The industry is in a constant state of influx with new designers pouring in. It’s as simple as tailors in your basement, a team of fashion graduates (optional) and a photoshoot to proliferate on all social media but this doesn’t mean they’ll all sustain. Many brands may get to enjoy their five seconds of fame but it takes more than a quick fix shoot or social media coverage to sustain a business. One must have a unique selling point to keep the clientele coming back. Otherwise, those pictures recede into the back of your mind as fast as you can tug your thumb to refresh Instagram.
One such hopeful, who is determined to show his mettle, is Hussain Rehar – a young Pakistan Institute of Fashion Design (PIFD) graduate who made fashion enthusiasts sit up and take notice with his social media presence i.e. the shoots he launched his brand with. His two debut collections, A Vivid Delusion and Athleisure left a strong impression for their styling and imagery. One could immediately tell that this is a designer who goes to painstaking lengths to visualize, create and execute. We also noticed his creations at the recently commenced Fashion Pakistan Week ’17 red carpet on a handful of fashion bloggers and IT girls. A conversation later, at his newly opened studio in Lahore, we are certain that he’s one to watch.
Having moved from Gujranwala to Lahore to study and live the big fashion dream, Rehar counts making it here amongst his blessings. We wondered about his thesis at PIFD that surprisingly didn’t qualify for the Bank Alfalah Rising Talent showcase that gives four students the chance to show at fashion week with industry bigwigs.
“My thesis was inspired by the fantasy stories that my sister used to tell me, along with childhood memories about her. She told me a story about a fantasy land and its goddess and I imagined my sister as that goddess because she raised me and protected me. She’s very important to me,” he smiles.
What are the criteria then for selection at PFDC every year, we wondered out loud? We’ve sat through some very average thesis collections and surely Rehar’s had merit.
“It all depends on the faculty. I got good marks from the jury that included Kamiar Rokni, Andleeb Rana and Mohsin Ali, and they praised me a lot but it didn’t happen. Very unexpected people are selected and very strong thesis people are rejected and mediocre ones are picked up,” he states. Considering that Rehar has a design background it seemed relevant to inquire if his education had prepared him well for professional life or not.
“PIFD is a major driving force behind my career but they can only teach you the technicalities, the creativity and what you do with it is all yours.”
Right out of university, he got the chance to work under Khadijah Shah of Elan and (then) Sapphire. He worked full time at both as a menswear designer, learning the tricks of the trade from arguably the best. He shared that this was a dream come true.
“I always wanted to work with Elan because it’s the biggest brand in Pakistan. She (Shah) is a tough boss but a good one and that’s what makes her successful. She’s an intelligent business woman and I’ve learnt so much from her,” he elaborates.
Our conversation turns to his aesthetic, about which he claims, “I always wanted to do something that was solely me and not in the market already. I was fed up with what designers in Pakistan were doing with prints. Nothing was identifiable as a particular designers’ and I wanted to break that monotony and bring my philosophy of fashion to the forefront. I love colours and want to use colour blocking and I feel that embellishments are my forte. I enjoy using different fabrics and techniques to get various surfaces to my work.”
Currently his studio in Gulberg, Lahore houses both his luxury pret collections and a bridal and wedding wear section that he hasn’t shot yet. With a year of experience in menswear at Elan and Sapphire, he shares that he wants to eventually expand and bring that to his eponymous label as well.
“I myself enjoy dressing up and doing something out of the box. There is still so much to be tapped into under menswear,” he states.
“Whenever I design something I imagine someone wearing it, their personality, how they’ll carry it and the imagery I want to portray,” he adds. It’s this understanding of not just his clothes but how they’ll make the person wearing them feel, is what makes Rehar a designer to watch out for.