In my opinion, here’s what can be appreciated about KFW…
1. The platform is sticking by its word on being regular on the calendar. KFW is a follow up to IFW (Islamabad Fashion Week) that was held in January earlier this year. Both KFW and IFW fall under Arshad Siddiqui’s newly found Pakistan Fashion Council.
2. The runway, thanks to CEO Tariq Amin’s refined aesthetic, was impressive.
3. KFW shows started on time, with negligible twenty minute delays. The days wrapped up, quite wonderfully for PST, around 10pm.
4. As part of a larger picture, KFW is a launch pad for new or undiscovered designers, designers that may or may not make it to the country’s more credible PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week that has a strict selection process. At KFW they are able to familiarize themselves with the drill of showing at a fashion week, dealing with buyers and media and they undoubtedly will get mileage from the extensive coverage that KFW has already started getting in newspapers and TV channels. Some of them are actually showing for the first time while others like Nadya Mistry are showing in Karachi after a very long time. Exposure is good.
5. KFW, unlike other fashion weeks in Pakistan, is giving more than one stylist a chance to participate. And while I didn’t see how good or bad Annie of Allenora was, I was quite impressed by Mona J’s styling on Day Two. She did a very decent job and was widely appreciated by critics in the front rows. Four hair and makeup artists will get an opportunity to work during the four day KFW and that’s something to be appreciated.
6. The new pool of models garnered through a nationwide model hunt surely adds to faces to runway.
Here’s a bit about what’s wrong with it…
Barring the fact that ‘hip hip hurray’ we have something other than death and dengue on the news networks, and ignoring for a moment that new names are getting a chance on this platform, KFW has yet to propose a purpose or a game plan. And any fashion week’s purpose needs to extend beyond the few advantages of the existence of Karachi Fashion Week.
1. Fashion weeks are organized by fashion councils to serve the fashion industry. Fashion Pakistan Council has no members from the fashion industry (designers, to be clear), therefore no significance. It does not match the standing of the Pakistan Fashion Design Council or the Fashion Pakistan when it was active.
2. Karachi Fashion Week organizers need to address serious issues like non-payment of dues. They need to pay service providers, like stylists, on time. Some hair and makeup artists involved in IFW still have not been paid and at least two stylists working on KFW have stated that they are investing more on equipment (wigs, eyelashes, make up) than what they are being paid. “I am doing it for the exposure and mileage as everyone else can’t seem to think beyond Sab’s,” one stylists said to me.
3. Professionalism: too many people have too many negative things to report on KFW: unpaid stylists, photographers that had been hired and booked for the event and then dropped without so much as a notification, lack of good designers (which doesn’t necessarily mean famous designers), absence of media facilities like wi-fi or business centres (editors were complaining about delays in official photograph distribution) and generally no facilitation for interaction between buyers and local media. No pressers, no press releases, no information whatsoever.
4. That’s just about logistics. KFW also saw an acute lack of oomph that is essential to the word fashion let alone fashion week. There were no red carpet highlights, no front row celebrities, no star power and therefore no buzz. The front row alone was dismal. Imagine that the scum of the fashion industry (that I wouldn’t even name in fear of polluting my page) was seated up front whereas journalists and young (good looking) designers like Sanam Chaudhri and Anam Mansuri for example, were made to move to the back. Refreshments came from sponsoring McDonald’s after comparisons and complaints were lodged re differential treatment (foreigners were being offered chai biscuits etc) otherwise it was altogether dry, without even a lounge let alone after-party to its credit.
5. The fashion at KFW was weak, which is the worst anyone can say about any fashion week.
6. The only advantage of showcasing foreign designers is to generate some hype and whet the audiences’ ‘foreigner-complex’. Otherwise there is no practical purpose of showing a designer that doesn’t retail in Pakistan (kills the purpose of facilitating trade). Oh but wait, that applies to many Pakistani designers showing too…
That’s it. Six pros against six cons. I’ve been fair. No one can accuse me of being partial, negative or unnecessarily bitchy. ‘Scary’ is the word they politely say to my face.