The Fashion Pakistan Council creates an exclusive launchpad for young designers, allowing them the attention that they merit.
The Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture is such an inspiring venue to create a young designer launch pad at and this is where the Fashion Pakistan elements came together and illumed for the first time. The inexperienced yet energetic heads – Chairperson Sanam Chaudhri and CEO Wardha Saleem – shepherded equally passionate members of their clan, the selected five upcoming designers preened on the red carpet and in the same debutant streak, fashion model Fayeza Ansari took (or rather guided) her first steps as a fashion show choreographer. It was all very motivational. The Millennial Show is scheduled to continue as an annual tradition and if it manages to project and promote even one standout designer a year, then that will be an amazing legacy this council will leave behind.
This inaugural year, five young designers showcased their carefully manufactured collections at the pilot event. The evening began with Royal Soccer by Aalish Mansoor, who had some interesting ideas in terms of print and layering. He unfortunately fell short in his choice of fabric and his imperfect finish. This actually made one wonder whether the council had organized funds for these upcoming designers to create capsule collections (which can be an expensive project) or were they left to their own resources.
“The Millennials were provided with a complete platform to show their collections along with being mentored by board members of our board,” Sanam Chaudhri explained the mechanics of the initiative. “These designers are not fresh graduates but have (already) stepped into the market one way or the other. No participation fee was charged and the winner, Madiha Raza, will be given a free slot in FPW S/S 2015.”
Nitasha Yaqub and Sameer Sain followed with women’s wear and men’s wear respectively. PIFD (Pakistan Institute of Fashion Design) graduate, Nitasha’s inspiration for Vanishing Culture was the Anglo-Saxon influence in the Indian sub-continent but came off without making a statement. It was more Sunday school finery than a reflection of a powerful time in the history of this region. While her craftsmanship was well balanced and delicate, the silhouette could have done with a little progression to the twenty first century instead of being held hostage in the past.
Sameer Sain showed more promise as a contemporary of this day and age. His Modern Denimology collection showed quirks and presented experimentation in terms of design. Sameer was also spot-on trend with his choice of fabric; denim is a popular order of the season. That said, the market for kitsch menswear is very limited and one yearns to see younger designers innovate within the peripheries of wearable design. Cases in point: Ahmed Bham, Ismail Farid, Deepak Perwani, Amir Adnan and Republic.
Millennial Fashion was Abel Emmanuel’s second Fashion Week outing; he also showed at the Al-Falah Rising Talent showcase at FPW earlier this year. This collection, Scarlet Night, showed a level of maturity coming from the AIFD (Asian Institute of Fashion Design) graduate, his prints were interesting and his fusion of silhouettes was promising if not outstanding.
The star of the show, indisputably, was Madiha Raza who was in a different league from the get-go. It wouldn’t be premature to say her Flight of Birds would have easily flown over a couple of collections at the main FPW showcase, which validates her popular win (through voting) at the Millennial. An IVSAA graduate, colour, texture and craft was Madiha’s strongpoint, something she graciously credited her mentors.
“Shenaz Ismail and Maheen Khan have influenced my evolution as a designer,” she said when speaking to Instep. “IVSAA taught me the basics, Shahnaz Ismail taught me how to critically analyse and Maheen Khan refined my thinking process, guided me through out and taught me.”
There was visible comfort with technique in her work, from laser cutting, print, leather, silk and most significantly, a balanced combination of it all. Madiha’s attention to precision was refreshingly apparent in her accessories; the bags had been layered with paradisiacal colours and even the shoes were given wings. These are the wings that Madiha will fly on from.
Her personal flight from college to professional life has been inspirational. She graduated from IVSAA in 2009, with distinction, and wasted no time in opening her own label Handmade, in 2011, in collaboration with her sister, Imrana Shehryar. Madiha’s craft caught on like wildfire and she was roped into manufacturing the lighter range of bags for both Tapu Javeri and Deepak Perwani’s popular collections. An obvious favourite amongst the veterans, one can proudly say that it was pure merit on which this talented Millennial made it to the forefront.
Madiha was the undisputed winner of the Millennial Show and will be showcasing in the mainstream at FPW SS 2015, scheduled for March 31 next year.
“I am looking forward to FPW/SS – anxiously,” she concluded in her brief conversation with Instep.
As someone who already has a strong sense of balance between creative (that collection spelt perfection) and commercial (she already has a small store in Tauheed Commercial), Madiha Raza is the ideal candidate to spearhead the Millennial project. This extremely successful debut of the Millennial show is undoubtedly the beginning of a highly anticipated annual event. Fashion Pakistan has launched many young and now successful names over the years: Adnan Pardesy, Mahin Hussain, Naushaba Brohi (Inaaya), Sanam Chaudhri, Maheen Karim, Wardha Saleem and Aamna Aqeel to name just a few. The Millenial Show was the best way to own the tradition and help it evolve.
Photographs by Kashif Rashid