An amalgam of excitement, color, glitz and glamor, Day 3 at PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week was opened by Karachi based designer Yousaf Bashir Qureshi (YBQ). The show started with actress and model Aminah Sheikh walking down the middle of the ramp wearing a white dress while YBQ painted on the dress in a synchronized manner. Once the dress was complete, she walked into the audience. YBQ’s womenswear Prêt-à-porter collection for Fashion Week, which was entitled “Dust to Ashes – Ashes to Dust – the eternal hour glass of existence” was created in cottons and Georgette. The collection took inspiration from the philosophy that we come from dust and to dust we return, the cycle eternal, each rise reaching a crescendo before falling again; each fall giving way to a new life. In these rebirths and reinventions, life pens our story. Tales of boyhood adventures (when the dust flies) roll into adolescent musings (when it rages), into elations of manhood (when it starts to settle), middle aged dilemmas (when it flies again), the onset of wisdom till the ultimate claim of age – and the dust finally settles.
YBQ graduated as a food scientist and was part of the faculty at Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM), Los Angeles; Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), New York and in Pakistan at the prestigious Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in Karachi. He is also an accomplished photographer and the owner of the independent Commune Artists Colony – a space for artists, by artists. He has previously designed for Sheryl Crow and is also the proud recipient of several international awards including the Asian Designer of the Year Award, Coalition of Los Angeles Designers 2000 in the Creative category and Best Prêt Wear Designer Award in Milan for Trussardi, to name a few. YBQ recently opened the YBQ Concept Studio in Karachi and launched his first ever collection in Pakistan, entitled “Fresh Difficulties” to much acclaim. YBQ showcased both his menswear and womenswear entitled ‘Holey’ at the debut PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week, the inspiration for which was derived from both ‘Holy and Holi’, deriving concepts for good and evil.
Next to showcase was designer Omar Farooq with his label “Republic”. Republic’s menswear Prêt-à-porter collection for Fashion Week was entitled “Mediterranean Affair”. Inspired by France’s biggest star, Alain Delon of the sixties era, a diversity of fabrics such as linen, tropical wool, twill cotton and microfiber, with satin and suede trims were utilized. The collection consisted of slim fit suits, weekend double breasted jackets, polo blazers, pleated drop crotch cotton trousers and shirts that drape, complemented by brooches and cotton bow-ties. A renowned fashion designer who is also the official Spokesperson for the PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week, Hassan Sheheryar Yasin, walked the ramp for Republic. Talking about his label the designer said “Republic creates for the quintessential man, an extraordinary man, that demands to stand apart from the ordinary”.
Republic was founded in 2007 and launched in January of 2009. Founder, owner and creative director Omar Farooq has a degree in Management from Adelphi University, New York, U.S.A. He spent 2 years researching elemental designs for the urban man and innovating on them further to create signature cuts and styles. He has traveled extensively around the world to find the best fabric and stitching materials with the commitment of giving his customers global quality at local prices. Designing comes naturally to him as it is simply a passion. He defines his label’s signature style as chic and elegant, while also pointing out that Republic is never shy of taking risks and experimenting with the latest trends, as one never becomes a trend setter unless one is willing to set trends. Republic is a lifestyle for the urban man with a range of collections ranging from prêt-à-porter, formal, semi formal and informal wear with accessories to match. The label also has a huge clientele for custom-made sittings and recently launched their traditional designs division. The biggest accolade that Republic has received in its one year of operations in Lahore is the immense response from its clients that keep coming back to the store. After all, there is nothing like a confident man that wears Republic.
The closing for Day 3’s Act 1 was by Nayna who showcased her collection for Fashion Week entitled “Starry Starry Night”, inspired by the concept of making navy the new black. It was a cross-cultural collection that highlighted the ethnicity of the Kashmiri Pashmina using a diversity of fabrics such as pashmina, silks and chiffon. Talking about her label the designer said “Nayna designs clothes for the modern, strong women of today.”
Designer Saman Arif is the aesthetic force behind the Nayna label. Indeed, nearly three years after the brand first unveiled its collection at an exhibition in New York, Nayna was voted among the top ten designers in the country. In May 2005, Nayna launched its collection in Pakistan with an exclusive fashion show in Lahore; the show was in collaboration with Christian Dior, Tag Heuer and Fendi watches. It was the first time that the aforementioned super brands worked in partnership with a local brand. In 2006, Nayna was nominated by Indus Network at the Indus Style Awards as among the top four young upcoming designer labels. The same year, the fashion house entered into a partnership agreement with the United Nations World Food Program (UNWFP) – indeed a manifestation of the brand’s attitude towards fashion and social responsibility. In 2007, Nayna was shortlisted for the Young British Fashion Entrepreneur of the Year Award. In 2009, the label went global as the only designer in the country boasting of a franchise model for its international expansion plan, similar to that of international FMCG brands. Nayna now has franchise partners in California, Chicago, Washington D.C., Texas, Dubai, Leicester, London, Manchester and Toronto. Nayna showcased its formal collection, “Timeless Classics”, at the debut PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week.
