Shamsha Hashwani taps into her Bengali heritage to make a runway debut in Dhaka and returns over the moon with how amazing the entire experience has been. And it wasn’t just any show: Shamsha was the only Pakistani designer to showcase her collection at Pond’s presents The Lustrous Runway, which was the sixth edition of Dhaka’s biggest fashion event of the year. She talks to Something Haute about the experience…
Tell us about your experience at PTLR?
Shamsha Hashwani: I had the best time in Dhaka. The people there were so friendly and accommodating, they really took care of everything. Karishma, one of the show organizers, really deserves all the praise. To the point that they even gave me a showstopper for my show, an Indian supermodel, Uday, who wore the famous Shamsha Hashwani shawl. They have never done two showstoppers before, this was the first time Pond’s had two showstoppers in one show.
What was the response from the audience?
SH: The response was spectacular. I didn’t realize that there was such a large market in Bangladesh that loves Pakistani fashion. Since the designers that go to Bangladesh are mostly Indian, it was a treat for them to have some Pakistani clothes also. We were not allowed to sell our collections, therefore we did not exhibit them to the audience after the show. Even then, there were so many inquiries about the prices and the outfits.
So you think Bangladesh is a good market for Pakistani designers?
SH: I think they still need some time and exposure to Pakistani designers but in a few years time, Bangladesh will be a strong market for Pakistani designers to tap into.
Tell us a little bit about your collection
SH: I showcased my Bahar collection, which as the name suggests, is based on Spring. So the collection, which comprised 11 outfits, had a lot of vibrancy and freshness. I used a bright colour palette, so there were lots of blues and reds and greens, which worked well because the Bangladeshi aesthetic is quite loud and bold.
Is that the main difference between Pakistani aesthetic and Bangladeshi aesthetic?
SH: The difference is that they enjoy bold and loud colours and they use different fabrics. For instance you’ll find a lot jamdani in their work and big motifs whereas in my work, even when I’m using loud colours, I’ll tone them down with softer, more subtle colours, and use fine embroidery and delicate motifs.
What inspiration can you take from the Bangladeshi aesthetic?
SH: I absolutely love the fabric they use, so I would love to match their fabric with our cuts because our cuts are so diverse while their fabric is so rich. And that fabric is only available in Bangladesh so I would love to bring it to Pakistan but amalgamate it with my styles.
by Manal Faheem Khan