Pakistani fashion has carved a niche in the global world of chic with trendsetters who also value their heritage.
Pakistani fashion has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years. What were once small boutiques are now internationally recognised fashion houses. Young designers are slowly but surely making their names on the international circuit as innovators who strive to maintain tradition.
Eastern fashion is without doubt a far cry from the couture and prêt-a-porter runways of the West. The framework within which Pakistani designers work is infinitely more stringent — traditional and cultural norms are not just embraced, but a requisite. However, the nation’s top designers celebrate time-honoured fashion by remodelling it for a modern consumer who is discerning enough to appreciate the superior artisanship of the garments.
There are a number of established designers who have become mainstays of the country’s fashion scene. These pioneers elevated the perception of fashion from just being a hobby to a business that has become a thriving part of the economy.
Leading the way
Bridal fashion has always been one of the leading sectors of the industry in Pakistan and, when it comes to the bridal trousseau, no one does it better than Bunto Kazmi. Founder of one of the oldest fashion houses in the country, Kazmi’s creations are an exquisite blend of Mughal fantasy and oriental dream — lavish enough to be exhibited in museums. However, Kazmi made it to the top without the aid of modern tools. The brand is never advertised or marketed and all the success comes from word of mouth.
If Kazmi is a cultural revivalist of Pakistani fashion, then Buntoshopping 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.