By Leena Hassan
The statement jewellery brand Esfir’s east meets west pieces have already been spotted on Mahira Khan, one of our favourite fashionistas. Two months after their first exhibition, Women’s Own talks to Hafsa Zuberi and Tasbih Qazi, the dream team behind the brand.
W.O: What led to you starting the brand?
Hafsa: We’re both obsessed with jewellery, and after moving back from Toronto last yearwe noticed a lack of edgy east meets west statement pieces in the local industry, with most of it imported from Turkey and India. Exploiting this gap in the market resulted in us going ahead with Esfir.
W.O: Why the name Esfir?
Hafsa: Esfir means ‘like a star.’ Being a mixof Russian and Persian, it seemed perfect for our east meets west approach. We also want the people who wear our jewellery to feel speciallike stars!
W.O: What was the biggest hurdle you faced?
Tasbih: The biggest hurdle was us not knowing much about the jewellery industry in Pakistan. We had to make a huge effort finding artisans and materials to create what we envisioned. Designing was the easy part, recreating was the real challenge.
W.O: What was the inspiration and thought process behind the collection?
Hafsa: We wanted to do a bunch of different things, but also for the collection to have a cohesive theme.“Through the ages” allowed us to incorporate different elements into various time periods. Coming from a literature background, I really wanted the influence of different eras to be evident.
Tasbih: Hafsa was really inclined towards the glamour of the renaissance age. We used really dark, earthy materials for the Dark Ages Collection.
W.O: Do you go by any jewellery rules?
Tasbih: Personally, no. I feel that as long as you have the confidence to pull if off than all jewellery – be it pearls, light or chunky pieces work.
Hafsa: I agree. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to wear jewellery. It just depends on how you carry it.
W.O: Your favourite pieces from the collection?
Hafsa. I really love the bird cages. We had no idea how those would turn out when we first conceptualized them, but we are thrilled by the results.
Tasbih. I would have to go for the ‘Star Fall’ earrings with those edgy spikes.
W.O: What do you have planned for 2016?
Hafsa: we are planning to come out with our second collection later this year as well as launching a website soon.
Tasbih: We are also looking to venture into a new city, perhaps Lahore. At the moment, we’re looking into stocking options to see where the jewellery can be retailed.
W.O: Favorite jewellery look?
Tasbih: I prefer the east meets west look. Anything traditional but with a twist – that’s where our tagline comes from!
Hafsa: I like a mixture of palettes and metals. If I’m wearing a necklace then that will be paired with a bracelet, or I’ll wear earrings with a ring.
W.O: Can one ever wear too much jewellery?
Hafsa: (laughs) Yes, sometimes!
Tasbih: I don’t think you can ever wear too much jewellery as long as it’s worn correctly with the right outfit; a plain black outfit accessorized with lots of jewellery is a great look. It all comes down to the styling.
Hafsa: I think it essentially depends on who is styling you and what you’re wearing, but sometimes a look can definitely be destroyed with too much jewellery.
W.O: Is there anyone that you would love to see wearing your jewellery?
Hafsa: For me it would be Sonam Kapoor. She really fits into our “edgy and classy’ vibe.
Tasbih: Alexa Chung – I really admire her sense of style.
W.O: What current jewellery trends are you excited about?
Tasbih: The choker! Hopefully you’ll see that incorporated into our next collection.
W.O: Any jewellery trends you hate?
Hafsa: I don’t care forthose huge kundan necklaces that span the entire upper body.
Tasbih: I like those too – as long as they are worn correctly, of course!
W.O: What’s the one jewellery item you can’t live without?
Tasbih: I’m going to be really cliché and say my engagement ring.
Hafsa: The emerald ring my parents gave me when I graduated.
W.O: What’syour style philosophy?
Hafsa: Flirty, elegant and classy.
Tasbih: I prefer to go for more edgy pieces – elegance but with a twist.
W.O: Describe the Esfir woman in three words.
Both: Confident, classy and edgy.