- Global Voices - https://globalvoices.org -

Rare, Live Glimpse into Pakistan's Progressive Fashion Industry

Categories: South Asia, Pakistan, Arts & Culture, Citizen Media, Good News, Ideas, Women & Gender

As religious violence and American drone strikes continue to plague Pakistan, the country's latest fashion week promises some respite from the turmoil.

Fashion Pakistan Week [1] is being live-streamed [2] on April 9-10, 2013 from Karachi and is showcasing lines by 27 Pakistani designers.

Unknown to most of the world, fashion plays a huge role in Pakistani life.

Pakistan's Fashion Weeks

Since 2009, Pakistan has hosted dozens of fashion weeks. [3] These ‘Fashion Weeks’ offer the world a rare glimpse into a blossoming and professional industry that illustrates cultural norms in Pakistan aren't as rigid or conservative as most believe.

This Spring/Summer 2013 edition of Fashion Pakistan Week will be followed by two more fashion events in April –  the Bridal Couture Week in Karachi which will focus on wedding wear and then Lahore will host another Fashion Week.

Global Voices interviewed three designers ahead of the event, who explained that despite their nation's circumstances, they are constantly innovating and creating:

Fashionably yours -Zari Faisal [4] from Faisal Kapadia [5] on Vimeo [6].

Fashionably yours – Hasina Khanani [7] from Faisal Kapadia [5] on Vimeo [6].

Fashionably yours – MONA IMRAN [8] from Faisal Kapadia [5] on Vimeo [6].

Designers are also coming up with high tech ways to reach their market. A great example is this E Store [9] which will be carrying these collections hours after they walk the ramp, for anyone to purchase locally or internationally.

Fashion Pakistan Week is set to break social media boundaries in the country, as well. Not only will the event be livestreamed, but fashion bloggers like Nida Moughal [10] and some Twitterati will be covering the event. The Internet is a big worry though; the whole region is plagued by broadband issues because two out of the four [11]submarine cables that link Pakistan to the web have been damaged.

Fashionistas Against Taliban

Security concerns and Taliban threats at the first Pakistan Fashion Week in 2009 [12] also marked the beginning of the Fashionistas Against Taliban [13] (#FAT) movement. The event pulled war correspondents from neighboring countries into Pakistan to cover fashion and has been the source of satire-loaded tweets [14], memes and this Facebook Group which has developed cult-like status [15] amongst the country's social media users.


Pakistani fashion designer Deepak Perwani. Image used with permission.

Sabahat Zakariya (@sabizak_ [16]) whose Twitter profile says she is a ‘reverse snob and tweeter about life’ remarks:

@sabizak_ [17] (Sabahat Zakariya): #FAT [18] “@tammyhaq [19]: Thank goodness for fashion week season. Back to back fashion weeks will provide some respite from all the election griping”

On more than one occasion though #FAT is poked a little bit for fun on Pakistani social media.

Mosharraf Zaidi (@mosharrafzaidi [20]) A recovering bureaucrat and columnist known for his dry wit quips:

@mosharrafzaidi [21] (Mosharraf Zaidi): That's so Taliban! RT @holland_tom [22]: “Fine dining and an obsession with fashion are marks of sickness in a state.” – Seneca. #FAT [18]

Investigative blogger and Twitter user Shahid Saeed (@shahidsaeed [23]) tweets a picture of a Pakistani politician who's known for sporting punk-like hair colour:

@shahidsaeed [24] (Shahid Saeed): Shireen Mazari’s hair be so #FAT [18] twitter.com/afi_alikhan/st… [25]

FPWcoverphoto2 (2)

Meme for Fashion Pakistan Week – used with permission

Samra Muslim (@samramuslim [26]), a self-described lover of shoes, marketing, and media tweeted about the social media hype surrounding Fashion Pakistan Week:

@samramuslim [27]: Looking forward to #FPW [28] now – strongly feel it will be a great #socialmedia [29] #casestudy [30] from #Pakistan [31]! Good luck @fashionpakistan [32] @dperwani [33]

Umair Mirza (@Umairmirza [34]) celebrated the fashion week joining the “digital age”:

@Umairmirza [35]: the most interactive #FPW [28] ever ! u'll feel like you are there at the venue ! thanks @fashionpakistan [32]. its a DIGITAL AGE love !

This event, which may offer a peek to a different side of Pakistan, will be available to watch here:


The author of this post Faisal Kapadia is managing the live streaming and social media of this event.