Amal Sultan; The Beauty And Brains Behind L’Adresse!
Taking over the Parisian fashion scene with her modest style, Amal Sultan stands firmly as a brand strategist working closely with renowned international brands.
Amalgamating luxury, fashion and lifestyle together, Amal Sultan has proven that modest fashion is the next big thing. In an exclusive conversation with Libas, Amal Sultan narrates her journey of representing Pakistani fashion on international platforms and the collaboration L’Adresse X Tranoi.
Q) How did L’Adresse come into being, What motivated you to become a brand strategist?
The mere fact that the fashion industry is taking a shift from luxury to emerging brands, where owning a young and upcoming brand that is inaccessible to everyone is the new luxury, is what fueled my interest in becoming a brand strategist, nurturing young and upcoming brands from all over the world.
L’adresse is a Paris based brand development agency that fosters relationships within the global fashion community. Committed to nurturing, independent emerging designers through innovative and tailored strategies, it helps brands develop and sustain their invaluable identity and equity in targeted markets.
Q) What is your personal style like?
My personal style is very modest.
Q) In your opinion how does modest fashion fit into European fashion in Paris? How do these two cultures coincide in a city where burqas are banned and has a high rate of racial hate crimes?
With the current uprise on “Inclusion, Diversity and Cultural Appropriation”, Paris and the fashion industry at large is not only embracing modest fashion trends but also leveraging them to maximise the market potential of this billion-dollar industry.
Q) What is your personal definition of modest fashion? Is it regressive for women or, on the contrary, is it not a form of freedom aimed at promoting their identity and asserting who they really are?
First of all, generally speaking, we don’t define modesty. We cannot define any parameters which can dictate if a woman is modest or not. Modest fashion is a lifestyle or even a trend with a notion of modesty, it is neither Islamic nor secular, but confusion still prevails. Modest fashion is empowering and gives one the freedom of claiming their identity and personal style.
Q) How would you differ to the generally perceived notion of modest dressing as clothes that are uniform, shapeless and gloomy?
It’s hard to ignore the stereotypes generally associated with modest fashion, just like sustainable fashion is misconceived as 100% organic or green and white in colour. There is no standard definition or fixed parameter that states modest clothing as boring or shapeless. It really is a personal taste.
Q) Head Scarves and hijabs have also been de rigueur at International runway shows. Gucci, Max Mara, Versace, Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs and Chanel have all sent models in “Muslim-ish” headpieces down the runway. The argument that the industry is offensively fetishising religious wear, turning something deeply meaningful into a throwaway trend, has been made several times. These are trends initiated by the industry to appear more inclusive, is this progress in your opinion?
I believe, “Inclusion and cultural appropriation” are not throwaway trends. As more and more brands are on fire for taking missteps, it’s become a crucial part in brand building that has led companies to hire roles for “Head of diversity, inclusion & cultural appropriation”.
For what may look like a trend now, modest fashion is certainly here to stay. Seeing a modest fashion tab on the e-commerce giant Net-a-Porter is certainly progress.
Q) What was the response to the first modest fashion show “Modestissime” that you organised in Paris?
“Modestissime” was launched and co-produced by my partners and I at the Hotel de Crillon in Paris, with a vision to change the stigma associated with modest fashion as Islamic fashion. We believe modesty is a lifestyle and is not associated with any religion or culture. Modestissime showcased 4 designers, each from a different religion, with an overwhelming response that greatly helped in comprehending modest fashion as a lifestyle.
Q) Who is a brand strategist? What is your job as a brand strategist? What advice would you give to a newbie who would like to enter this field?
As a brand strategist, my role is to comprehend a brand’s DNA and customer sensory profile to create an ideal global strategy for worldwide brand awareness. Offering a 360 degree approach, connecting brands with stores, press and influencers, aiming to establish their sales and distribution worldwide.
There is no set pathway to becoming a brand strategist, my degree and experience working with more than 35 brands, several agencies, showrooms and organisations is what gave me a broader understanding of how a puzzle is joined.
Q) Do you feel that there’s a need for brand strategists like yourself in this digital age, to educate & prepare young fashion designers for their future in the business of fashion?
Absolutely, and especially in Pakistan. It’s something that needs to be incorporated in the fashion curriculum at universities. This is perhaps one of the main reasons why we haven’t seen a fashion brand from Pakistan make it international so far.
Q) Tell us about the collaboration between L’Adresse X Tranoi. Finding different upcoming designers/ brands and particularly the success of the young Pakistani designer brand Hussain Rehar.
Tranoi is one of the leading fashion trade-fairs in the world and I couldn’t be more proud of the collaboration ‘L’Adresse x Tranoi’. In addition to international brands, L’Adresse sourced, consulted and curated 3 Pakistani brands (RTW, Lifestyle, Accessories) to present to world-wide department stores, press and fashion enthusiasts. Hussain Rehar succeeded in giving Pakistani fashion a contemporary image on a global platform. In order to change the perception on quality and CSR and sustainability issues that South-East Asia is generally notorious for, and to create brand awareness at the international level, consistency is key.
Q) How is L’Adresse helping shape Pakistan’s fashion industry, by helping place Pakistani designers internationally by bringing them to Paris and placing them internationally?
L’Adresse Paris Agency provides services such as: sales representation, PR, press & influencer, events and production, partnerships & collaborations, and brand development strategy, to nurture worldwide brands. Being a Pakistani, I have a sound passion to develop Pakistani fashion brands at an international level by consulting local brands and offering them opportunities.