"My love of fashion is a gift from my mom,” says Sana Ali Khan, Designer & Creative Director of Aara by Sana. She first learned the importance of fabric choice and quality from her mother, who ran a boutique in Karachi, Pakistan. Today, as head designer and CEO, she draws on those early inspirations to craft a signature style—and to inspire the next generation of South Asian women.
At age 11, Sana’s life was transformed when she, her mother, and sister moved from a well established life in Karachi to the trials and tribulations of starting life on a blank canvas, in a new country. Moving directly into a housing complex in Newark, New Jersey, came with its own hardships, and she very quickly recognized how far away the American Dream actually was. Uncertain of her destiny, all Sana saw was the distant skyline of New York City, the fashion capital of the world. It would have remained there, however, had she not started working at a local fabric store at age 13.
Fashion became her refuge, a way to manage the pressures of dealing with a new country, a new home, and a single-parent family. While other kids had a social upbringing, Sana grew up quickly, with adultlike responsibilities throughout her teens. Before her 16th birthday, she was already the breadwinner in her family.
Her passion for quality textiles fueled her in those quiet hours. “My imagination and creativity blossomed,” she says. “I was in love with the feel of different fabrics, the colors and textures, the infinite possibilities. It was the best early education I could have hoped for.”
Today, Sana takes great pride in raising her boys and looking after the home, which is only a stone’s throw away from the Hudson River, waking daily to the the very city that inspired her.
Sana brings this journey to life as a designer. She juxtaposes hard and soft materials, pairing delicate silks and chiffons with bold Italian leather, for a signature style that reflects her incredible personal story.
“This collection is for every little girl going through something unimaginable to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. It’s for every daughter who has ever wanted to make her mother proud and for every mother, every working mother who takes time away from her children in the hopes of living her dreams. I salute your strength to overcome hardships. Your courage to follow your dreams and your resilience to keep going.” - Sana