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Afreen Shiraz

In her Ellemint By Sumeha Khalid

ue Sera Sera, whatever will be, will be, the future’s not our’s to see. Living life and working with the same motto, Afreen Shiraz – renowned and much sought after beautician, stylist and entrepreneur – let herself go with the flow. Credibility, poise, commitment and perseverance made the good-looker attain success within no time at all. She’s the mastermind behind the successful Ellemint Salon et Spa and the happening Ellemint Pret – a one stop-shop - for all women’s needs. Tucked away off the busy Khayaban-e-Shamsheer (aka Khadda Market), Ellemint Pret is one swanky multi-brand store ever bustling with activity - never a dull moment at the outlet, all due to the sheer dedication of Afreen. A jolly soul and a serious-minded worker, Afreen was recently honoured to be invited by the US Counsel General to celebrate women entrepreneurs in Pakistan and discuss some of the challenges faced by the fairer sex. Over a cup of perfectly brewed coffee, we had a little chit-chat with the stunning Afreen Shiraz. Following are excerpts of the interview. Q: How many years have you put in now as a styliste/beautician? A: I’ve given it almost seven years now. The philosophy behind Ellemint Salon et Spa is to pamper

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our clientele with the latest and best international products blending it with the right technology providing

a professional, hygienic and an affordable experience. People often ask me what the word

there was a huge demand from my clientele, relatives, friends and well-wishers to further add a Pret store to Ellemint portfolio making it a one-stop-solution for ladies - salon, spa, clothes, shoes and jewellery all under one roof. After a successful five-year spell of Ellemint Salon et Spa, fashion was my next destination. It just came very naturally and I went with the flow. Ellemint Pret provides a platform for upcoming designers to showcase their creations. It encourages and promotes Pakistani fashion not only in Pakistan but abroad as well. We’ve had a successful exhibition in the US and plan to have many more around the globe. Q: What is the one outstanding feature of Ellemint Pret?

“Ellemint” signifies. “Ellemint” comes from the English word “Element” spelt differently inspired by my diploma in French adding an interesting touch as Elle in French stands for the female gender.

sectors like banking, advertising, teaching, etc, I realised my true passion and decided to follow my dream. It started from a small space in the vicinity of Defence and my clientele grew with time.

Q: What spurred you to set up Ellemint Salon et Spa?

Q: You ventured out launching a multi-brand boutique and display ‘Ellemint Pret’. What made you branch out in this particular arena of the fashion business?

A: Beauty and beauty treatments were always my passion since college-days. After attaining my Masters in Marketing and gaining experience by working in various

A: It’s now been an year since Ellemint Pret was launched. I felt

A: Ellemint Pret, like my salon/spa, is targeted for everyone. It’s an extremely affordable experience. Adorning yourself with designer wear and latest trends in fashion at prices you don’t have to give a second thought to, is what Ellemint Pret is all about. Our prices are very attractive for the clients. Casual Pret starts from Rs.2500. We base our service on convenience. No hassles of going to tailors or for embroidery or embellishments. We provide the latest updated styles and designs. At Ellemint Pret we stay updated in international trends as well. Our designers give maximum value and consumer benefit for each product bought. Q: How many designers are you stocking at Ellemint Pret? What is the criterion for making it to Ellemint Pret? A: We have an exclusive fashion store. Our strategies are to ‘seek

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and promote’. I seek talent. We provide fresh designers a platform to showcase their creativity and take their abilities to the next level. Our process is simple. Email us your latest fashion shoot, show us a few samples and once selected - keeping in view the cuts, styles, utility and other values of production - we make sure we tell everyone about you.

someone’s face. Q: What are the most common make-up mistakes you see on the streets of Pakistan? A: Mostly base/foundation. It is meant to enhance your complexion not to stand out on your face. As they say “Less is more.”

Q: You have been trained abroad as a stylist/beautician. Do share the details with us.

Q: What is it that you find similar in most of the designers stocking at your boutique?

A: My ground training started from Karachi. For various hair, nails, skin training and methodology I went to Italy followed by Malaysia and Dubai. I attend regular refresher courses locally as well. To provide our clientele with the latest products and beauty technology this is an ongoing process. Continuous education is of utmost importance in this field.

