Fahad Hussayn says that stars bring visibility to shows but they can’t make clothes sell. He elaborates on this and more…
Fahad Hussayn is one of the most intriguing designers I’ve known. Half Rajput and half Pathan, he’s someone who comes with a rich family background and yet his aesthetic is developed much beyond rural Punjab. He’s always had a tendency to work around dark, almost Goth themes but his latest work looks brighter.Fahad’s latest show, at Bridal Couture Week in Karachi, featured a very unique collection – Dulha Bhatti – that was inspired by a character who hails from the Pindi Bhattiyan area. Has anyone even heard of it?
“I’ve crossed Pindi Bhattiyan hundreds of times and I didn’t know who Dulha Bhatti was,” Fahad laughed when I asked him a day after the show. “I love discovering things and I found out that there was a character called Dulha Bhatti and he had a fascinating story. I researched him and I wanted to construct a wearable version of his story. I showed wedding wear from the Dulha Bhatti collection at BCW and I’ll be taking the full collection to Doha Fashion Week. I will also be doing lawn on the same lines.”
Fahad opened Bridal Couture Week on Friday and set a pace that most designers would not be able to keep up with. His show ended with a segment devoted to Udaari, the drama serial featuring Urwa Hocane, and featured a small performance by Hadiqa Kiani as well. Urwa and Farhan Saeed were a BCW endorsement while Hadiqa had done the theme song. How important was celebrity association for fashion, I asked Fahad since it was the backbone of BCW.
“Celebrity association is not necessary for a design brand at all,” he replied. “People come to me for the quality of my clothes and nothing else. People who don’t get time with Bunto – because she has a waiting period of six months – come to me and that’s an honour. But I uphold the quality of my craft. Celebrities add to the value of a show, however, and help it reach out to the masses.”
Fahad did bring in celebrities, which is a pre-requisite of all shows at Bridal Couture Week, a platform that I have always felt is not very fashion forward. It may not be fashion forward, Fahad explained, but it does wonders for business.
“I did the first show in 2009 and we have a great relationship,” he elaborated. “BCW is really, really good with organization. Coordinating with them is easy. They listen to logical requests. They are great people to work with. My experience at least has been very good. This year they had an Indian choreographer, Ketan, who was very accommodating and was really good. He understood my design language and did the show seamlessly. There was no hassle.”
Word got around that there had been some hassle with two male models, who Fahad ended up kicking out of the show.
“I threw two models out because they didn’t turn up for rehearsals,” he confirmed, giving names off record. “I have come here to work not to take diva tantrums. The (female) models really respect me and they all help me. We have a great working relationship. But I can’t tolerate unprofessional behavior. People accuse me of being rude but I’m a Rajput and I’ve been brought up a certain way,” he added. “I can’t talk rubbish. Talk to me about work and intellect and ideas and I’m interested.”
It is for this reason that Fahad has limited the time he spends with the fashion industry, focusing more on his work and his career at BNU. He’s a teaching professor and says that’s a part of his life that he savors more. He’s even turned his Lahore studio into a research centre for his students where they come and discuss ideas and research.
“As a teacher at BNU I realized that there’s no liaison between fashion, education and the industry,” he explained.“Kids do not how to research so I gave them this space to come and work, think and create. And these kids teach me things too. This show would have been impossible if it hadn’t been for my students.”
Finally, I asked, was it possible for wedding wear to be fashion forward and evolve beyond most of what we see on the runways?
“Wedding wear does need to evolve in a more fashion savvy way,” he agreed.“Women focus on wearing heavier clothes but cotton ghagras are just as interesting. Women need to think beyond the typical. They need to concentrate on looking good and not be in a race to wear the heaviest outfit. Tap into heritage; try to have fun. Wear what you enjoy; weddings are supposed to be enjoyed. I’ve done dholkis on Pirate themes…it can be made interesting.”