Mumbai fashion designer Umair Zafar goes the philanthropic way!


While most business enterprises think of raking in profit with their ventures, Mumbai fashion designer Umair Zafar (recently appointed as Creative Director for Urban Xchange Fashions and Apparels Pvt. Ltd.) has chosen to take a different route. Not only has Umair Zafar already launched a one-stop fashion store URBAN FASHIONS with leading international fashion brands available under one roof, he also has some strategic plans to fuel the cultural heritage of Lucknow city.

Mumbai based, fashion designer Umair Zafar has always closely witnessed the plight of the talented artisans who relentlessly promote the art of Chikankari embarked on his vision to “promote Chikankari and get the ancient art its due coverage on the world map of the Fashion world.” His benevolent nature prompted him to suggest some social service schemes which were graciously accepted by the dynamic team of the new venture.

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Deviating from the normal accepted norms of having a store inauguration done by a noted Bollywood celebrity to garner in the media mileage, Umair insisted that the store be launched by a physically challenged Chikankari artisan from Lucknow. While some insisted that such a move required ‘sheer guts and grit’, Umair stuck to his guns and URBAN FASHIONS was launched on 24th November 2013 in Lucknow.

Elaborating on his philanthropic plans towards the business venture, Umair Zafar discloses, “Lucknow is a city which is rich in cultural heritage. With the new venture, the company has decided to donate 2 percent of the entire annual earnings from the franchise stores pan India towards the well-being and upbringing of the Lucknow Chikankari artisan’s families and their children’s education.”

Noticeably, the good deeds don’t stop at that. Mohammad Mehdi (the Managing Director of Urban Xchange Fashions and Apparels Pvt. Ltd. and Umair Zafar have already initiated a rule that every store of Urban Xchange Fashions and Apparels Pvt. Ltd. will provide employment to one physically challenged individual in every store throughout the year.

With such compassionate and generous beginnings, one definitely expects the new venture to be a grand success.



Folk Maestro Raghu Dixit

 Ray-Ban ‘Never Hide Sounds’, the nationwide hunt for the best bands in the country with their fourth leg in the city of Dreams- Mumbai. Parvaaz the upcoming blues/psychedelic rock folk band ‘’ along with Raghu Dixit entertained the crowds with their enthralling folk music at Hard Rock Café on Saturday, 16th Nov 2013

“Ray-Ban Never Hide Sounds 2013” is an extension of Ray-Ban’s ‘Envision Campaign’ which celebrates the Never Hide spirit: the boldness to be yourself and freely express your beliefs and personality. This year “Ray-Ban Never Hide Sounds 2013” in association with MTV will witness selected bands from various genres, perform across cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bangalore.

‘Parvaaz’ -The Bangalore based rock band music can be described as a tasteful blend of blues, elements of rock and the experience of psyche Delia through Kashmiri and Urdu lyrics. The songs explore abstract experiences, ideas and also traditional literature through Kashmiri and Urdu poetry. The Band’s first EP “BEHOSH” was released in July 2012 to become the top selling artist/ album on “OK LISTEN! The track BEHOSH topped the charts on India’s leading music website NH7.  Parvaaz is currently working on a full length studio album. A single- “Khufiya Dastaan” was released recently to promote the upcoming album.

The band was mentored by Raghu Dixit, a renowned folk singer. The Raghu Dixit Project, founded by Raghu Dixit (Kannada) is an open house for musicians and artistes from different genres to come together, collaborate and create a dynamic sound and expression. He was a gold medalist in Masters in Microbiology and a proficient Indian Classical Dancer (Vidwat in Bharatanatyam). As the founder-front man of his band Antaragni for more than eight years, Raghu’s singing style is inserting Indian ethnic folk, Sufi and classical phrases cleverly into his songs.

Talking about the event, Shirley Gong, Ray-Ban Business Manager, Emerging Markets said, “Ray-Ban Never Hide Sounds is taking the next step forward, and we are very excited to announce Edition III in 2013. This year we set out to search the most unique and talented voices around the country and believe that the latest edition is sure to reach greater heights”.

After the city events the grand event will take place in Mumbai on November 30th, 2013. The selected bands through Ray-Ban Never Hide Sounds get an opportunity to perform with the renowned mentors and feature in an exclusive TV series on MTV.

Hong Kong Tourism Board and Whistling Woods International Showcase Winter Romance with “Hold My Hand” Short Films

Durjoy datta

The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) was joined by renowned Film School, Whistling Woods International (WWI) and bestselling Indian author Durjoy Datta to unveil the colours of its yearly marketing campaign – adapting snippets of ‘Hold My Hand’ into short films to raise awareness of Hong Kong as an exciting, vibrant and romantic travel destination among Indian consumers.

The first wave of promotion of FY 13-14 Campaign witnessed HKTB commissioning a novel, ‘Hold My Hand’ by Indian Author, Durjoy Datta.  HKTB took the association forward by collaborating with creative talent house, WWI, to convert the bestselling fiction novel into Short Films. This is a unique promotional campaign for a National Tourism Board to link literature and cinema to promote a destination in India.

