While it’s still too soon for Nida Azwer to paint an accurate picture of life as Fashion Pakistan Council’s newly elected CEO, one can still sense an uplifting and optimistic feeling of enthusiasm in her.
“It’s a lot of fun at the moment actually,” giggles Azwer happily over a telephonic conversation with Instep. She is truly excited about this opportunity that has come her way. “I’m working with some really great people so I’m really looking forward to all of this coming together.”
What has been Azwer’s first serious responsibility so far? “As the CEO, it’s my job to look over everything in general but I know that it can become a bit overwhelming for one person to do all the work. That’s why I have divided people into different groups in an attempt to make things more streamlined and organized. Everyone has been delegated their task from now; I just want the show to run as smoothly as possible.”
Azwer seems to have a very hands on approach towards her role as CEO. Did she have to overcome any challenges? “I sort of walked in and said ‘okay guys, tell me where are we, what needs to be done and let’s move forward.’ Also some people have been on the board before so that’s great help and support.”
What everyone is truly waiting for is fashion week’s line-up as most major designers have already showcased at PFDC L’Oreal Paris Fashion week. “I can’t reveal the line-up yet as that will be released a little later, but I can tell you some of the names. I’m showcasing, as I always do. Then we have Misha Lakhani and Sana Yasir from Suffuse, to name a few.”
We know, without Nida telling us, that Shehla Chatoor will also be showing as will Board Members Nauman Arfeen and Aamna Aqeel. One would expect to see Deepak Perwani and Maheen Khan’s high street label, Gulabo, as the two seniors have also taken responsibilities in the council.
However, two of the biggest names of Pakistan’s fashion industry opted out from showcasing at fashion weeks at all: Khadijah Shah and Faraz Manan will both be doing solo shows this year. Does Azwer think that this trend will affect fashion weeks in anyway? “I don’t think one or two solo shows can be called a trend because solo shows have been done before and have always been around. I remember doing solo shows myself when nobody else was doing them. It’s just that they happen less frequently because they are a little costly.” Azwer also maintains that fashion weeks have their own role and purpose. “They bring the business of fashion together on one platform.”
Considering that PLBW just concluded last month and FPW will be showcasing between October 30 and November 1, does it make sense to have another fashion week this early? “It doesn’t matter at all because your general pool of designers is different. In case there are designers showcasing in both then they have sufficient teams to help them prepare.” But does it become tiring for the buyers? “Not at all. Buyers want to see everybody’s work. In fact, every designer has their own clientele and they are eagerly waiting to see their collection.”
Azwer is well informed about the industry and seems very relaxed when it comes to fulfilling the daunting task that lies ahead. “I know when people first come in, they have many visions and aspirations that they want to achieve. I’ve decided my goals and will talk about them only when I have achieved them. So far, the journey has been going really well. The rest I can do is simply hope for the best.”
We wish Nida Azwer the very best in what will undoubtedly be an uphill task. Let’s just hope that her tenure doesn’t end as unpleasantly as it did for the former Chairperson and CEO, Sanam Chaudhri and Wardha Saleem, respectively. Or actually, even most of the council heads before them.
This article was first published in Instep, 15th October 2016.