If Kazmi is a cultural revivalist of Pakistani fashion, then Faiza Samee’s creations are a celebration of ethnicity and traditional techniques. Samee says her foray into fashion started with the discovery that traditional embroidery techniques were slowly disappearing. Her search for vintage fabrics turned into a chic phenomenon to keep the ancient tradition alive. Known for her use of bright jewelled hues and exquisite embroidery, Samee manages to strike a fine balance that makes her designs attractive to the modern consumer.
On the other end of the fashion spectrum is Rizwan Beyg, fashion’s quiet revolutionary whose background in architecture changed his perception of the human form. Beyg’s signature look has been the use of pastels — a move he puts down to his fascination with the whimsical. He also renewed interest in the common salwar kameez by launching his own line of printed voile and cotton fabric thereby allowing fashion to reach the masses.
Changing face of fashion
International recognition came when he was asked to design traditional attire for the late Princess Diana during her visit to Pakistan in 1996. The result was an elegant ivory ensemble that practically became a signature collection that made his name a globally recognised brand.
Men’s wear was never a major fashion segment in Pakistan until Amir Adnan came along and changed shopping habits forever. Adnan’s label originated in Faisalabad, the textile capital of the nation. Despite the reams of fabric being produced in the city, he was quick to notice a lack of creativity there.
His observation led him to begin with a self-named label that has since turned into one of the largest design houses in Pakistan with an international presence that sees stores as far away as the American West Coast. Adnan’s business background has helped turn a simple idea into a retail behemoth. His label is one of the few to boast an international clientele and online sales.
Not just a businessman, Adnan has also won design accolades and the privilege of dressing the likes of President Pervez Musharraf, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan.
But a new breed of fashion designers is coming up fast. Armed with fashion degrees and marketing savvy that translates into brilliant business acumen, these designers have decided to make a mark on the global scene like never before. The catch phrase in world fashion is prêt-a-porter and this clan of new Pakistani designers wishes to capture a sizeable share of this viable retail market.
Nomi Ansari is one of the new kids on the fashion block. A graduate of the Pakistan School of Fashion Design, Ansari has rapidly established his style in the six years since his graduation.
With sumptuous designs that celebrate the human form while mixing traditional motifs with edgy cuts, his style defines the super-glamorous market segment. Mixing marketing smarts with innate talent, Ansari has stormed the fashion scene with shows, covers and awards that are setting new standards for the market.
Fellow Pakistan School of Fashion Design graduate Hassan Shereyar Yasin is the name on every fashionista’s lips.
His label HSY is also a household name that is currently on magazine covers, in television and has a fashion-conscious clientele. Starting with bridal wear, HSY has since expanded into ready-to-wear, fusion couture and more recently a jewellery collection. Next on the cards is HSY Living line of furniture, interior accessories and soft furnishing. As his profile so aptly puts it, HSY is not just a label, it is a lifestyle. So is Pakistani fashion.
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