After a short break, PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week’s Day 3 Act 2 was opened by designer Ali Xeeshan whose Fashion Week collection was entitled “The Phoenix”, the mythical bird of great beauty that lives 500 to 600 years and then burns itself on a funeral pyre, only to rise from the ashes reborn anew to live again. The inspiration behind this collection was the flower colored heritage and vintage dullness of the gold embellishments of the Kohli tribe in Sindh, one of the worst flood affected areas. A culture endangered, according to Ali Xeeshan, it is a clean canvas once again and through his collection he wished to revive the Kohli tribe’s colorful past into a brighter future, regaining its essence within a contemporary thought process. Renowned fashion designer Kamiar Rokni walked the ramp for Ali Xeeshan. Talking about his designs the designer said “My design philosophy is about working with conventional materials and using them to create unorthodox aesthetics and in that way creating a simple harmony between the traditional and the avant-garde.”
Ali Xeeshan is a graduate of the Pakistan Institute of Fashion Design (PIFD) and holds an honors degree in Couture and an award for the Best Collection at the institute. He takes inspiration and stimulation from within the Pakistani culture which the designer feels is still an untapped reserve of creativity. While predominantly a couturier focusing on formal and bridal wear, Ali has also diversified into a diffusion Prêt-à-porter line, a formal collection for men and a complete range of accessories. Ali’s signature style can be found in his use of unusual shades of color and high end luxurious fabrics merged with unconventional embellishment techniques in both traditional and contemporary cuts. Ali Xeeshan showcased his Couture collection “The Lost Romance” at the debut PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week in February 2010.
Next on the ramp was “Rano’s Heirlooms” with her Fashion Week womenswear collection entitled “Gold Brush”. Inspired by objects of beauty and timelessness the aim was for the created pieces to retain their glory even decades later. The entire collection was hand embroidered with intricate embroideries in tinsel, velvet and metallic yarn on a combination of georgettes and nets. Talking about her design philosophy the designer said “My work on embroideries does not come as my ability to embellish alone, but in attempting to achieve a look that tells a story.”
In an innate desire to preserve and reincarnate the dying breed of craftsmen, Rano created a whole range of soft furnishings and apparel, which was the beginning of her home furnishings line. Later, this also translated into clothes. The motifs used in her embroideries are pre-dominantly floral and foliates punctuated by some intriguing abstract figurations and mainly inspired by the exoticism of the East and the intricacy of European design traditions. It’s the combination of modern and traditional techniques of embroidery married to a contemporary look that creates a story board lending a mystical depth to the designer’s creations. In 1998, the label began officially marketing Rano’s Heirlooms designs. Rano was represented as a women entrepreneur at different exhibitions in Frankfurt, Iran and Moscow. Her private exhibition in New York was also covered by the New York Times in 2002. Rano’s intricate fabrics with embroideries were also exhibited in Sotheby’s as Portuguese influence on Mughal embroidery.
Third was designer Fahad Hussayn with his Fashion Week menswear and womenswear collection entitled “Rock Rudali” which was an amalgamation of glam rock and the songs of Thar mourning. An all-white collection with accents of colour highlighted by exotic flairs and draping contains the signature Fahad Hussayn design ethos. Where the traditional motifs of Thar will transformed into glam rock, the collection had a trendy silhouette, unique cuts and something for everyone. Talking about his collection the designer said “Fahad Hussayn Couture specialises in providing its clients with an exotic experience of made to perfection clothes; the philosophy being pure grandeur and immaculate constructions.”
With a Bachelors degree in Textiles from the Beaconhouse National University in Lahore, Fahad Hussayn has been an underground designer for over 5 years. In 2007, he opened his atelier and is now successfully stocking his Prêt-à-porter collections in stores all over the country and internationally in India and Dubai. Fahad Hussayn has been nominated twice at the Lux Style Awards in 2008 and in 2009 for Emerging Talent and Menswear Designer categories, respectively.
Day 2’s finale was headlined by the The House of Kamiar Rokni’s womenswear Prêt-à-porter Spring/Summer 2011 collection entitled “Folkistan”. Inspired by Pakistan’s various folk crafts and cultural influences, “Folkistan” painted a portrait of women all over Pakistan, celebrating rural motifs and crafts with a contemporary twist. The fabrics used were all local with traditional checks and stripes in cotton, khaadi and sussi and were embellished in thread work inspired by folk appliqués of regional materials. Long dresses were accompanied by shift dresses and a diversity of pants inspired by cargo and harem pants. Talking about their label the designer duo said “We at Kamiar Rokni have always been inspired by our own traditions, folk culture and this theme seems more relevant now than ever before.”