A: All designers at Ellemint Pret are hard working and in line with latest fashion trends to provide their clients with the best. Q: You have worked with top celebrities of Pakistan at Ellemint salon et spa. Describe the process of working with celebs to create that celebstyle amazing looks. A: We’ve dressed celebs for personality shoots, models for their events or shoots. Many are also our regular clients. Celebrities are as accessible as any one of us. They are generally quite accommodating and I have not had to put up with tantrums so far! Q: What is the most important aspect of your job? A: For me, customer satisfaction is very important. It gives me inner peace that I put a smile on

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A: Facials are extremely important to maintain a healthy skin. I cleanse every night and exfoliate twice a week. Sunblock is a must to prevent any UV/sun damage. It’s convenient to have a two in one product so your moisturiser can be your sun block too.

Q: You are quite a socialite and a fashionista. Tips you would like to share with our girls on how to look their best? Q: Basic make-up tools every girl should have in her bag? And tell us your personal must-have list? A: Make-up habits and tools differ for everyone, every taste. For me my must-haves include my favourite lipstick – as a matter of fact I only carry a lipstick in my bag! Q: What is your beauty regime?

A: My only tip is inner satisfaction. Find what makes you happy and do exactly that. Once you do, you will look and feel beautiful. Q: What are your future plans for Ellemint Salon et Spa and Ellemint Pret? A: I will just go with the flow whenever it may take me. I enjoy diversifying.

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December 3 International Day of the Disabled

SCEI’s the limit! Contrary to popular belief that disabled people are a small minority, a whopping 15 percent of the world’s population, or one billion people, live with disabilities By Perveen Rafiq


ecember 3, the coming Monday, could be your day. It’s the International Day for Persons with Disabilities. Contrary to popular belief that disabled people are a small minority, a whopping 15 percent of the world’s population, or one billion people, live with disabilities. December 3 is their day. People are often unaware of the great number of persons living with disabilities around the world and the challenges they face. The reason why the International Day for Persons with Disabilities is observed around the world is to help enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities through national, regional and global efforts and to raise awareness about the magnitude and consequences. The day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the inclusion of persons with disabilities in every aspect of life. The term persons with disabilities is used to apply to all persons with disabilities including those who have longterm physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which, in interaction with various attitudinal and environmental barriers,

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hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others. However, this minimum list of persons who may claim protection under the Convention does not exhaust the categories of the disabilities which fall within it nor intend to undermine or stand in the way of wider definition of disabilities under national law (such as persons with short-term disabilities). It is also important to note that a person with disabilities may be regarded as a person with a disability in one society or setting, but not in another, depending on the role that the person is assumed to take in his or her community. In most parts of the world there are deep and persistent negative stereotypes and prejudices against persons with certain conditions and differences. These attitudes themselves also shape who is considered to be a person with a disability in each society as well as have contributed to a negative image of persons with disabilities. The language used to refer to persons with disabilities has played a significant role in the persistence of negative stereotypes. Clearly, terms such as “crippled” or “mentally retarded” are derogative. Persons with disabilities, “the world’s largest minority”, often face barriers to participation in all aspects of society. The commemoration of International Day of Persons with Disabilities in 2012 provides an opportunity to address this

exclusion by focusing on promoting accessibility and removing all types of barriers in society. Like elsewhere in the world, several events would take place in Pakistan to commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. A prequel to the Day was held at a local school in Karachi that has been teaching kids with intellectual disabilities for several years. Special Children’s Educational Institute (SCEI) is a Non-profit Organization that was founded by Saima Haq in 1996 to establish an institute that provides a platform for the optimal development for children and individuals with Mental and Physical Challenges across all economic sectors of Pakistan. The school’s goal is to

become a nationally recognized Institute that improves the lives of individuals with special needs by providing specialized education and training as well as become a catalyst for social change and attitudes towards these individuals. In accordance with International Day for Persons with Intellectual Challenges SCEI organised an event which collaborated educators, artists, sportsmen, celebrities, youth and media together to promote social change. There were prominent speakers, art exhibits curated by the renowned Sameera Raja besides interactive stalls. The goal was to create acceptance in society by showcasing the talents and potential of these children over the years and the programs and facilities that are required by them day to day. According to Saima Haq, the school’s principal, SCEI will also be introducing a Teacher Training Program and Early Intervention Program which is scheduled to start in January 2013. Here are excerpts of an interview with Saima Haq. Q: How and when did you decide to set up SCEI? A: Special Children’s Educational Institute (SCEI) was founded in 1996 with the goal of creating a Special Education Program similar to that of other developed countries. Well aware of the financial and social challenges, and my husband’s financial Support, I decided to establish a self-funded small school that would serve as a role model for Special Education in Pakistan which has continued for the last 16 years. Q: What are the common challenges persons with disabilities face in our society?