Three teams of contestants from Whistling Woods International travelled to Hong Kong and shot at the locations mentioned in the novel, Hold My Hand. The winning team comprising of Arbaaz Shroff, Prachi Sinha, Kaushal. S. Shah, Abhinav Agnihotri and Rishabh Rastogi along with Actors Lianne Texeira and Nakul Sahdev, were awarded by Ms. Daisy Lui, Deputy Executive Director of The HKTB and the Original Showman of Bollywood, Mr. Subhash Ghai who is also the Chairman of WWII. The winning film; Hold My Hand – Altair & Vega ( received rave reviews from all judges including Chairman of Jury, Mr. Nagesh Kukunoor. The HKTB firmly believes that the passion of Indian consumers for books and cinema will generate huge interest in for Hong Kong, the city known for being a romantic destination.

HKTB Deputy Executive Director Ms. Daisy Lui said: “We are hounoured and thankful for the love and support shown towards us by WWI and Durjoy Datta. We hope that through our associations and cutting edge PR initiatives we will be able to consolidate Hong Kong’s presence in India and attract more visitors to Asia’s World City.”

Bollywood Producer Director and Chairman of Whistling Woods International, Mr. Subhash Ghai said, “We at WWI are glad to be associated with HKTB. Adapting a novel into short films of 5-6 minutes is never easy. After months of hard work, the students have come out with fantastic results. We wish the best for HKTB and hope to associate with them in the future as well.”


Fashion Designer Umair Zafar bags a Hollywood film.


Umair Zafar – “I will take Lucknowi fashion and heritage on the world map.”

Very few Bollywood fashion designers have managed to carve a niche with their creative designs and land up with a plum Hollywood film offer for styling a film’s look, that too for the entire star-cast. Renowned and seasoned costume designer Bhanu Athaiya bagged the bald statuette for Best Costume Design in Richard Attenborough’s biopic Gandhi and made India proud.

FB cover 2[1]Grapevine is abuzz that Bollywood fashion designer- celebrity stylist- makeover consultant Umair Zafar has been pencilled in and almost finalized for a big budget Hollywood film which will be shot in Lucknow and Jaipur from January 2014.


Obsessed with an old-world charm, Umair Zafar often attempts to recreate that certain ‘ magic’ through his garments. His fashion style is best described as super- feminine and classic are an extension of flogging the Indian heritage at its pinnacle.  Detailing and fabrics have always played a huge role in his collections. Exquisite quality of embroideries, exotic embellishments put together on rich fabrics such as Swiss tulle, French lace, Italian chiffon and Indian silks make for beautiful garments. Somehow Zafar’s creations have always highlighted the Indian-ness that appeal to every woman.

When quizzed about his hushed door meetings with the Hollywood production team at a local 5-star hotel and he being finalized for the venture, Umair Zafar bemusedly replies, “Indian fashion is culturally rich and offers magnanimous variations. It’s ironical that we as Bollywood film designers have to blend them with Western inspirations and give the costumes a filmi touch. Having had a close affinity to Lucknowi tehzeeb and the local imperial heritage, I was floored when I was offered this Hollywood venture.”

Apparently it is said that the Hollywood venture would have some Bollywood actors too but the main pivotal roles are being played by some known Hollywood actors. Since the film is a biopic set in the pre-independence, the onus on the costume designer and Creative Style consultant is enormous. Umair was non-committal and maintained a stiff upper lip in divulging further details about the project. He summed up with a, “Working with a Hollywood team is an honour for the pure fact that it takes us Indian fashion designers on a higher pedestal. You will have to wait for official announcements to be made by the studio.”

India is a big spot on the global fashion map and for someone like a talented and down-to-earth fashion designer like Umair Zafar making it big in Hollywood deserves a round of applause.

Profile of UMAIR ZAFAR

Umair Zafar is a Celebrity stylist, Fashion designer, image consultant and versatile consultant in the fashion business believes that fashion trends and designs should translate at an affordable price. His vision is to make style comfortable and affordable. His venture into the commercial market has been enduring. The designer is known for consultation of and with various brand building projects and customised outfits.

In 2012, Umair made shopping easy for his followers as he launched his online shopping portal to offer his designer collection with affordable pricing, which includes Indian & western collection.

His designs are available on, SBI smart card, HDFC, Junglee , Niketes etc. The designer handles different clients from the glam and fashion world including Padmani Kolhapuri, Tejaswani, Geeta Basra, Rituperna Sen Gupta, Sayali Bhagat, Nisha Kothari,Yukta Mukhi, Nandana Sen, Aditi Sharma, Shilpi Sharma, Claudia Ciesla, Reshmi Ghosh, Deepshikha Nagpal, Anushka Shetty, Gauhar Khan, Rajkumar Yadav ( Kai Poche ), Divyanshu ( Pyar Ka Punchnama ), Sawara Bhaskar (Tannu Weds Mannu), Pakistani Actress-Meera Ali, Singer Mamta Sharma, Rahul Roy, Kiran Kumar, Raj Kumar Yadav, Shahbaaz khan and his fantastic list of small screen celebs goes on.

USP of Umair Zafar’s collection- Umair creates trendy & international look, with an amalgamation of western & Indian colour palette with a minimal embellishments, Indian body type is always into consideration while designing his collection.