Style 101: Arbaqan Haider Changezi

Arbaqan Haider Changezi talks all things fashion

March 14, 2022

From getting inspired by his mother’s unique fashion sense to getting a degree in fashion, Arbaqan Haider Changezi, lives and breathes fashion. He knows how to create unique combinations of clothes, accessories, and makeup, that can help the protagonists stand out from the crowd. Changezi wears multiple hats of a personal and brand image consultant, celebrity stylist and model. He notes that his career has been a journey with many lessons learned, attesting that nothing comes easy.

How do you determine a designer’s or model’s personal style? And how do you incorporate both in a shoot?

It is quite easy to pick a designer’s style by going through their portfolio and designs whilst judging a model’s personal style requires careful articulation. While working for a designer, I always like to have a conversation with them about what their vision is before giving my input for styling. I pull out references and mood boards or sometimes work on a theme to create the kind of imagery that resonates with both the brand ethos and the person wearing it. The most important part of styling is to make the subject stand out while curating a look that doesn’t wear her/him.

Where would you search for clothes? And how would you source rare items?

It largely depends on what I am looking for really. It can be anywhere from luxury designers, high street brands or even custom made garments. For me, it always drops down to how it fits. A piece of clothing can be the most beautiful thing on earth but if it doesn’t fit right, it would look horrible. I think I like going through archives of designers who are my friends (luckily) because they always generously let me pick anything! We also have a number of local artisans and so much craft that comes through them. I like investing in things that hold meaning rather than running behind labels. Rare items can be sourced from local bazaars even so there’s no one place!

What would you do if a client/ designer/ model insisted on styling with an ill-fitting item?

Nothing bothers me more than a badly tailored garment! Designers and brands book the team for their shoots in advance knowing fully well who’s going to wear their clothes. The least they can do is make them to their sizes even if they can’t take time out for trials but in case that doesn’t happen, I try to save the day with my needle, thread, scissors and safety pins!

How would you describe your fashion styling genre in three words?

I think I would describe my style as classic, effortless and ever-evolving.

Which current trends would you incorporate in your clothing selections?

I would love a hint of holographic/chromatica! In my future work, you will see more laid back and effortless styling!

For people on a fairly limited budget, which clothing items do you suggest they don’t skimp on?

I think you should invest in a pair of blue and black jeans, basic tops that can be amped up with accessories or layers. A watch and a blazer that fits well.

What are generally the best and most flattering fabrics to go for, especially in summer?

I love linen and Egyptian cotton for summer! Anything that’s airy and flowy works great!

What clothing items or styles do you think the planet is better off without?

I abhor the huge Balenciaga sneakers, never got the hype.

Amongst all the projects you’ve worked on as a model or a stylist, which one is close to your heart?

I’ve worked on so many campaigns and projects that it’s kind of difficult to choose one! I think some of my earliest work with MNR and Cross Stitch’s 2020 lawn campaign with Syra Yousuf.

In the industry, whose work do you admire most/ who do you see as inspiration?

I love my peers, they’ve literally paved the way for us and I can’t be thankful enough for them. Locally I admire Rehan Bashir, Mehek Saeed, Yasser Dar and Fahad Hussayn.

What lessons have you learned in the industry as a stylist and as a model?

It’s a tough place to survive because it’s still in an evolving phase. We still lack so much structure and accountability which leaves me disappointed but I am hopeful because we’re going towards a positive change. I have definitely learnt a lot of patience and being on my toes while on set!

Who would you love to collaborate with for a project?

Deepika Padukone, Madhuri Dixit, locally I would love to style Meera Jee! I absolutely love her!

What is the one accomplishment you are most proud of?

I think I am proud of the fact that I chose my own path and succeeded in it defying all odds. I didn’t have a lot of people to look up to growing up so I would be glad if someone looks up to me. I am glad I have become the person my child self would look up to.

Three things no one knows about you?

I can speak five languages, I cook really well and I learned how to drive by myself.


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