I had the pleasure of being invited to a very exclusive store launch late last month. Stile by Ghulam Ali is a besotted Indian fashion design label created by the very debonair, dashing brother duo Ghulam and Ali. Following the legacy of their father who owned a tailoring store by the name of ‘Stile’, the brothers developed a sense for fashion at a very tender age.
Their store in Cosmos Lane, Meena Bazar (Bur Dubai) is their very first venture out of India. The store launch was planned with great pomp and festivity. The entire cast of Bollywood’s latest flick, ‘Freaky Ali’ were also invited!
Despite it being a weekday, my love for Indian fashion and the Bollywood Khan brotherhood found me in the heart of Meena Bazaar one sweltering Wednesday evening. If this had been my first venture into Meena Bazaar, I wouldn’t have needed any directions – Cosmos Lane was jam packed with Bollywood fanatics!
‘Salman Khan aa raha hai’ (Salman Khan is coming!) chorused a whole row of boisterous grownup men. It was a wave of human bodies, all sweating and heaving all at once. All excited at the prospect of meeting real stars. It is a miracle how I managed to squeeze myself into the narrow entrance of Stile!
Inside it was all prim and proper. I even had a quick photo opp with the brothers (also Khans by the way!). But this was only the calm before the storm. Not long after, a group of uniformed men asked everyone, including Ghulam and Ali themselves, to vacate the premises as the ‘Freaky Ali’ cast were arriving.
Suddenly we were a part of the mayhem. The mob was growing impatient. Not used to such proximity with strangers, lest in such humid of conditions, I made my way home, shame-faced to return sans any celebrity clicks. But what I do have for you today is a very heartfelt, beautifully answered interview script by Ghulam Khan, the elder sibling from the Stile by Ghulam Ali duo. Read on for more, and browse through their spectacular range.
A Chitchat with Ghulam Khan of ‘Stile by Ghulam Ali’
I read your father has been your greatest influence. When did you both realize you want to make a career out of your love for fashion?
After studies the passion of creativity, love for fabrics and the inborn quality Of styling and making from`Rags to Trousseau’ made us choose this career.
Tell us more about your band ‘Stile by Gulam Ali’. What is the story behind the name of the brand? When did you decide to move on to creating your own label, and what were the greatest obstacles in the journey?
The name Stile came from our father. He had a small tailoring shop named “Stile Man Tailors”…it was his 30 year journey…It was a not spelled STYLE but “STILE” it was inspired by Italian sense of stylized dressing, which made and created its different identity along the way. So we thought of combining 3 generations together i.e our father’s expertise and our creation to make a mark in the fashion industry. So the Label “STILE by Gulam Ali” was born.
Does the combination of both your names often get mixed up with the very famous Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali? 🙂
Yes, especially in Dubai people relate us by the singer Gulam Ali. he is a living legend and a maestro his stream of art. I Pray The Almighty, Insha’Allah soon Gulam Ali will also be amongst the top leadings labels of the fashion industry.
Your expansion to Dubai is your very first international stint! Why did you choose Dubai?
Dubai is a different world inside a country where different nationals live irrespective of colour race, religion, nationalities and status. There is a full colour pallet of occasions, festivals, weddings round the year. As well as it’s the Shoppers Paradise, so it was the best platform to showcase ourselves in this International market.
How do you think the fashion scene in Dubai differs from India?
Not actually. People in India are also fashion conscious and are truly fashion followers…only the climate conditions make us do some different selections in fabric, colours and styling, and more towards Indo-Western trends.
What are the elements that come to play when designing a piece? Where do you find inspiration?
It’s mainly the sharp cuts ,bolder highlights, detailing.. indirect styling, the fabric selection and the touch of elements or crystals…and of course my favourite ZARDOZI.
Tell us more about the traditional Pathani suit. What kinds of fabrics and embroidery go into adorning this much-loved attire?
Basically a good Pathani must have flowing, smooth fabric that has a lustre, bold collars and studs. Fantastic wraparound cuffs and minimum thread work embroidery and of course a huge flared salwar with 120 inch `Ghera.”
Many of your designs take on a contemporary twist on the traditional silhouette. Please elaborate on this.
We Both are “Sufis” and we love to read Sufi literature..visit Sufi shrines across India as in Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, Hazrat Amir Khursow in Delhi. We love Sufi music. So our inspiration is more or less goes around Mughal Arts (Persian) arts inspired by Mehrabs , Mimbars, Domes, Flowers ,Carvings, Grills ,and Mughal Embroidery of Zardozi, and Chikankari..
Despite being predominantly a men’s designer range, you also offer a besotted bridal wear collection. Will this be available in Dubai as well?
Yes, in India we have a woman’s line too, but soon we will be coming up with a wide range of Bridals in Dubai.
As a designer duo with both your names on the label, have you ever had major differences in opinion? And how do you handle this?
Ali plays with classy and monotonous colours with minimum embroideries and embellishments. I love heavy zardozi, embroideries , contrast drapes and bold styling……At the end, we mix our taste to dilute it and hence the “Gulam Ali” Masterpiece is out. Thus you will find our creations a bit heavy, but at the same time with classy combinations and a mix of contemporary and Indo -Fusion taste with unique styling.
If you had to choose an absolute favorite from all the pieces you have designed so far, which piece would it be and why?
It would be my first outfit which I designed during my college days…I bought a waste fabric from scrap for R.s 150. Played with it day and night for more than 2 weeks and then my masterpiece was created..I sold it for Rs 2,000. It was my first ever creation and it made me who am i today…
Which celebrities have been seen wearing Stile?
There are many from Bollywood, many TV serial stars, many models, politicians, sports people who wear our label.
In your opinion, what are the 5 essential wardrobe must-haves for men?
Cool Lenin Shirts
Evening Party Jackets
Classy set of Bundies with loads of pocket squares
Bold band galas
A casual set of Pathanis…is my Ideal wardrobe but with only GULAM-Ali Label.