Sparked by my father's recent visit to my technical homeland has brought a case of wonder into my mind. The last time I've visited Pakistan was maybe 10 years ago. A lot has changed since then. Malls and Costco like structures have risen up and share the urban landscape with bazaars and street vendors of the olden days. I find this juxtaposition quite intriguing, the mega marts and the poor cookware seller all mashed up into a hodgepodge of urbanites, ever ready to seize the fast paced bustle that each day in a country of almost 200 million can bring. However, as I have yet to experience this renaissance in Pakistani consumerism, I have to rely on what others and the internet tell me. And what they tell me is something very different then what is constantly being told to us about the country of Pakistan. That amongst all the violence, life for the ordinary citizen goes on. And when it goes on, it tries to push the boundaries of what is acceptable and what is considered art and fashionable at the moment.
My internet readings led me to images of Karachi Fashion Week which was held just this February 2010 in, well, Karachi, Pakistan. Prominent designers from Pakistan got to show case their designs, which were usually a fusion of eastern and western styles of dressing. I love how they were able to incorporate Pakistani embroidery and many of the designers used Pakistani textiles in their creation. One thing that I am certain of is that Pakistan has one of the world's largest and most exquisite textile industries. To this day I remember that each fabric store was littered with the most detailed and elegant fabrics I have ever seen in one place before.
Although couture is not really a word that is on the minds of many Pakistanis, Nilofer Shahid is changing all that. She owns the house of Meeras and was invited to show in Paris in 2005 during couture week. Below are two of her designs. The other beautiful and colourful gown is by Ramira or RMR collection. I love me a bit of colour.
I find Pakistani fashion to be politicized and many of the articles that I read detailed how men and women were designing despite the militant threat there. I'm not sure that this is true. Fashion in Pakistan has always been a lax sort of affair, with Westernized elements creeping into the modern attire in subtle ways.