This is a continuation of last week’s initiative. We were once again approached by budding entrepreneurs of a brand, this time “Zartaar”. We love their work and the emphasis they place on uniqueness of different cultures within Pakistani culture. We respect and admire their goal of promoting cultural enlightenment and as their goals align so closely with ours we wanted to feature them on our site. Check them out, their merchandise is fabulous!

This time the format is a little different; we interviewed them and these are the answers we got, enjoy!

The Interview

Question #1: Where do you see your brand going? Are you going to continue your enterprise after the end of the duration of your project?

Zartaar is more than a project to us. We’ve put our everything in it. It’s actually not any usual Final year project but it’s a team effort to promote the respective cultures of our native regions. We are a team of four people belonging to four diverse cultures; hence we came up with such an artistic idea to promote the years old culture and traditional art of Pakistan.

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So, we are not just doing a project but on an artistic mission to revive the rich cultural heritage of Pakistan and make its connection with youth. We are bringing in an amalgamation of rustic and contemporary art on apparel, in order to revive the exquisiteness of the splendid Pakistani cultural heritage. Moreover, we are also providing a platform to artists to submit their artworks and get public polls i.e. A co-creation platform, creating employment opportunities for art students from all over the country.

We’ve conducted quite a number of art competitions at NUST School of Art design and Architecture (SADA), National College of Arts (NCA) and Hunerkada College of Visual and Performing Arts, Islamabad. Moreover, we also held a successful CSR initiative at the Azaan Khan Shaheed Model School F-8/3 in order to explore the creativity and artistry of budding young artists.

Zartaar expanded its golden roots to inspire the artist within them and creating a visual of how they see their native city, its culture, art and architecture. Some kids drew the magnificent Bab-e-Khyber and made us explore the Takht-i-Bhai of Mardan, to others who drew Hookah, Charpai and the beautiful green fields of Punjab. From Kalash culture of Chiral to splendid beauty of Kashmir, from picnic scenes at Hanna lake to drawing the camels at Karachi beach, these young kids beautifully depicted their native city with a stroke of their art. We aim to hold more of such events in future in order to bring youth closer to the artistry and craft of the culture of Pakistan.

Moreover, we want to make Zartaar something with which everyone can associate and we have been, successful in doing so to quite an extent, in such a short period of time. We have created a “Zartaar community” of artists and customers and our every single customer calls him/her, “A Zartaar Customer”. Moreover, we also launched our brand at NUST Business School with an event titled “The Zartaar Day”, an afternoon of celebration, discovery and expression!

Question #2: What strengths does each of your team members bring to the project?

As I mentioned earlier, Zartaar is a best depiction of Team effort. It’s the practical demonstration of our vision. Zartaar is a Pushto word, where “Zar” means “Golden” and “Taar” is a wire that is used in traditional embroidery in different parts of the country. Hence our tagline, The Golden Stitch i.e. One thread that connects the whole Pakistan. We are four people from different cultures and different academic specialties.

Ayaz is the master mind and handler of all the operations, the intelligent mind of Mateen handing all the finances in the best possible manner. Hoor un Nisa Shaikh is the creative master mind whose ingenious aesthetics make Zartaar what it is today. Izzah ikram has been handling all the marketing with specific focus on our digital presence on Facebook and Instagram. So basically, all four of us have had their own specialties and we divided the tasks amongst us in the same manner. Eventually since we all were doing what we had a passion for, work was no more work for us.

Question #3: How do you plan to finance your enterprise?

We are currently bootstrapping our enterprise i.e. investing ourselves but we might consider investment opportunities in future.

Question #4: What do you think are your greatest challenges in the path to success?

At this point when we are just a start up the only challenge that we are facing is the funding. Because we are investing ourselves, hence it becomes quite difficult to manage at times. However, besides that everything has been spectacular. We’ve received great response from our target audience. People are loving the concept and notion of Zartaar. They are associating themselves with it. They are very much interested to see what we have for them from their particular region.

Question #5: What is the goal/purpose of your business?

