Pakistan Fashion: women entrepreneurs, amazing styles and the Tokyo angle (part 1)
Umair Ahmed Siddiqui and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Pakistan is blessed with a rich culture and this country provides wide opportunities for the people of this nation to have a variety of styles in the field of fashion. Therefore, when you look all around Pakistan you will see many stunning colors and styles. This applies to bangles, mehendi (traditional type of tattoo work), jewelry, bags, and an abundance of different types of traditional dresses. Therefore, this enables fashion designers to fuse aspects of this richness when creating something new to suit the modern lady throughout the world.
In recent times we can say that today’s fashion in Pakistan belongs to the upcoming youth designers who are more bold and daring. Given this, you have many young entrepreneur designers who are reaching out internally and externally. Also, it is great that female designers are showing a positive image of Pakistan and highlighting a side which is being ignored in the mass media.
Therefore, in this article the focus is on Sabeen Waqar of the brand called “Jalebi,” her sister Maheen Waqar who focuses on the jewelry angle, and Kulsoom Rizvi who is the owner of the brand called “Kaaf.” Each individual lady is sophisticated, stylish, and elegant, and they are highlighting the vibrant spirit of fashion in Pakistan. Also, these entrepreneurs are showing the world that behind all the negative headlines you have a different Pakistan which is confident, international, and independent in spirit.
Clothes in Pakistan are being highly stylized by modern and upcoming designers and trend setters. This is the reason for the growing popularity of designers in Pakistan and the unique vibes coming from within the culture is being fused within the fashion industry. Not surprisingly, fashion companies in the western world and designers can see this “fresh Pakistan wave” and increasing attention is being focused on the fashion industry in this nation.
If we look at the “Korean wave” in K-pop and notice the pulling power of the Japanese market then it is feasible that “a Pakistan fashion wave” could also reach the streets of Tokyo, Kobe, Osaka, and other leading cities. Also, the rich traditions of Japan and Pakistan could fuse a different style and commercial aspects of both nations need to understand that both countries have much to offer.
Crème de la crème fashion companies target the Japanese market and walking around the trendy areas of Aoyama, Omotesando, Harajuku, and throughout the Tokyo fashion scene, you will see a plethora of European boutiques. The same applies to all major cities in Japan and the buzzing districts of Osaka in places like Umeda is a fine example. This applies to many crème de la crème boutiques from Europe and North America which blend naturally with boutiques from Japan.
Returning to the fashion designers in this article then the first focus will be on Kulsoom Rizvi and her brand Kaaf. Kulsoom Rizvi is an extremely beautiful lady and richly talented and clearly this can be seen by her stunning designs. Her company Kaaf became established in August 2011 and currently this sophisticated lady is in her third year at the Asian Institute of Fashion Design, whereby Kulsoom Rizvi is studying Textile Designing.
The background of Kulsoom Rizvi is very fascinating because despite her young years her experience is extremely powerful This applies to working with leading designers in Pakistan and this includes Nomi Ansari, Sonya Battla, Vaneeza Ahmed and textile giant Gul-Ahmed who recognized her creativity and abundant talents – therefore he printed her stylish designs in 2009 with regards to the winter collection.
Her main source of inspiration has been her sister in law Amna Asghar Nawab who is the Regional Manager of Khaadi in the United Arab Emirates. Her brand Kaaf includes apparel, upholstery and accessories, therefore, Kaaf caters for a broad spectrum and at all times you can feel and see the vibes of this talented lady. Kulsoom Rizvi is most recognized for her vibrant choice of colors, rhythmic designs, and enchanting styles. Also, one consistent element in her designs has been the peacock, which is the symbol of pride and beauty and clearly her designs and “self” applies to “pride and beauty” because of her creativity and elegance.
Kaaf is a company which is in its infancy but this charming lady is showing the vibrant spirit of the younger generation in Pakistan. Therefore, Kulsoom Rizvi is clearly a young lady of substance and her confidence and elegance is based on the new spirit emerging in this nation. Recently her collection was exhibited in Karachi and clearly fashion lovers were amazed by the talents of this 21 year old lady.
Kaaf is in growing demand because Kulsoom Rizvi understands the market and the need to find new angles in this competitive field. The first objective for Kaaf is to expand within Pakistan and then to reach out globally and clearly the potential of this lady is enormous. Also, from the point of view of fashion in Tokyo, Osaka, and throughout Japan, it is essential that new fashion hubs emerge in other nations because this will lead to new fusions, ideas, and expand cultural ties.
Sabeen Waqar of the brand called Jalebi is another lady who is passionate about fashion and clearly her motivation is extremely high and this is matched by her creativity and sophistication. Her sister Maheen Waqar is also extremely talented and focuses on the jewelry angle of Jalebi. Therefore, these two sisters are highlighting the growing strength of female designers and business individuals in Pakistan who are challenging the status quo and this angle needs to be shown to the international community.
The basic concept behind Jalebi and the main purpose of launching this brand is their passion for fashion alongside their love for recycling, making hand-made jewelry which is arty, and designing affordable fashion. These intriguing aspects have all been met with style, elegance, and “a spirit of freshness” which is extremely attractive.
Currently Jalebi is being stocked at several places but in time both sisters desire to expand and to show people their unique ideas and creativity. Jalebi focuses on vivacious colors, chewy textures, flirty feminine cuts and other important aspects of their charming fashion designs.
Jalebi commented that “Our main message to the world is to re-use what they call garbage and convert it into astonishing arty products, or just come and buy our products and contribute in saving the planet.” This angle will certainly go down well on the streets of Tokyo, Osaka, and Kobe, and throughout the world.
In time Jalebi will further the recycling angle into new areas of the company but for now both sisters have high hopes for the future. These ambitions deserve to be rewarded because both sisters are sophisticated and they are part of a new international generation which is fusing business alongside strong ethics related to the environment. More important, from a fashion point of view, these ladies from Pakistan have so much to offer the fashion world because of their creativity, vibes, and their passion for focusing on new styles and relating this to the environment.
It is hoped that in the future that the fashion scene in Pakistan will reach the streets of Ginza (Tokyo), Harajuku (Tokyo), Namba (Osaka), Omotesando (Tokyo), Umeda (Osaka), and throughout Japan. After all, the European and North American fashion scene is thriving in Japan and of course the same applies to stunning Japanese boutiques. Therefore, one day in the future it is hoped that the younger generation in Pakistan will make their mark in Japan and throughout the world.
Kulsoom Rizvi can be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org
Sabeen Waqar can be contacted email@example.com
Thanks to Ms. Zara for photography
Umair Ahmed Siddiqui runs his own design studio called “CARTEL Design Studio” and provides valued consultancy information to important domestic and international companies. Also, in publication & writing he is the Foreign Correspondent for the Korean Textile Newspaper(www.ktnews.com) where you can find his publication on every Thursday. Also, he is writing for a Korean Fashion Magazine called Fashion Clue. Recently, he joinedModern Tokyo Times and his knowledge is in high demand because of his unique vision.
He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org