Hirra Babar is a 33-year-old handbag designer from Lahore. She launched Warp in 2006. In coming September, She has showcased her bags in 3 seasons of Paris fashion week.
WARP builds on the idea of using traditional craftsmanship to make innovative and uniquely designed forms, that give a contemporary twist to the classic leather handbags and accessories. Using the finest quality of leather, sourced from all over the country Warp’s mission is to enhance and promote high-quality leather accessories manufacturing in Pakistan.
In an interview with Forbes, Hirra Babar, the founder and creative director of her startup ‘Warp’, said:
“Warp essentially means to twist, so I wanted to re-interpret handbags in a contemporary form. Good design is something that evokes the five senses…the shape, for instance, is so important, it should pique a potential buyer’s interest. A handbag needs to have its own character.”
Featuring a line of ‘hexella’ handbags in Warp’s signature, chic geometric shape, the pieces have been showcased at a number of international trade fairs and fashion weeks over the years. From being a part of Mipel (a prestigious leather handbag and accessories event) in Milan in 2018, to presenting at Tranoï (a leading trade show) at three seasons of Paris Fashion Week in both 2019 and 2020, Warp was also selected by the National Chamber of Italian Fashion to display its pieces at Mipel in the emerging brands’ category.
Hirra Babar Talks About Her Struggles
Moreover, Hirra Babar talked about her startup experience, saying:
“I’ve experienced many challenges with growing and sustaining Warp because I’ve been dealing with a lot of firsts working in this region. We had no competition when we started out and had an open playground. Whatever mistakes we made initially were also somehow forgiven because there was no one to compare us within the local context. Pakistan is one of the largest leather exporters in the world and it’s sad that we don’t have a single commercial brand that’s selling high-value goods overseas.”
Warp’s products range anywhere between $80 to $500. Although it took a lot of time for Hirra Babar to reach this stage. Because she wanted to make all her products 100% Pakistani. She made her team train on how to make international standards handbags.
Hirra Babar said:
“I wanted to mobilize local resources. It was the driving force for Warp. I wanted my pieces made locally and sold globally. But it was challenging because no one had demanded better quality from the craftsmen and therefore they didn’t know how to improve their craft. They do an amazing job, considering how much they know, so initially, it was quite a trial and error process. I didn’t want foreign customers to get a bad impression or question our craftsmanship.”`
Hoping to take Warp to carry her Handbag from Lahore to Paris Fashion Week in September, this year, Babar states that she’s also working on spearheading exhibitions in the Middle East, which interestingly enough, is where a majority of Warp’s clients are based.