Even though having a conservative society, Pakistan has never been lacking
of fashion since its origin. Every era brought its peculiar exclusive elegances
and designs appropriate for that period both for women and men. But this style
and designs have only circled around the traditional dress, shalwar kameez with
dupatta for women and impartial shalwar kameez for men. Fashion designers don’t
have adequate scope to make many variants with the predictable pair of shalwar
kameez. So the restraint is that they have to maintain a certain clothing form
and contour for the customers taste.
Fashion in Pakistan can merely be pinioned down to one case, of being deeply
affected by the Mughal traditions in the sub-continental period. Talking about
1800-1900, gold and silver ivory threaded robes were twirled, harmonized with
Salim Shahi shoe baptized after Queen Nur Jehan’s husband. As the region
later came under the rule of the British, both, the Mughal and the British Kingdom
were the major inspirations on the fashion in this region. While the men
sported discreet cut, thin trouser with classic trenches, the women busied
themselves with lacing zardosi thread onto mid-riff bearing, garnered top with a
voluminous ankle length ghagra choli, which supposed cultural complexity of
Rajistani/Gujrati women of 1872.
Later, this costume was also exhibited by the distinguished Fatima
Jinnah. For the extended period of interval, Pakistani fashion was conquered by
ornaments that exemplified ethnic charm. Angrakhaas worn by Rajisthani men on
festivities persuaded its way into women’s attire harmonizing with Kundan
accessories and peculiar coloured mathapatti. Self-embellished kotis, duchesse decorated
bodice with elusive kamdani thread-work and kaleidoscopic crochet were also in style.
In many traditions though, Pakistani fashion and the exponential upswing in its
industry cannot be viewed in separation from the political unrest and disturbances.
Over the years of different governments, fashion proved to be a form of entertainment
for the masses. Pakistani cinema was on it’s peak in the sixties, and the common
people enjoyed the shamrock and rose decorated bodices and tunics overwhelmed
in sequins. There was also a extending trend of short poppy accented shirts
paired with choridaars and heels. With the space of time, Pakistan made an
interesting 360 degree turn in fashion.
There was a abrupt roar and surprises designers, like Sehyr Saigol,
Maheen Khan, Bunto Kazmi, Faiza Samee, Nilofer Shahid, Rizwan Beyg, Shamaeel
Ansari, Sana Safinaz, Amir Adnan and Body Focus Museum took the centre stage
with their wonder and enthusiastic outlines. This was when art dribbled into
the absolute body-skimming layers of a floor length gown that riffed amorously
as one strolled. Extravagant head gears, billowing dramatic versions and complex
glasswork bodices were used to represent the poetic naivety and fraught
emotions. But along with that, there was also a rise in rich jewel coloured bridal
goods, which howled with sensuality and yet engaged an aura of legacy. It was
also during this period, when the deeply British-impacted men, abandoned the
trousers for the national suit. This transformed the men’s clothing in the
Pakistani fashion industry. And from thereon, more and more designers took up
the veil of making the masses test their trust in designer’s tailored faith.
They conscientiously paired together waistcoat, achkan and sherwani with the
shalwar kameez or with churidar pajama, to generate Pakistan’s national appearance.
Moreover, ‘Teejays’ also took up the responsibility of carrying Bhutto’s awami
suit into the lime light. It carried forward tasteful modifying and classical
silhouettes in shalwar kameez which alleged stylishness in its very twist and
weft. Traditionally and artistically, rich fashion was on the upswing, with a reasonable
stake of credit being apportioned to the Pakistani media, film industry and
print media which played the major role in encouraging fashion industry in
In the early 60’s, ‘SHE’, Pakistan’s first women’s fashion and lifestyle
magazine initiate its publication, nearly followed by ‘Women’s Own’, and
hardline magazines like ‘Herald’ which started issuing fashion linked stories.
Newspapers also started to cover fashion in special complements like ‘Instep’
and ‘Images.’ Till date, severe security situations appear to steer Pakistan’s
fashion industry which is thriving, despite all probabilities. Alongside expert
designers, newcomers have also come into the field to produce their aesthetical
intelligences to not just revive but also induce upcoming trends. Be it the
colour palate, the fabric, the texture or the design, they are engaged together
into a designer’s principal craftsmanship. The unconventional collections
and/or theatrical fashion presentation envisage the upcoming trends, and
perfectly exhibit the intellect lay in a designer’s clever layering of colour
and prints. It can proudly be specified as a fact that, with new and foreign
investors viewing Pakistani soil as one that may come bearing fruits and
profits for their business venture, the fashion industry is surely on the correct
path to attain an extraordinary accomplishment internationally.