Pakistani designers put traditional foot forward in India

New Delhi, April 14: Fashion may be getting bolder in Pakistan with Western trends and cuts dominating the ramp, but it is traditional ethnic apparel that its designers are flaunting at the ongoing Pakistan Lifestyle Expo in the Indian capital.

“Pakistani fashion is undoubtedly experimenting a lot nowadays. But for the Lifestyle Expo, we deliberately chose to go for traditional clothes because we wanted to show our designs in the purest form,” Ayesha Ahmed Mansoor of the label Mausummery Lawn told IANS.

“Pakistan is known for its embroideries and surface texturisation and this will only look best on ethnic garments. We wanted India to see our best designs and remember it for days to come,” added the designer who is participating in the four-day event that started Thursday at the Pragati Maidan fairgrounds.

At the Pakistan Lifestyle Epo, 100 lifestyle companies and designers from across the border are participating.

Top Pakistani brands – Gul Ahmed, AlKaram, Hub Leather, Khaadi, Chen One – and designers Sahar Atif, Deepak Perwani, Kamiar Rokni, Faiza Samee, Maheen Khan and Rizwan Beyg are showcasing their collection, a mix of salwar-suits, palazzos, kurtis and accessories.

The price starts from Rs.950 and goes up to Rs.80,000.

For Asad Sajjad, managing director, Textile Links, Pakistani culture is still rooted in tradition.

“For us, the tradition is restricted to salwar-kameez. Yes, pants and shirts are worn as daily wear in both the countries, but for us, the real garment is traditional clothes,” Sajjad told IANS.

“In Pakistan, women wear salwar kameez because they are more comfortable in it and the designers also get a chance to play a lot with it. Our sequins, embroideries, handwork, motifs are flaunted more in traditional attire.”

Some designers say fashion-conscious women across the border are more on the heavier side and that is why Western garments are not so popular.

“We (Pakistani women) are more on the heavier side and this leaves little scope to experiment with different cuts. Western designs can only work best when a girl is blessed with an hourglass figure. Yes, we are blessed with beautiful faces and we can happily flaunt that,” said designer Noureen Khan.

“Pakistani designers are capable of making any kind of design, but when we are participating in an event in India, we have to bring our best designs. It’s not that all our clothes are traditional. If you know how to mix-n-match things, a simple suit can also look Western,” she added.

They have succeeded in wowing people with their innovative cuts and designs, with their clothes selling like hot cakes. On the first day itself, many stalls were sold out.

Fans however say a couple of Western silhouettes would have been appreciated.

Pernia Raizada, a fashion enthusiast, has come all the way from Mumbai to shop for Pakistani clothes. She said: “The designs are so refreshing that I want to buy all of them, but if that be the case, I will end up buying all the traditional attires.

“I wish there were a few Western designs in Pakistani fabric, especially in lawn (a fabric),” said Raizada.

Hema Rajpurani, 55, too raved about the cuts and designs on display, but she said some Western outfits would have wooed younger women.

“Pakistani design has its own aura and elegance that is irreplaceable. I am amazed to see no Western designs in any stall. Traditional attires are good for middle-aged women like us, but my young daughter wanted to buy a gown in Pakistani fabric, which unfortunately didn’t happen. She ended up buying an anarkali suit,” she said.

But it has not affected business.

Zeba Husain, director, Ensemble Pakistan, said: “Thursday was the first day and we were completely sold out. I loved the way Indian people welcomed us. Looking at the response, I am planning to participate in the Indian fashion week.”

(Nivedita Sharma can be contacted at nivedita.s@ians.in)

IANS