A: The challenges for these individuals in Pakistan start with the limited resources we have in our country starting from early intervention to special education and vocational training. Even in developed countries these services are part of the federal and State education budgets and still people have a difficult time affording the supplemental services these children need like speech and physiotherapy. So comparatively if you look at our country its no surprise that even when these services are available most people cannot afford them. That is why at SCEI we try to provide the therapies as well as Special Education, which means a 3 to 1 student teacher ratio at as low a fee as possible. We need more NGOs involved in creating therapy centers in our hospitals or clinics and more training of individuals in this field. Q: What you do seems like a tough job. What keeps you going? A: It is undoubtedly the children! Everybody calls them Special Children but it’s not until you actually get to know them that you realise how special they are. I believe that these individuals are God’s gift to us they are really the ones who can teach us His virtues, like patience, gratitude and unconditional love. We as human beings become self indulgent and think that these persons need us yet in order to be really human and understand humanity, we are the ones who need them, Q: How do you think our society can change its treatment of its disabled segment? A: I think that social change is a direct result of how we raise our children. If we want to change

the way society deals with these individuals we have to change the way our children see them. That is why I strongly believe that an initiative such as The CUDDLE Project, if carried out in collaboration with our local schools will change our society because it is an exercise that creates Empathy. In Pakistan I believe that our Generation sees disability as an extension of poverty in our subconscious mind, and therefore we don’t relate to it. Its only when you know someone directly do you even get the slightest idea of what it is like to parent a child with a disability. Then we become sympathetic and that is the last thing anyone wants. No parent of a special child wants to be pitied, they just need someone who understands. Awareness will come from educating ourselves and creating a greater level of understanding which can then result in social change. Q: You mentioned the Cuddle project. Please tell us about this in detail? A: The CUDDLE Project is an initiative to collaborate with schools to conduct workshops to create understanding of developmental disabilities through live experiences. The workshops consist of a series of activities that students do while being fitted with specially designed tools that limit some of their visual, perseptual and fine motor abilities. Once students experience these difficulties they gain a better sense of what it feels like to have limitations thus creating empathy rather than sympathy. Schools are the largest platform to access the youth and therefore play an extremely critical role in our initiative to create social change.

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the Urdu version Besides the three lucid prefaces fore-running the text, the flap of the present book bears some genuinely eulogistic remarks from men of literary eminence By Syed Afsar Sajid


uhammad Salim-urRahman is an acclaimed poet, critic, columnist, short story writer, and translator of many a world classic besides being editor of the prestigious Urdu literary magazine ‘Savera’. JahaN Gard Ki Wapasi is the third edition of his Urdu translation of the ancient Greek epic poet Homer’s Odyssey, the first and second having appeared in the years 1963 and 2006 respectively. The Odyssey is one of the two major Greek epic poems of antiquity ascribed to Homer, the other being the Iliad. The date of composition of the epic is estimated to be the end of the 8th century BC – corresponding to Homer’s own dates between 750650 BC, as concluded by Professor Oliver Taplin in the light of modern research on the subject. The advent of the Western canon of literature is traceable to these epics which have had an enormous influence on the history of literature in general.

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The work in view is also divided into 24 books in the tradition of its precursors. Odysseus (Ulysses in Roman myths), the Greek hero, is central to the kaleidoscopic themes (e.g., homecoming, temptation as a psychological peril, disguise, hospitality, identity, and exile) of the poem. His ten-year long but victorious participation in the Trojan War is followed by an equally long but highly adventurous journey home during which he undergoes challenging experiences of different kinds. The text is characterized by a non-linear plot, and ‘the influence on events of choices made by women and serfs’, in addition to the exploits of fighting men. Besides the three lucid prefaces fore-

Rapidity or ease of movement, plainness of expression, plainness of thought, and a noble and powerful style are stated to distinguish Homer from other epic poets like Virgil, Dante, and Milton. The eminent translator in the instant case does seem to have been deeply ‘penetrated’ by a sense of all of the four aforementioned qualities

