Since graduating from Concordia a decade ago, Anusha Bawany, BA 11, has established herself as both a chronicler and trendsetter in the competitive, creative world of fashion journalism in her native Pakistan. Now with a successful editorial career and a newly launched lifestyle brand, Bawany looks back on her time at Concordia as pivotal.
“It was my years at Concordia and my life in Montreal that shaped everything I have managed to do,” she says.
Born in London and raised in Karachi, Bawany moved to Montreal in 2007 to enrol at Concordia, where she completed a Bachelor of Arts in English, majoring in creative writing.
After graduating, Bawany returned to Karachi, where she pursued her love of writing by freelancing for the Sunday Times — Pakistan’s leading weekly fashion and lifestyle magazine — and working her way up to managing editor of the publication.
While Bawany’s perch covering Pakistan’s growing fashion industry, lifestyle, social, entertainment and celebrity news has been a passport to a world of glamorous socializing and travel, she says her job wasn’t all celebrity selfies and Instagram updates.
“A lot of people have misconceptions about my job as a fashion journalist, and the industry in general. People think that because it isn’t a nine-to-five desk job, it’s not as serious or challenging of a profession,” she says. “In reality, in my position as managing editor, I needed to be available anytime — day or night. But it has been a constant creative professional outlet and truly rewarding for the soul.”
Building a business
In December 2020, busy with her work at the Sunday Times, Bawany decided to launch her own company, VIÉL, a lifestyle and interiors brand known for its funky, colourful ceramics and other home accessories.
In the true spirit of innovation and — as many creative entrepreneurs have done since the COVID-19 pandemic began — finding opportunity in crisis, Bawany was inspired to create an interiors business when the concept of “home” was redefined by the lockdown.
“People have a renewed appreciation for their home environment, and are taking more time to notice the importance of the items they surround themselves with in their homes,” she says.
Having always thought that the written word was her only creative outlet in life, Bawany says that starting a business has expanded her creative potential. As creative director of the brand, she is proud to see how VIÉL is growing.
“As a young female entrepreneur, I am immensely proud of everything I have achieved,” she says.
A crucible for creativity
Bawany credits her ability to meet the constant demand for creative expression required of her professional roles to her time in Concordia’s Creative Writing program. “I think those years of having the freedom to write without limits while working hard allowed me to find my voice,” she says, adding that finding her own voice has helped her inspire various interviewees to share their stories.
“Ten years since graduating, my business is growing, my confidence is finally built up and I have come to a point where I am proud to celebrate all my accomplishments.”