Pakistan on the Runway

 align=This November, in a country dubbed “The Most Dangerous Nation in the World” by Newsweek , a group of high profile citizens and entrepreneurs met for a grand affair. The security was extremely tight and media was documenting every detail of the event. Amidst political instability and fears of terror attacks, the event participants were well equipped with blow dryers, hairspray, thread, and needles— to take care of any emergency.

The Pakistan Fashion Design Council held its second Fashion Week in Karachi from Nov. 10 to Nov. 13. (See the fashion here). The four-day affair exhibited the works of 24 well-established and budding designers for the Spring/Summer 2011 season. The designer looks were presented by local models on a long stretch of a simple white runway, which could have easily been mistaken for one of the coveted runways in Paris. The designers drew inspiration from a variety of themes, ranging from New York City to Kosem Sultan.

The flavor of the shows was a blend of both local and international with leggy models strutting down the runway in leather boots and a mini dress embroidered with ethnic prints, or gracefully showcasing long chiffon gowns. Pakistani designers have always had the added responsibility of catering to the international market, not just to increase their own profit but to promote a softer image of Pakistan. Local artists and entrepreneurs often feel the burden of managing Pakistan’s image in the global media, to show that Pakistan is more than just a safe haven for terrorists or a nation of religious fanatics.

According to the PFDC Facebook page, the Council will soon work with the French fashion federation, the Federation Francaise Pret-a-Porter du Feminin, and the Pakistani designers will showcase their collection in January 2011 for the Pret-a-Porter show in Paris. It is reported that the PFDC French advisor, Alexandra Senes, has already expressed her appreciation for the designs and has “fallen in love with Pakistan.”

Although the second day of the fashion week was marked by anxiety and news of cancellation because of a bomb blast that killed scores of people and sent tremors throughout the city, the organizers made sure that the show went on.

The fashion week also raised funds for the victims of the recent deadly floods in Pakistan. The first day wrapped up with a special show titled “Fashion Gives Back” where the designer looks from the show were sold at discounted prices at an exhibition to collect funds for the cause.

A joint effort of PFDC and Make-A-Wish foundation also made the wish of a young thalassemia patient come true when she walked down the runway in a designer outfit with other models. The fashion week drew to a close with thank you notes, rounds of applause, and a promise to come back next year.

The efforts of the Council may not make the global headlines with as much fanfare as news of Pakistan’s instability often does, but hopefully they will resonate more than an ear-splitting bomb blast.

By Alnas Zia, Aslan Media Contributor
*Photo Credit: Wikimedia

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