BY : MAHEEN AHMED
Hassan Iqbal Rizvi is a creative powerhouse, and a style guru for everything fashion.
When he isn’t working as an art director and stylist he is running a creative business that we all know as ‘9Lines’.
In a brief encounter with Ils magazine he talks about his career and success.
You are a creative director and stylist; how did you start ?
I’ve always been into quirky and artsy things. Ever since I graduated from NCA, I knew I had to channel my aesthetics into something that will sell. Once 9lines hit the ground running, a lot of brands approached us to do their branding and marketing and styling just came naturally.
How would you describe 9Lines, Tell us something about it ?
‘9Lines’ was a product of searching for the right partner to collaborate with to create a unique, fun, quirky fashion and lifestyle label that created original art for its merchandise; a label that had popular culture influences but did not ape trends.
As an artist/graphic designer who has dabbled in art, photography and design, I was eager to experiment and push my creative boundaries. Saad, being my best friend, had his own forte: marketing, finance, operations and logistics.
Who better could I have teamed up with? We planned to launch some quirky items for a one-off exhibition but that never happened. Instead, we made a Facebook page as a test-run and put some of the products to sell online.
But then we were hit by a mammoth response, and we had to pool in about half a lakh each for production so we could start supplying our products to people all across Pakistan! The rest as they say is history!
What aesthetic or art are you into these days?
Currently I’m very much inclined towards typography with minimalist backgrounds but with maximum impact. For summer 9lines collections and for my own personal style its all things funky, tropical, bright and bold.
What are the things that motivate and inspire you?
We at 9Lines are inspired by our experiences. It is after all our experiences that changes every day and allows us to reflect in our design.
We are creating what we enjoy and what we find fun. Having studied and lived in Lahore, South Asian art, artists and pop culture became strong influences in my design education, graphic design being definitely a dominant factor. Pop art, Andy Warhol, the 60’s era, vintage photographs and Pakistani truck and rickshaw art are my main inspirations for designs.
Pakistan traditionally has a huge database for design, clothing, food, architecture, home decor, transport, festivals and weddings. One always sees a riot of colours, patterns, textures and kitsch elements.
I often find inspiration in yesteryear silver screen icons be it Lollywood/Bollywood or Hollywood, retro blockbusters, famous on-screen couples, cheeky dialogues and the extinct art of poster painting. We create what we enjoy, what we find fun.
What difficulties do you face as someone who runs a creative business?
9Lines brings original art to a broad spectrum of audience by changing the medium of the canvas to fashion.
To be able to alter people’s conception of art and design, and make art accessible through affordable price points required getting several factors of production and design organised to be able to make this a viable concept.
How would style some who just doesn’t care and some who cares too much?
The advice I always give people is to wear what you love, and don’t think about what people will say.
Having style means having a sense of awareness and authenticity. It is easy to latch on to trends without considering the process behind it. Now more than ever people should be aware of themselves, their purchases, and the community. So, this applies to both.
Do you have a favourite colour and why?
Red. Most definitely. It makes me feel a little more alive and I love wearing it. Also, I know this colour isn’t for everyone but for people of South Asian skin tone it looks beautiful against their skin. Red signifies so many things. It’s not a peaceful color, or a soothing color, but I find it beautiful.
Does it ever feel draining to always have to come up with a collection?
Constantly re-inventing, creating original work to stay ahead of the game, along with trying to keep production costs low, without having to hamper the quality of the product, is a constant challenge.
What should we be expecting from you? What would you like to do?
Art, design and fashion will always be the soul of me. I have never really looked at creating any future plan so far, since most of the work I do as a stylist comes from word of mouth.
Maybe I’ll think of a plan to better market myself, but so far, I’m more than satisfied with whatever work comes my way.
Meanwhile, 9Lines officially added the unstitched Lawn category this year to its product range and we were thrilled with the amount of support and adoration we received for our one-of-a-kind collection!
We adore our patrons for liking what we did and we would want to create something unique for them to keep coming back for more! Eventually we’d want to spread out to other countries too.