Fashion in the face of target killings

Pakistani's have turned to loud and gaudy fashion in order to mentally escape the violence around them.

Taneeya Hasan September 10, 2011

The escapist mentality that is emerging in our films and television programmes has finally reached the fashion world. The return of boho-chic, more commonly known as hippie fashion, seems like an effort by the fashion world to bring levity back into our closets and eventually, lives.

Charlie’s Angels inspired wide-leg pants and jumpsuits, leather vests and suede suits with soft fringes in brown are reminiscent of a time when Muhammad Ali was the king sureemi-god of Lollywood and rodeo shows were wildly popular in the west. From busy prints bubbling with vibrant flowers and psychedelic motifs, to an array of cowboy-feel leather accessories, hippie fashion is becoming the new ‘pedestrian cool’ in the contemporary world.

Who knew that the cult that started in the colonies of Goa in 1960s chanting ‘Hari Krishna Hari Rama’ and explicitly professing to live a life of carefree indulgence would turn into a kind of ideology that would be followed by many, decades down the line.

Where fashion runaways are lauded with floor-grazing gowns and flairs, people have also noticed designers like Sadaf Malattere’s collections still revolve around bold, contrasting colours and norm defying designs. Malattere’s collection, showcased in Pakistan Fashion Week 2010, embodies the carelessness and frivolity of the hippie culture. Even accessory shops like ‘Accessorize’ display jewellery and bags that celebrate the loudness and the gaudiness of life. With neon colours and hints of gold, ‘hippie’ accessories are shiny enough to smart one’s eyes.

What’s more significant than the fashion wave is the deep-seated cultural shift brimming in the heart of a bustling world. People are running towards the exaggerated elements in life (made evident by gown-like cuts and excessive embellishments preferred by women in contemporary times) to elude the grotesqueness of reality.

From the target killing cases to the squads who go overboard in ‘defending’ their case and end up killing innocent citizens, Pakistan’s politics is without a doubt at its ugly best. And in such times of extreme desensitisation can you really blame people like me to distract ourselves with festivities and celebrate the uniqueness of fashion?

I think not.

Taneeya Hasan The author is a sub-editor for the Life and Style pages at Express Tribune
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.