Pakistan’s first transgender designer launches luxury pret wear

Despite multiple hurdles, Maya Zaman has proved she’s not cut from the same cloth as most 24-year-olds

Sehrish Wasif August 14, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Despite being disowned by her family, Maya Zaman did not let the negative attitude of society shatter her dreams of becoming a designer.

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As a transgender, Zaman has faced numerous hurdles all her life. But she’s finally seeing her ambitions materialise in her first-ever luxury pret line ‘Surkhaabi.’

“I am finding it hard to believe that my own clothing line is being launched,” she told The Express Tribune. “Everyone who underestimated me, including my very own family, ultimately led me to where and who I am today.”


Sharing her feelings about the launch, Zaman recalled the time she left her home at the tender age of 17 and shifted to Islamabad from Karachi. “The time I moved to Islamabad was a time of transition for me. It was a big challenge to find a suitable, a secure shelter for myself. You see, because I am a trans-woman, I wasn’t accepted in male or female hostels,” said the budding fashionista, who is also a Trans rights activist now.

Soon, Zaman found a place to live with others of her community and took up admission in a business course at a private university. Unfortunately, that didn’t last long as she fell prey to ridicule from those studying with her. “That was also a tough time for me as I completely lost my self-belief and confidence. For a long time, I felt being a transgender in Pakistani society was a curse; something to be shameful for.”


But Zaman realised she couldn’t let society get the better of her. She resumed her BBA degree a year and half later, following it up with a diploma in fashion designing. It was here that she met a housewife by the name of Fouzia. The latter is now Zaman’s partner and the duo exhibited ‘Surkhaabi’ on Monday.

Together, Zaman and Fouzia hope to create something unique that builds confidence in women. “It is basically a newly-formed partnership of cisgendered and transgender women. The unique thing about Surkhaabi is that it’s for women of all ages and sizes. The idea behind it is to promote body positivity and diversity and discourage body shaming,” shared the 24-year-old.


The brand also employs a team of dedicated transgenders looking after graphic designing, stitching, exhibiting and photographing the pret wear. According to Zaman, the brand ambassador will also be transgender. “This is a moment of pride for the transgender community, which is proving that they will not be left behind,” she said. “All we need is acceptance, opportunity and trust.”

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Asked about the meaning behind ‘Surkhaabi,’ Zaman shared that the name represents the delicacy, elegance, freedom and uniqueness of the women of Pakistan. “Fashion is not about being perfect. It’s about having fun and loving yourself,” she concluded.

Have something to add to the story? Share in the comments below.


Nazneen | 5 years ago | Reply Great Zaman. Good work. Keep going. Atleast you are the first person who has designed something for all ages and sizes. Where can I get to see and buy your pret suits in Rwp/isld.
PakistaniSindhi | 5 years ago | Reply Best of luck to your endeavor.
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