a custom made Mariyam D.Rizwan in its truest form.

IMG_8158Women’s Own: Tell us a bit about your background? Where did you get your formal training?

Mariyam: I’ve been painting for years and received a distinction in my art A ‘levels, and always had an interest towards fashion illustrations. So it only made sense to pursue my passion. I went to Chelsea College of Art London for my BA, and from there went on to my postgraduate to Central St. Martins. I also had the opportunity to do a pattern cutting courses from L’institut Francais de La Mode in Paris, and calligraphy and design courses from Turkey. After I finished University I worked with Ted Baker, interned at Alexander McQueen, and was a part of the H&M Spring/Summer collection 2013.

IMG_8176WO: What was your concept behind your boutique?

Mariyam: I needed something out of the box for my boutique I knew everything I wanted. I hired Naheed Mashooqullah as my architect. Her understated taste and my design aesthetic combined together created a one of a kind space that represents my brand.  I was so involved with my boutique that all the illustrations one sees on the walls are done by me. I even painted a 15 foot mural myself!

WO: What is your work schedule like?

Mariyam: My day basically starts at 10 am at the factory; if I am not there nothing happens! I stay there until all the work that I had planned for the day is completed. Then I stay at the boutique until closing hours. I am very hands-on with everything.

IMG_8163WO: What veteran designers do you look up to?

Mariyam: International design inspirations include Mathew Williamson, Victoria Beckham, and of course everyone’s favorite Zuhair Murad! In local designers I absolutely love Ayesha Hashwani and Élan, they are both fabulous!

WO: Which celebrity or model did you enjoy dressing up the most? 

Mariyam: Urwa Hocane looks great in all my clothes. I just love dressing her – she is always open to different things. I used Leila Ali Khan for my first ever shoot, I think she was the prefect choice as she is absolutely stunning!

IMG_8161WO: What does the future hold for Mariyam D.Rizwan?

Mariyam: I hope to open up a design school where people can come and learn fashion without necessarily having to get a four-year degree. I want to take all that I have learnt and apply it to enriching other people’s lives.

Shop Mariyam D Riwan‘s latest collection.