It’s a great time for fashion diplomacy in Pakistan; last week Kate Middleton and Prince William aced diplomatic dressing during their royal visit. The high-profile couple used their sartorial choices to show respect to the people and places they visited. Visiting Pakistan now is Italian designer Stella Jean, who is in Karachi to showcase her collection at the Fashion Pakistan Week Winter/Festive 2019.
Stella’s collection — Laboratory of Nations — incorporates design elements and embroidery styles that are native to the women of the mountainous regions of Chitral, Kalash and Hunza. It was earlier showcased at the Milan Fashion Week, making it a prime example of using fashion for cultural exchange and turning it into an effective tool of diplomacy.
In a recent interview on Geo TV, Stella Jean spoke about her collection, Laboratorio delle Nazioni and her experience of working with the talented Kalash women.
“The virtual laboratory is titled Laboratorio delle Nazioni [Laboratory of Nations] because women from the Kalash valley worked with my artisans from Italy to curate the range. They had to coordinate even they were thousands of miles away. I have to thank the Secretary of Commerce and the Advisor to the Prime Minister for Commerce. They helped a lot to build this bridge. It is an important step on the path of women empowerment,” Stella said.
“The perception I had before was very different so it was very useful to come here, because this experience changed my mind. I noticed that women in Pakistan are already empowered,” the designer commented.
The collection is an extraordinary example of human cooperation, where the traditional artisanal skills of Pakistan are merged with that of Italy, to create a connection of women who are thousands of miles apart but have one common goal; caring for and preserving an endangered global cultural heritage.
Stella Jean will open day two of Fashion Pakistan Week.