Truck and bus art are forms of poetic expression in Pakistan. Satirical poetry has become a way for the common man to articulate his inner reflections and rickshaw art is no different in this regard. Do not let the tiny exterior of the vehicle fool you into thinking that the driver’s inner bard is confined. Here are some of the witty quotes that rickshaw drivers paint on the back of the small motor vehicle:
‘Maalik ki gaadi, driver ka paseena, Chalti hai road par ban kar haseena’
‘Qismat aazma chuka, muqadar aazma raha hoon, Aik bewafa ki khatir rickshaw chala raha hoon’
While some may dismiss these verses as humourous anecdotes of the past, the evolution of these sayings often reflects the socio-economic and political climate of the country.
While rickshaw drivers festoon their vehicles with decorative verses, a young graduate from the Pakistan Institute of Fashion Design (PIFD) uses her clothes to embody some of these sayings. In designer Zoya Butt’s very first collection of kurtas, she uses unconventional designs such as cherries, embroidered cupcakes, moustaches, owls and rickshaws to name a few. Some of her outfits also bear embroidered verses such as, ‘much nahin tou kuch nahin’, the evergreen ‘dekh magar pyaar say’ and ‘touch but not too much’.
“I want to be a part of a revolutionary new fashion culture in Pakistan,” Butt tells The Express Tribune. “This exhibition serves as another piece going into that picture,” she says. “Each and every design that I have created for this exhibition is a tribute to a memory or an event that has inspired me to make these pieces.”
Butt explains that her rickshaw-inspired pieces come from an overtly frustrating rickshaw ride to Lahore’s Shahalmi Bazaar when she was on an excursion to find some fashion goodies. It seems that the designer selects the sayings to express her own feelings — and also the sentiments of her generation — as embroidery on her clothes. The verse ‘much nahin tay kuch nahin’ challenges the masculinity of the men around us.
While one can extract various meanings from the verses embroidered on Butt’s clothes, her collection is unique and the embroidery gives the clothes a different appeal. Butt found her passion for fashion very early, as she used the corridors of Lahore Grammar School as her runway. “Whether I start the journey from my obsession with Alexander McQueen’s catwalks to my internship days at the Kamiar Rokni den, the story has remained the same,” says Butt.
“The effort to dress up for classes even at an all girls school — where more time was spent socialising outside than in classes — and the tailoring and slaving days at PIFD, where more time was spent in classes than even in my own room, the pieces of my life have finally started to fit together into a picture that I almost recognise,” she says.
Butt’s collection is priced between Rs3,000 to Rs5,000 a piece.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2012.
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@natasha: i liked it
"TOUCH BUT NOT TOO MUCH??" & "DEKH MAGAR PYAAR SE" like seriously man?? And she calls herself a designer?? haha
So NOT artistic!
Wearing a cupcake shirt, what do you expect others to look at you and say? :/
Looks more like a kiddy summer camp project!
Not Something tempting and catchy !! Pretty Old ! better luck next time boi !! xx
Man, I HATE this stuff. It looks so tacky. Pakistani craftsmanship is about intricacy and detail. Not these in-your-face cartoons that look like some craft project a kid did.
Aren't these Kurtas too long for walking/ Knee length should be alright and smarter.
nothing new about the designs!!
Wow and How!!? Kudos to the great article! Finally something out of ordinary! Don’t know if maheen or any abc designer has tried to do this before but this certainly stands-out, love the catchy bright colours! Art on Rickshaws and trucks have always been a symbol of creative Pakistani Fashion Potential and promoting such, only softens our country’s image to the outside world. Collections like these only speak about the talented creativity, growing and glowing sense of Pakistani Fashion.
And she got the guts to call it creative work hu
What a lame attempt by someone calling themselves an artist/designer. Stealing others poetry and art is THEFT. Why can't our designers etc come up with something original. Why are they always copying others be it Indian, Western or as now Truck Art!
You can easily get these rickshaw motifs available at markets at karachi..at around Rs. 300-400 a piece..nothing so special abt them.
Ermm..this is not the first time truck/rickshaw art is being used on clothes. It's been on since the past decade or so beginning with Maheen Khan's line 'Gulabo' i believe. Nothing extraordinary about this line of clothing.
Lets hope you don't get any more ideas as such
wah! wah!! wah!!! What a poetry . . . ;-)