Maheen Khan at FPW
Regardless, with hardly any new designers entering the fray, Buntoshopping only a very small contingent is available to cater to these multiple shows. And this motley crew has its hands full with lawn, bridal orders and the challenging quest to churn out bonafide design.
Predictably, we’ve run into a ‘hunger games’ of sorts, where events are more likely to lose out than win. Designers are opting to take sides, choosing fashion shows that are organised by friends or that have lower participation fees or which are even offering coveted finale slots for free. Lahore’s fashion crème de la crème generally opts for the Pakistan Fashion Design Council’s well-established platform and this year will feature Sublime, Sania Maskatiya, Ali Xeeshan, Generation, Saira Shakira and luxury-pret by Sapphire as well as some of Karachi’s most famous, such as Sana Safinaz, Shamaeel Ansari and Khaadi Khaas.
Hum’s newly conceived Showcase is also hinting at a very prestigious line-up. With Rizwan Beyg at its helm and the channel pulling its clout, a show schedule is being formulated that boasts names such as Nomi Ansari, Zaheer Abbas, Omer Saeed, Fahad Hussayn, Sonya Battla and Faiza Samee. There’s also a chance that Bunto Kazmi, veritably the country’s most successful bridal couturier, will be taking to Showcase’s runway. This will particularly boost the event’s credibility given that Bunto is generally elusive and hardly ever takes part in fashion events.
With a large chunk of Karachi’s design fraternity opting for Showcase, the other Karachi-centric event, Fashion Pakistan Week (FPW), is bound to have trouble collating an interesting line-up, although an extensive segment on sustainable craft is being planned out, seeking to highlight Pakistan’s rich indigenous heritage. Fashion Pakistan Council(FPC) board members Deepak Perwani, Nida Azwer, Maheen Khan, Amna Aqeel and Nauman Arfeen are confirmed for the show so far. “We intend to work hard and focus on our work despite the fact that yes, this time, we have lesser designers to choose from,” says Maheen Khan, Vice-Chairperson of the FPC.
Nevertheless, the shows all intend to go on – and this is nothing particularly applaudable. One can expect the inevitable inclusion of mediocre work and repeat collections on fashion’s once-exclusive platform. The whole point of trendsetting fashion weeks runs the risk of getting lost. And Pakistani fashion, diligently built brick by brick over the past few years, gets set to crumble down towards the mostly generic, generally unimaginative and utterly boring.
Published in Dawn, Sunday Magazine, January 22nd, 2017