Interview Session with Mr. Talha Batla – CEO, Talha Batla & Director Hilal Silk

Hilal Silk has been one of the pioneering textile brands in Pakistan. How do you foresee to keeping the brand name alive in today’s competitive market?

In today’s world where so many new brands in eastern fashion have stormed the market, Hilal Silk has been able to retain its unique position especially in formal wear. These days, social media plays such an important role in the development of the brand and it is easy to create hype around a brand. Anyone can start a business and create buzz around it but whats difficult is to maintain the quality over the years, providing the finest fabric every single day, to every  single customer for years. In that aspect Hilal Silk has already proved itself by providing the best quality silk for over 7 decades in Pakistan.

Not many know that Hilal Silk was worn by Lady Fatima Jinnah. What more outstanding achievements do you have under the name of Hilal Silk?

Hilal Silk was very fortunate in having the mother of the nation Fatima Jinnah as one of our earliest patrons. Hilal Silk has stood its grounds for the past 70 years and has been adorned by the likes of  Mrs. Nusrat Bhutto, and Mrs. Ayub Khan. Current politicians that have worn our products include Sharmila Farooqi . Famous personalities from across the border who have  visited and shopped at our stores includes  singers Alka Yagnik, Kumar Sanu and Abhijeet who visited our outlet during their Pakistan tour 2004-05.

Apart from Textile and Designing, what more activities and businesses are you involved in?

In addition to production retailing fabric, we have recently re-launched our Customized bridals and formal line for our clients with the finest quality intricate Hand work under the name of Talha Batla by Hilal Silk. This is a tribute to my grand father Aziz-ur-Rahman, one of the pioneers of the brand who designed bridals in the 80’s and early 90’s. Testimonials from many of his clients still claim to have those pieces in its original form due to the highest quality of craftsmanship used to create those special outfits. We have reincarnated the same philosophy of integrating quality, sophistication and ethereal ethnic designs to create master pieces for our clients. In addition we do sherwanis, clutches, shoes  etc. So now the customers can get everything under one roof.

What do you have to say for the fact that almost every house has a designer regardless of his/her qualification?

People confuse making clothes with designing. Picking a dress from a bridal magazine and making a replica with different colour combinations is not designing. Or going to a Karigar, choosing from the designs he shows you and getting it made is not designing. Individuals taking orders from home and making dresses has been bread and butter to many in Pakistan and taking nothing away from them for being absolute champions within their limited knowledge base and set of resources, but we shouldn’t mix them with designers as it’s the designer’s original craft on which these individuals base their work on.

As somebody who has always been into the world of fashion, what’s your take on your own dressing sense?

My dressing sense in everyday life is very simple. I like to wear my jeans with a button down or a polo shirt to go with it. Once in while I do like dressing up, and I think the eastern fashion for men makes a man stand out

Are you brand conscious?

I think it’s okay to be brand conscious unless the style of that brand slowly starts to regress your own fashion sense. While I don’t wear these brands head to toe all the time, There are certain brands that I do admire for their class and innovation such as Dolce and Gabbana, Gucci etc. I pick up pieces that compliment my own fashion sense which may or may not belong to a certain brand

What message would you like to give to the readers, especially those who wish to join the fashion industry soon?

First, success is a direct product of both consistency and innovation. As I always tell people that you need to be not only good but consistently good at your work. Second, if you are a fashion graduate than great. But the degree is just an entry point to the fashion world. However, the real teachers are practical knowledge and actual real world experience in your local setting, and there’s no substitute for those. Work with your seniors and professional designers for at least a couple of years before deciding to start something on your own.

What are the new things you are planning to bring to the fashion fraternity?

There is something we have already brought to the fraternity by launching our brand Talha Batla by Hilal Silk. For the first time now a customer can be completely involved in designing their own bridal from scratch. Starting from the fabric to the colour combination to the hand work, we are the one stop shop for your bridal wear.Most designers don’t customize the attire for your big day the way it should be done. Mostly, you go and pick and choose from their collection or sometimes they wont even bother telling you what are they creating for you and brides have to sit in suspense till the last moment hoping that would like the dress. We believe that every individual is unique, and should have unique designs on her. So our initiative will bring a lot of confidence to the brides by involving them in every step of the making of the most special outfit of their lives and yet giving them the finest quality that Hilal Silk is known for.

From all the experience you hold now, what advice would you give yourself as a starter?

I would give myself exactly the same advice that I would do to any of the readers aspiring to come into the industry. Consistency holds the key in retaining your client base, that’s the one thing that Hilal Silk has done over the past 70 years and I have to live up to the expectations of our client s across the globe. Yet I also want to introduce new innovations to how bridal wear is perceived and worn under my brand Talha Batla by Hilal silk.

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