The daily grind: Maliha Rehman

Fashion and lifestyle journalist Maliha Rehman tells us about the time-pressed world of fashion

April 24, 2016

Fashion and lifestyle journalist Maliha Rehman tells us about the time-pressed world of fashion during its busiest season — Fashion Pakistan Week


I am usually dead to the world at this point, having stayed up till late writing my review of the show I had seen that night.


I wake up to a blaring alarm clock and rush to rouse my two girls for school. I may have had a late night but that doesn’t spare me from fumbling through the girls’ daily routine. A quick breakfast, some minor emergency or the other — invariably a book goes missing or milk is spilt onto a uniform — and they are off. I plop back to sleep as soon as they leave.


Time to wake up again. A strong shot of coffee, coupled with a light breakfast, is essential to get the brain cells moving.


I head out to the gym for a bit of cardio, some stretches and a good, long jog on the treadmill. My daily gym routine also involves catching up with my best friend since school, who luckily continues to live in my city and goes to the same gym as me!


My daily review, written the night before, has been revolving in my head and I keep remembering additions and deletions that I need to make. There are still a good two hours before my deadline and it’s time to get down to work. Fashion Week reviews are fun to write but sometimes also involve a great deal of detail. I keep referring to short notes, scrawled during the show, as well as the umpteen photographs I clicked with my phone.


Still fine-tuning my story, adding in the nitty-gritties and deleting some vile critique that I had written in my sleep-deprived state that now, in the light of day, seems too harsh. Any fashion week showcase —  no matter how bad —  requires effort and considerable expense on the designer’s part. One has to respect that while simultaneously, honestly nailing down flaws.


Time to wrap up the story. There’s a meet-and-greet lunch being hosted by the Fashion Council that is essential to attend. Before anything else, though, I have to rush out to pick my girls from school.


We reach home, after wading our way through crazed traffic in Karachi’s sweltering heat. I rush off to get ready. There’s no time for a fresh blow-dry so I’ll have to make do with the one I got last night. Before I leave, I make sure that my cellphone is fully charged.


I reach the lunch. I thought I was late — the invite said that it would begin at 2pm — but people are still drifting in. That’s typical, by the way. I search around for my friends — journalists, bloggers and many of the designers — and we get down to lunch and some good old-fashioned gossip. We also constantly take photographs, quickly loading them onto social media.


I am still at the lunch but it’s about time to head out. There is the Fashion Week to attend at night but prior to that, a grueling session with my girls’ homework.


Homework’s still underway. I grab a hot cup of tea, figure out some complicated algebra and leave quickly for my 30-minute, express blow-dry at Nabila’s.


I always choose my Fashion Pakistan Week wardrobe and accessories beforehand to speed things up. I begin getting ready and charge my cell-phone. I say good-bye to the girls. I’ll be seeing them the next morning. My husband is in charge of babysitting during these three frenetic days.


Wading through the traffic. I can see the Fashion Pakistan Week venue, a local five-star hotel, a mere street away, but there’s no way I’ll be able to cross the road in my high heels.


I finally reach the venue and it turns out that I am not late at all. Apparently, some political VIP is supposed to be coming which, rather than build excitement, only makes the front row moan and groan.


Fashion Pakistan Week, day two begins! Time to scrawl notes, click pictures and load them onto the Internet in the time between shows.


Lo and behold, my trusted cellphone has typically run out of battery. I have forgotten to bring my portable charger but luckily some of my frower buddies are well equipped.


Day two wraps up and I am famished. A friend and I decide to have dinner at a restaurant within the hotel itself.


My husband picks me from the venue and we head back home. The girls have gone to sleep but the day isn’t over for me yet. I want to pen a few of my thoughts before I am done. The laptop and I have a long night ahead. My comments are fresh in my mind right now and I want to at least have a rough draft ready, to be fine-tuned in the morning.


I am still writing and quite awake now, thanks to the cola I’ve been guzzling down.


Very sleepy. I call it a night. Another haywire day awaits tomorrow: the school run early in the morning, a final edit of my story and of course, Fashion Pakistan Week, day three.

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