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22 Feb

“We have shortened the event to two days for a reason” – Deepak Perwani

Deepak Perwani

Fashion Pakistan Week, now in its tenth season, will be unraveling in Karachi today and yesterday Fashion Pakistan council heads Deepak Perwani (Chairperson) and Nida Azwer (CEO) hosted a lunch in collaboration with Scentsation to get the ball rolling.

It was a rather black and white affair, as most fashionistas – male and female – stuck to a safe monochrome to make a style statement. For designers who’ll be showing as well as council heads, it was a headless lunch break – it’s not easy to design a collection and supervise a show at the same time. And so they came in work mode and left with 1000 things on their mind. Naushaba Brohi admitted to feeling like a headless chicken. And one felt for Deepak Perwani and Nida Azwer, especially but then designers should not have to manage fashion councils or fashion weeks. They should have the leisure to be creative, plain and simple.

Most people at the lunch were more poised though, obviously because they had decided not to undertake the additional burden of showing. Maheen Karim coolly sported a summery cold shoulder; she usually prefers to showcase during the Winter/Festive season. Aamna Aqeel turned up in a signature printed jumpsuit; she shared that she was busy with lawn this summer. And amongst the gentlemen, Nomi Ansari and Adnan Pardesy were as cool as cucumbers. Pardesy will be showing at the PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week in Lahore in March while Nomi will be part of the Grand Finale celebrating Fashion Pakistan’s tenth birthday. That would be no pressure, since Nomi just recently showed at the Fashion Parade Bride in London.

Deepak Perwani

Aamna Aqeel made a great FPW debut but hasn’t been consistent in showing ever since.

It was a fashion week lunch but with a TV channel in tow – this one being Urdu One – there was a flurry of celebrity movement throughout the afternoon. One saw Ahsan Khan make a hurried appearance. Momal and Javed Sheikh stayed a little longer. Fakhir and Junaid Khan bonded over pasta (Cotie Roti does serve an excellent lunch) while many of the ladies moved indoors to avoid their makeup melting under the increasingly warm Karachi sun.

FPW has downsized, going from its original three-and-already-small-duration. It will be held over two days and will feature ten full collections along with three group shows and one hair show by Toni&Guy-South. It’s not the best lineup, with many of Karachi’s top designers either opting out in favour of showing in Lahore or participating in the group shows, but there is one silver lining. There are no textile brands or high street shows.

“We see Fashion Pakistan Week as an opportunity for new and young designers,” Deepak Perwani shared in a casual conversation. “We have shortened the event to two days but there’s a reason. We want to give back to the system so we have saved the cost of showing an additional day and will be awarding 8-10 deserving student a scholarship. This is a custom we will begin this year.”


Javed and Momal Sheikh

The bigger issue that FPW faces is that fashion graduates and young designers are not the most reliable people to invest time, energy or money in. Countless have come and shown impressive debut collections but then have disappeared. Those that have made the most of the FPW Launchpad – like Sania Maskatiya, Misha Lakhani, Sana Safinaz, Adnan Pardesy and Khaadi – have chosen to move onto the bigger platform in Lahore. Generation, that made a fabulous debut at FPW last year, will be showing at the PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week this year. There has to be a reason.

Speaking optimistically, it appears that FPW has become the perfect launch pad, a platform where young debutantes can test the water; ten years into its conception FPW can claim to have introduced most of the established designers out there today. One just wishes that it had the discipline to allow itself the same growth too.


Aamna Haider Isani

The author is Editor-in-Chief at Something Haute as well as Editor at Instep, The News. Full time writer, critic with a love for words and an intolerance for typos.