Models present creations by designer HEM at the Fashion Pakistan Week (FPW) Winter Festive 2016, in Karachi on October 31, 2016. Photo: Agence France-Presse

Pakistan’s fashion industry has seen its fair share of highs and lows. The lows are mostly due to the conservative mindset in the country whereby fashion is viewed as an indecent import from the West. Yet despite a largely negative reaction to fashion in the majority-Islamic country, the fashion industry, although quite small, has kept growing stronger over the years.

This was all due to the efforts of the people involved in the fashion industry. There are award programs such as the Lux Style Awards and Hum Awards, fashion shows like the PFDC Fashion Walk held by the Pakistan Fashion and Design Council and sponsored by Sunsilk, and model-hunt shows like Veet Miss Super Model, among other things.

Pakistan’s fashion industry has also gotten international attention and is viewed as a promising market. This was noted last year by the members of an Italian delegation who were invited for a discussion at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. At the same event Aasia Saail Khan, a renowned fashion designer, said: “We have to promote our fashion industry and embroidery sector to secure an important place in the international market.”

Despite the hurdles, there is a feeling among new fashion designers that the Pakistani fashion industry is in safe hands. Annus Abrar is one such example who has made his presence felt not just in Pakistan but internationally as well.

Abrar runs a Karachi-based design studio that has remained popular since 2012 and focuses on not just one style but on multiple designs. Being able to design outfits in a range of categories is quite a skill among today’s Pakistani fashion designers. The Annus Abrar studio is known for its Luxury Pret, Festive and Bridal collections.

Modeling is an important aspect of the fashion industry. Without it, Pakistan’s fashion industry would be dull. Aneesa Sharif is an important addition to the country’s modeling fraternity. With a degree in cosmetology as well as teaching experience in the UK, Sharif has removed the stereotype that modeling is a lazy career and that one who is not able to enter another field goes toward modeling.

Sharif was named the “Best Female Model” at the Music and Media Awards in 2016. Another of her contributions to the country’s fashion industry is her clothing brand, Niya. Modeling has such an impact on Pakistani society that models such as Eman Suleman and Rehmat Ajmal use their star status to raise awareness regarding different social causes.

An important addition to Pakistan’s fashion industry is not only clothes, jewelry or makeup but fragrances as well. Female entrepreneurs like Ayesha Ziya, who is known for her luxury perfume brand that is popular in Pakistan, the UK and the United Arab Emirates, is an important part of the fragrance fraternity. Seeing the value and benefit the fragrance industry brings, Pakistani television host and anchor Waseem Badami also has a perfume collection, as does retired Pakistani cricket player Wasim Akram, as well as the late musician turned religious scholar Junaid Jamshed.

Pakistan’s fashion industry has come a long way, and it is only expected to flourish in the coming years. With the support that it is currently receiving from the people already involved in the industry, the future does seem optimistic. However, it is also important for the Pakistani government and international markets to invest in this country’s industry so that it can rise to further heights.

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