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Looks from Sameera Faridi's runway presentation at Fashion Houston last fall.

Image: Quy Tran

Sameera Faridi's gorgeously embroidered dresses, tunics, and saris come in a rainbow of saturated colors, each designed with a totally unique pattern of beading or embroidery. She often makes custom versions of the styles on-hand that her clients like, but once a design is sold off the rack, she never makes it again.

"It keeps me going, because I get bored. It keeps me motivated," says Faridi.

This week Faridi marked the official grand opening of the Sameera Faridi Design Studio, a 1,000-foot consultation and retail space carved out of Poshak, the decade-old South Asian store in Hillcroft owned by Faridi and her father. 

"I was like every other student in fashion school; I wanted to open my own store and I wanted to have my own line," says Faridi. "I did open the store with my dad's help, but I was doing sales and merchandising, so I started designing on the side."

Faridi creates detailed sketches of each design in her Hillcroft studio, then sends the pattern to Karachi, Pakistan, where the fabrics are hand-cut, hand-embroidered, and hand-beaded by a team of artisans. A particularly intricate piece, like her popular red wedding dress, can take up to three months to produce and cost up to $5,000.

That's still a relative bargain for South Asian brides, who previously had to fly to India for similar couture designs. In the four years since she started her own line, Faridi's reputation has grown, mostly through word of mouth, and she's had customers fly in from as far as Canada and Lebanon.

Designer Sameera Faridi

Her latest collections, however—one in ivory and gold tones for spring/summer, and another based on a shade of deep cobalt blue, plus new colelctions of clutches and costume jewelry—reflect both Faridi's love of trying something new and the unique cross-cultural landscape of Houston.

As the first South Asian designer ever to show at Fashion Houston, Faridi wanted to create looks that bridged the divide between traditional South Asian style and Western fashion.

"That's the direction I want to go in," says Faridi, adding that her next goal is to expand her line to other stores. "I wanted anybody in the audience to relate to it and not just see it as Indian attire. Pieces like these you can wear with a scarf or a jacket and go to a nice dinner."

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