The designer said she got into handbag design at an early age, sharing with Refinery29, “When I was ten years old and living in Pakistan, I remember going every week to The Juma Bazaar (Friday Textile Market) on the sidewalks of Karachi, with my mother and two sisters. Our weekly pilgrimage to these bazaars laid the foundation for my lifelong passion for fabric and texture, and ultimately led to the birth of Isly Handbags. The name Isly comes from the first two initials of both my children’s names â€” my son, Isaad, and my daughter, Lyali. In essence, it’s my third baby.”
Residing in picturesque Nob Hill, a district of San Francisco, which was once called “snob hill” because of the elite class that lived there, Shaikh embodies the fabulous essence of the neighborhood and history.Â Still her style, which she calls cl-edgy, a mix of classic and edgy, pays homepage to her home town of Karachi.
Describing her favorite elements of her home, she shares, “The purple-glass chandelier in my dining room â€” I call it my candy! My ‘Phulkari’ â€“ a antique, hand-embroidered bridal shawls from Pakistan that I’ve framed and put up as wall hangings in my dining room. Also, my Venetian mirror in our hallway, and the orange horsehair, textured wallpaper in the powder room. I love the antique Pakistani wooden frame mirror that my sister gave me as a wedding present, and the three antique Russian Gardner porcelain bowls passed down to me from my grandmother. And, all of my childrenâ€™s sculptures and ceramics from their art classes at school.”
â€” NATASHA KHAN