There are many industries that are suffering the economical avalanche of the coronavirus pandemic, and while most essential industries are making headlines for the losses they are suffering, fashion has been reduced to a luxury that can be put and forgotten on the back burner. While it isn’t as essential as food and pharmaceuticals, of course, there is still no denying the fact that fashion plays a huge role in the anthropological existence of a nation; craft and craftsmen have to be preserved. And beyond that, the fashion industry does employ hundreds of thousands of people. Do we tell them they don’t play an important enough role to matter?
Either way, without retail, the future of the fashion industry in Pakistan seems bleak. To discuss the current situation and sustainability of the industry, Aamna Haider Isani sat down for an exclusive interview with Mohsin Saeed, founder of The Pink Tree Company.
Here are a few of the most interesting points that came up during the discussion:
1. Why does the world need fashion today?
“The world has always needed fashion; it’s just that we haven’t been recognized. Everyone practices and follows fashion, but people also put it down,” Mohsin said. “As Anna Wintour said in The September Issue: ‘People on the outside are scared of fashion.’ People in fashion are usually non-conforming opinionated and emotional individuals; it comes from being creative. They are different, which is why they become an easy target.”
2. Fashion is incorporated in our everyday lives and people don’t even realise it.
“Fashion is a utilitarian necessity. What people don’t realise is that the clothes they are wearing are literally fashion. Subconsciously they’ve worn pieces that have a relation to some kind of trend,” he said. Talking about why we need it even during a pandemic, Mohsin said, “I’d like to say fashion continued even during the Second World War. Paris was holding fashion weeks and everything. People tend to forget that this industry supports hundreds of thousands of homes. It’s a way to preserve our ancestral craft. If we don’t carry it down through fashion, how will crafts like embroidery survive? Even your home is a reflection of your style, everything is fashion. However, we still remain a fashion-hating country. It’s just been a few years since it has started being taken seriously as a profession, otherwise, it was considered nothing more than a hobby.”
“We still remain a fashion-hating country”
3. How will the industry survive if we stay in lockdown?
“People need to understand that we work in advance. Before corona hit, we were working on our collections for the next year! Now we have all this stock and people have stopped buying. How will the brands survive now? Through the support of customers. They need to start buying if they need the industry to sustain because fashion is responsible for the income of many workers. However, even we can only survive for so long without an income. We need to pay our employees and for that, the people need to step up for this industry even if they’re always criticising it,” Mohsin explained.
4. How fast fashion has changed the dynamic of the industry?
“Fast fashion has caused us so much damage,” he agreed. “It’s exploiting workers and adding excessive waste into the world. I think the world needs to move back to slow fashion. People need to be more careful about which kind of practices they’ll support. Now people need to be more aware of where they’re buying things from. We need to guide people towards staying local and supporting local crafts. They also need to see what the quality being used is. The reason being that your outfits need to last for long,” he said.
There was a lot more discussed like how people don’t seem to acknowledge the psychological and emotional role fashion plays in our lives and also the existence of fashion being political. Watch the entire interview here: