It has been a long and arduous summer and while last evening at Asad Tareen’s multi-brand store The Designers was no less steamy, it did inject some much missed fashion activity back into the daily drudgery of our lives in Karachi. Plus, the icy blended mint lemonades really saved the day.
The launch of Adnan Pardesy, Wardah Saleem, Mohsin Ali and Akif Mehmood amongst a few new labels at The Designers kicked off what we can hope will be a buzzing beginning of a new season for fashion. While all collections were geared towards Eid and therefore safe conventionality – they were nothing like the avant garde work we have witnessed on runways – they did propose an intelligent way of doing business. In Pakistan, where the fashion connoisseur and the average buyer are not one and the same person, ready to wear designers cannot simply get by by selling what they show. Runway collections therefore cut them critique while conventional, commercial collections will pump much needed finances back into their businesses. (The formula differs for couturiers).
Unlike a decade ago, fashion has now been segmented into age groups. Akif and Mohsin, young PIFD graduates who are blazing a new trail for fashion graduates in Pakistan, admitted that their clientele was very young – “we haven’t designed for women yet” – which is great since their sensibility is young and experimental. It’s high time teenagers in Pakistan stopped dressing like mini-mes of their mothers and grandmothers. Here’s to the youth!
The rules are changing even more. Unlike two decades ago when anyone with sound aesthetics and a hefty bank balance could step into fashion, the new generation of designers is all qualified which means they have a better and quicker understanding of components that make fashion tick: technical and conceptual strength and marketing/business/media skills.
Example Wardah Saleem, an Indus Valley textile graduate who is reviving beautiful block printing in fashion. And Zaheer Abbas, who makes AIFD proud, will be going to Paris for the Pret a Porter fair and while most of the seven designers underwent major tweakings and changes for the Parisian market (supervised by Alexandra Senes who was in Karachi as recently as last week), Zaheer admitted that his fashion week collection was accepted without any major alteration. “Alexandra said it was good to go, as is, with just minor changes on sleeve detailing,” he told me at The Designers.
(All pictures courtesy iPhone)