Pakistan Fashion Week


by Jai
6th February, 2010 at 4:21 pm    

Given the ongoing discussions about niqabs, burkhas and so on, along with some of the scaremongering caricatures of Muslims which are being promoted in some quarters, this may be a good time to mention Pakistan Fashion Week. It’s a major annual event involving Pakistani designers and high-end fashion shows in major cities such as Lahore and Karachi, where such fashion shows occur on a regular basis.

The most recent Pakistan Fashion Week was held last autumn, and was partly motivated by a deliberate decision on the part of the participants to defy the recent attempts of Islamist extremists & militants to “Talibanise” the country. Hopefully the information below should further challenge stereotypes about Muslims in that part of the world, at least where the more affluent and/or progressive sections of Pakistani society are concerned.

Along with the designers, all of the models are also Pakistani.

A short documentary segment by CNN:

And a slideshow by Time magazine.

Interested readers can find detailed articles about the event here and here.


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  1. Rumbold — on 6th February, 2010 at 5:58 pm  

    Nice piece Jai. It is good to see another side of Pakistan.

  2. Quantum_Singularity — on 7th February, 2010 at 8:59 pm  

    Not to sound like a downer, but most of the fashions here seem little more than cheap ripoffs of western outfits. I don’t think tube tops are exactly part of South Asian, let alone Pakistani,fashion. Nevertheless the effort should be applauded.

  3. sofia — on 8th February, 2010 at 12:02 pm  

    I really don’t see how pakistani fashion week defies stereotypes? why do we constantly define a country as one side or the other? Pakistan, like India is a mish mash of separate identities, languages and people. If anyone actually bothered to look past the headlines they’d see that there’s loads more than the taliban..no offence but you’d have to be stupid to think there is nothing else that pakistanis are interested in but the taliban..it’s like channel 4′s (lazy) Indian winter season…yup..all of india is a slum and all that comes out of indian cinema is happy clappy bollywood films…plz!

    “at least where the more affluent and/or progressive sections of Pakistani society are concerned” – Jai I didn’t quite get what you meant by this? Do you mean pakistan fashion week will change our perception of Pakistan by showing us what progressive sections of pakistani society are up to? How do you define ‘progressive’? the same ‘progressives’ that go to these fashion shows (with a driver) whilst the nanny/slave is looking after their sprogs at home and the cook is making tea….or the ‘progressives’ who flit in between Knightsbridge and Defence because progressive papa still thinks a western education is better… This does not challenge stereotypes because let’s face it, the type of morons that think pakistan is the taliban are not exactly going to see this and think ooh err..I got that all wrong didnt’ I?

  4. Jai — on 8th February, 2010 at 2:22 pm  

    I really don’t see how pakistani fashion week defies stereotypes? why do we constantly define a country as one side or the other? Pakistan, like India is a mish mash of separate identities, languages and people…..no offence but you’d have to be stupid to think there is nothing else that pakistanis are interested in but the taliban

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of people around who really do think that Pakistanis as a whole are comprised of certain negative stereotypes currently prevalent, especially in the cases of people who have little or no direct contact with Asians in general and Muslims in particular.

  5. platinum786 — on 9th February, 2010 at 10:10 am  

    Pakistan actually has two fashion weeks, one is Lahore based, the other Karachi based. Stupid really.

    I also agree with the sentiment Sofia projected. Fashion week and Taliban, two ends of a spectrum, it’s not fair to judge Pakistan like that, the same way it’s infair to judge India by Bollywood, Call centres and Slums.

    Someone raised a point about the fastion, true, it is very un-pakistani, which is a shame, as a lot of the material will not find it’s way onto the market. Most Pakistani people won’t dress like that. However a lot of the market will take inspiration from these designs. I think it’s just the nature of Fashion, how many people dress the same as catwalk models in London, Milan, New York or Paris? The catwalk simply inspires trends.

  6. damon — on 9th February, 2010 at 2:55 pm  

    The last words on that video were this:

    ”A chance for one elite segment of society to assert itself, to Pakistan and to the world.”

    So it’s got nothing to do much with the Pakistan that you will see just walking about outside the enclosed wealthy ”green zone” areas I guess.

  7. sayed — on 13th February, 2010 at 9:54 pm  

    I am from Pakistan and trust me teens are wearing this in major Pakistani cities, like Karachi (nyc of Pak), Lahore (Paris of Pak), and Islamabad (vienna of Pak). Pakistan today has an emerging middle class (around 22 percent as of now) and already a growing upper class.

    Also If you want to see rest of Pakistani designers, look at Maria B, Umar Sayeed, Hassan shahrya Yasin, Aamar Belal, and alot more.

    Two of the designers stunned the Milan Fashion Week and made the head of italian fashion council scream “bellisimo!!!” Due to such reaction, international media covered Pak fashion week.

  8. sunesra — on 3rd April, 2010 at 6:01 pm  

    well said answer
    i am also from pakistan and i know that all girls are wearing jeans,t-shirts.shirts etc but when i came to religious activities then they change there style.

  9. sunesra — on 3rd April, 2010 at 6:01 pm  

    well said answer
    i am from pakistan and i know that all girls are wearing jeans,t-shirts.shirts etc but when i came to religious activities then they change there style.

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