PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week is the one consolidated platform that fashion looks forward to every year. It’s when designers have to (or are meant to) break away from their predispositions for bridal wear and put out ready to wear on the ramp. We see (or are meant to see) clothing that can be pulled off the ramp and worn to lunches, dinners and parties. We almost always do, except for the few designers that veer towards wedding wear for its likely commercial success. This year, designers who went down that bridal path were few and numbered and we saw some rather good collections emerge.
The Pakistan Fashion Design Council had made some changes in that they added a Craft Show, which replaced Bank Alfalah’s Rising Talent section and some structural changes to the show area were made. A runway too wide is one where the clothes aren’t visible and this was a problem the audience has encountered in the past. This year there were two new catwalks, one sleek long ‘X’ and the other was a black reflective central path – both definite improvements on last year.
The lineup this year had plenty of people talking about how PFDC regulars are absent. Truth be told, designers have consistently dropped out over the years to go solo or they have picked a different platform like the FPW. But taking their place was a host of newer designers who did not disappoint and added fresh energy into fashion week with their aesthetics and ideas. Their collections may not have been impeccable but there was definite potential there.
Debutants and other highs
Our top six (Hussain Rehar, Republic by Omer Farooq, Sania Maskatiya, Nida Azwer, Saira Shakira and Zonia Anwaar) are featured in the centerspread of this issue but there were fashionable moments for other collections as well. Starting with the debut designers – Hussain Rehar showed a collection that was built on his edgy aesthetic that he’s defined through his collections over the past year. Metal ring cut outs, stripes and neon colours juxtaposed against each other made Rehar’s collection stand out from the rest. Arjumand Bano had a collection that also stood out for its trendy cuts, silhouettes and embellishments on net. Hira Ali’s showcase centered around the ‘Woman Is Future’ slogan that was emblazoned across her shirts and dresses. Feminism is a theme that ran across PSFW, from day one at Hira Ali to the finale show by HSY.
Well timed, the two designers’ showcases came a couple of days after Women’s Day when the Aurat March took place in the major cities of the country. The progressive circles in the country were already buzzing with conversations on women’s empowerment so they quickly latched on to the dialogue already taking place. HSY’s Knight was dedicated to women’s rights and supported the idea that women should ‘Be their own knights’ and that they should be self sufficient. He had prominent career women give shoutouts and build hype for the show on social media. While the clothes may not have been the strongest part of it all, it was quintessential Sheru.
Designers Zonia Anwaar, Hamza Bokhari, Shahroz Tariq Khan and Akif Mahmood worked with craft techniques to create capsule lines. It left much to be desired because under the “crafts” of Pakistan we have a lot more than just embroidery and indigenous crafts like mirror work, block prints and gota could have been incorporated. As a collaboration with Gold by Reama Malik, the jewelry didn’t stand out on the clothes as much as her older collaboration worked on Wasim Khan’s plainer ensembles where the jewels could really take center stage.
The highlight of this segment was Jeem by Hamza Bokhari who introduced a transgender model to the runway, which was worth lauding. We heard through the grapevine that this idea wasn’t easy to get approved but the fact that it happened is a great step towards acceptance for different kinds of models in Pakistan. In the future, we hope to see different model body types (like plus size models) too on the ramp as we do abroad.
The long and short of models: where were the supers?
This year the models seemed taller and there were plenty of new faces. The older generation of models was mostly absent from the ramp on all three days. Amna Babar, Sadaf Kanwal, Anam Malik and Mehreen Syed (until the last day when she walked for HSY), were all conspicuously missing. It feels like a disconnect when earlier in the month Amna Babar won an LSA award for best model and Sadaf Kanwal won it the year before. We’re all for giving the new generation opportunities but why were those reigning at the top of the industry (and their careers) not around?
Rumour had it that many models were late or absent from rehearsals, which is why they were asked to leave. The other side of the story that one of the models told Instep on the basis of anonymity was: “Me, along with some other models were booked for the showcase but were informed last minute that our services are no longer required.”
“I was told that I’m too short to walk the ramp but there were much shorter models than me walking. PFDC is like family and we’ve been working together for so long so this is disrespectful.”