For me Shalwar Kameez was always a dress kept exclusively for Fridays or special holidays. Back when I was in college in the UK, on a random day, I decided to wear a Kurta Shalwar instead of my western clothes. I was completely shocked by the amount of my international friends asking me what I’m wearing. I instantly replied ‘It is my national dress’. It was that moment when it hit me how just wearing my Friday clothes I was eventually representing a whole culture. If they saw anyone else wear it again – they’d recall it with the kind of a person I was & this made me act more responsibly. I had never imagined that a dress could have such an impact.
Every time I wore them; it felt cooler than before and eventually it became my identity. I'd then wear it wherever I'd go or whatever I'd do. I wore it to my presentations in England; I wore them when I was creating content; I even wore them when I was speaking to a large audience – even though
I was the only one wearing it, I always fit in. I eventually realized my Kurta Shalwar made me standout in the crowd. It took a while but everyone started loving my unusual dress - I loved how it connected me to my cultural heritage
As I slowly transitioned to making these Shalwar Kurtas my daily wear. I also realised how helpful it has been in my morning decision making. I always knew
what I’m going to put on; as it was an appropriate dress for any occasion. With one unnecessary decision out of the way, I saw myself spending my mental space in more useful areas like creativity, critical thinking & problem solving.
Eventually, people started asking me where they could get them from - Since I used to get them custom made for me, it motivated me to start Manto. I spent 2 years trying to understand how I can bring a product that is minimalist and simple in design yet looks good and feels comfortable. I wanted to create something I could vouch for, so I made sure I put special focus on finesse of the product – From the thread, to the fabric, to the final cut. After going back and forth with hundreds of fabrics from the market and tens of tailors, I partnered with one of Pakistan’s leading textile manufacturer to create the BREEZE fabric with our proprietary blended material that is at the heart of Manto today. I also managed to find a specialized family of artisans who have tailoring custom Shalwar Kameez for the past 40 years.
Today, I am proud to not only create a brand that competes daily with the top high street fashion brands globally but that is also 100% Made in Pakistan. Every piece sold helps us create jobs in Pakistan, while putting Pakistan in the global fashion landscape.
Thank you for supporting Manto and being a part of our journey of creating the most comfortable eastern daily wear brand in Pakistan!