Forget the catwalks of London, Paris and Milan. This year, there’s only one fashion event making history: the first Islamabad fashion week.
Pakistan’s capital was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons recently after the governor of the Punjab province was shot dead three weeks ago. But Islamabad is determined to put that sad event behind it.
”Islamabad fashion week will change the way people think of Pakistan,” said Kamran Sani, a director of the company behind the four-day extravaganza. ”There is a bright side to Pakistan, which is modern, secular and upwardly progressive. No one bothers to see that side – they see the Taliban, bomb blasts, floods, poverty.”
As would be expected, security is tight. The venue, the Serena, a luxury hotel, will be cordoned off and surrounded by guards. Guests are strictly by invitation, including fashion journalists from France, Russia, Ukraine and Switzerland.
Mr Sani said he had done what he could to ensure the safety of designers, models and guests. ”The rest is all in Allah’s hands,” he said.
British-based fashion writer Nazma Noor said: ”People forget there are a lot of very rich Pakistani people who are incredibly fashion-forward. In terms of Asian fashion, the UK is always behind Pakistan.”
Whether or not traditionalist mullahs will be up in arms over models strutting their stuff on a catwalk remains to be seen.
But the fashion industry is defiant. ”There’s definitely a lot of uncertainty in the air and a war between [the mullahs] and us,” said Andleeb Rana Farhan, editor of Pakistani fashion monthly Xpoze