The epic continues to be read in the Homeric Greek and translated into modern languages around the world as one of the two classic masterpieces of Homer, the illustrious Greek bard of antiquity. Which fact reiterates the unquestioned universality of literature! running the text, the flap of the present book bears some genuinely eulogistic remarks from men of literary eminence like John Elia, Muhammad Safdar Meer, Intizar Hussain and Sohail Ahmad Khan on the quality of its translation. It would be pertinent here to quote from Matthew Arnold on the Homeric style concurrently implying the prime qualification of his (Homer’s) prospective translator also: “The translator of Homer should above all be penetrated by a sense of four qualities of his author: that he is eminently rapid; that he is eminently plain and direct, both in the evolution of his thought and in the expression of it, that is, both in his syntax and in his words; that he is eminently plain and direct in the substance of his thought, that is, in his matter and ideas; and finally, that he is eminently noble.” Rapidity or ease of movement, plainness of expression, plainness of thought, and a noble and powerful style are stated to distinguish Homer from other epic poets like Virgil, Dante, and Milton. The eminent translator in the instant case does seem to have been deeply ‘penetrated’ by a sense of all of the four aforementioned qualities. Despite controversial views of Samuel Butler, Robert Graves, and Andrew Dalby regarding the authenticity of the author of the Odyssey, the epic continues to be read in the Homeric Greek and translated into modern languages around the world as one of the two classic masterpieces of Homer, the illustrious Greek bard of antiquity. Which fact reiterates the unquestioned universality of literature!

JahaN Gard Ki Wapasi (Odyssey) Author/Translator: Homer/Muhammad Salim-ur-Rahman Publisher: Ilqa Publications (Readings), 12-K, Gulberg II, Lahore Pages: 336; Price: Rs395/December 02 -08, 2012 I 47

Black and White Couture Black and White couture is a complete fashion house with fabulous & appealing style wear and here to sustain people’s enthusiasm and satisfy their urge to be stylish! Black and White range of products truly combines Style & Fashion with great panache. It can match any occasion & mood and help fashion connoisseurs stay abreast with the changing trends. With Black and White you have choice to associate with a brand that offers… Choicest & Trendiest Quality wear, at affordable prices! Black and White’s brand philosophy is ‘providing the most trendiest & quality style wear at competitive price’ makes it a brand apart that is beyond competition! Q: What is that one thing about fashion that enticed you towards fashion? A: The ever changing nature of fashion appeals me because it brings along something new each time. Q: You consider fashion an art or business? A: Fashion is ofcourse an art when it is practiced with quality and gives you pleasure. Q: How would you define your sense of style? A: Smart and playful yet elegant. Q: What is the idea behind Black and White Couture? A: Offering high end fashion with the value for money. Q: Where do you draw your fashion inspiration from? A: Our inspiration is drawn from the eastern and western art and history for motifs and drapes, while our cuts are pretty much western inspired. Q: According to you designing is an inborn talent or a created talent? A: Designing is an art and I believe that art is an inborn skill; no one can make you perform any sort of art.

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BUT yes it can be polished through institutes and practices, sometimes you discover your inborn skills through guidance from others. Q: Is it hard to differentiate yourself from other designers in the market? A: Fashion today is very monotonous, majority of the designers end up using the same fabric which ends up in similar designs. The only difference that can be told is through the sense of cuts and color palettes. We are catering the fashion conscious ladies who love to be loud and make fashion statements. Our color palette and cuts will stand out from the rest of the designers in the market. Q: Is fashion truly a viable business now, or is it still a hobby for most? A: As far as we remember, women in our society are mostly housewives. Spending all day at home they decide to become designers as their leisure and hobby. But not all fashion companies have the same history. It is a business for those who do not enjoy, but fashion for me is a passion, so I lie in the middle of business and hobby.

Q: What do you do to give your creativity a boost when you’re working on new designs? A: My design team loves to research and have fun with serious work tasks. We boost our creativity through magazines, movies and events, while partying at the same time. Q: Do you make special designs for yourself? A: Yes, ofcourse. As someone said, if you can’t wear it yourself, how can u convince others to wear your designs? Q: What are your personal goals? A: At the moment I want to be recognized worldwide. Q: Have you created that “one” special dress? A: Not yet but yes, will come up with it soon hopefully. As that ‘one’ dress is never planned, it just comes out and stands in front of you. Q: How do you manage work and your family? A: Oh its quite easy, I give my complete dedication to work when I am at work and when I am with family I forget about everything else. So it is quite balance.

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Lounge issue no 113  

Pakistan Today Sunday Magazine Lounge issue no 113

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