From the very first day, the prime goal of Zartaar was to promote the rich exquisite culture of Pakistan. Pakistan is a country with rich culture and heritage. The highly traditional Pakistani culture borrows heavily from the cultures of Persians, Greeks, Moghuls and the British. Within one country there are many ethnic group with each one having its unique art, customs and traditions. In order to preserve the years old culture and traditions of Pakistan, there is a need to connect it to the fast-paced youth of today.

Moreover, there has been a recent trend in the increase of tourist visits by youth to different areas/ artistic locations within the country. Youth themselves are now ready associate with the Kalash culure of Chitral to the ruins of Harappa. Hence, Zartaar cashed upon this opportunity to strengthen the passion amongst youth and bring the art and culture of different areas of Pakistan on T-shirts which would be worn by youth from different age groups.

This is the main purpose of Zartaar i.e. to connect youth to the rich cultural heritage of Pakistan by bringing traditional designs with a fusion of contemporary art. Alongside this, Zartaar also wants to uplift the youth of the country by providing them employment opportunities through the creation of an online community called a Zartaar Community where designs would be created and chosen by an online community.

As a vivid depiction of our purpose, we recently celebrated Zartaar Day – An afternoon of Celebration, Discovery and Expression. A Celebration of the art from different provinces of Pakistan. From the Ajraks of Sindh, to the chunris of Punjab, to the Sheesha work of Balochistan and the Taar Kashi of KhyberPakhtunkhwa. It was a day of the discovery of the years old exquisite culture of Pakistan, when Zartaar tried to create a mini Pakistan within the walls of NUST Business School. It was Zartaar’s first public appearance and we received a very good response from people from within NUST and guests from outside universities.

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There was a small display of different cultural specialties from every single province giving it a feel of a mini Pakistan. Since Zartaar aims to build a connection of the youth of the country to the culture and traditions, hence this event played a major role in achieving this objective. The different items displayed included vases depicting the Blue pottery of Multan, wooden pottery of Hunza, Sindhi Rilli, Waziristani Chabbai made from special date leaves, special gemstones jewelry from Hunza and colourful jhumnkas and parandas of Punjab, Kashmiri Zardozi Handmade rug and much more.

Other than this, sceneries and art works depicting different provinces were also displayed. Special embroideries from different areas alongside chunri from Punjab and Ajrak from Sindh was also on display. It seemed like that the whole Pakistan has been knitted together to celebrate the Zartaar Day. The Zartaar Day display was very attractive to the audience who could connect to the art and crafts from their native land.

Moreover, another thing that was the centre of attention of the audience was the Zartaar logo wall, in front of which professional photographs were being taken with props depicting different cities of Pakistan alongside other cultural wearables likes special Caps from all four provinces, Matha patti from Kashmir, Ajrak from Sindh and Chunri and Bangles from Punjab. The props reading “Karachi meri Jaan” to “Quetta walay? Dilwalay…” and “Jine Lahore Nai Vekhaya O Jamya-e-Nai” to “Pekhawar kho pekhawar de kana” gathered much allure of the audience.

It was a lovely sight watching the youth searching for the props of their beloved city and feeling a moment of association with the soil of their native city. This enthusiastic youth, wearing the traditional wearables of their native cities, standing in front of the logo wall of Zartaar depicted how successful Zartaar has been in inculcating the spirit of art and love of culture in the youth.

Question #6: What inspired you to come up with this idea?

We are a team of four people, with me Izzah Ikram belonging to Peshawar, Hoor un Nisa Shaikh belonging to the city of Lahore and our two other members, Ayaz Khan belongs to Karachi and Mateen belongs to Quetta. With such a diverse team, we decided to promote the art of the particular region to which we belong. So, we are not just doing a project but on a mission to revive the rich cultural heritage of Pakistan and make its connection with youth. We are bringing in an amalgamation of rustic and contemporary art on apparel, in order to revive the exquisiteness of the splendid Pakistani cultural heritage. So Zartaar is more than just a project. We’ve given our heart and soul to it. The black and gold colors of Zartaar have now become our identity.

The Zartaar Team

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The Website!

 Website: www.zartaarpakistan.com