KARACHI: Pakistanis from all walks of life are wearing their patriotism with pride as Independence Day arrives. Children sing anthems and songs in school, and the media brings back memories of the past by playing ‘qaumi naghmas’ over again. Green, undoubtedly, is the colour of the day.
While many limit the celebrations to a flag on the car, balcony or a badge, some fashionistas like to make fashion statements on August 14.
Mahin Hussain, who has been designing funky accessories for over a decade now, has recently launched a special line called the Azadi collection for these very shoppers.
“The Azadi collection is very personal to me. It’s an effort on my part to bring forth a more positive image of Pakistan by infusing our nation’s history into the design philosophy,” says Hussain. For the designer, this collection stands for identity, freedom and strength.
This is the fourth time that Hussain has introduced an Independence Day special collection and she ensures that this, particularly, stands out from her previous creations.
“I am introducing this very special piece called the ‘Flag from Sindh’. It’s a hand embroidered wallet made by the rural women of Sindh, mainly Larkana,” she elaborates.
“Hand embroideries are appreciated all over and I think it’s about time we learn to give importance to the skill sets of our people and women in particular.” Hussain adds, “For the very first time, I am promoting these women from rural backgrounds. As a privileged woman, it is my duty to empower the less privileged since they are critical for the development of our society.”
However, rural women are not the only ones who have contributed in the making of Hussain’s Azadi collection. Hussain also hired Urdu calligraphists, struggling in an era of technological innovation, for inspiring quotes that will be seen on ‘himmat’ totes and iPad covers. On a whole, the collection includes three designs for totes, two designs each for iPad covers, pouches and wallets, and a single laptop case.
Apart from her hand-embroidered and calligraphic creations, some of her pieces offer outright messages to the customers. For example, one of her wallets has Quaid-e-Azam’s face on it with the quote, “Failure is unknown to me,” and another has Begum Noor Jehan’s portrait with the label ‘Azadi 1947’.
As far as the material is concerned, Hussain says, “The Azadi collection is primarily canvas-based with hand and screen printing. The colours depict the essence of being a Pakistani, in shades of green contrasting with hints of bright pink, turquoise and orange.”
Hussain explains that while all of her August 14 collections have been mainly about Pakistan, the messages keep changing. Her sequined flag clutch, which she launched back in 2011, is her most popular design till date since Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy carried it to the Oscars. “It’s a proud moment for me that my design has gained recognition and popularity. Orders started pouring in even before the launch of the Azadi Collection,” she claims.
The collection is available at The House of Ensemble in Karachi, FP Lounge in Lahore and L’atelier in Islamabad and ranges from Rs2,000 to Rs4,000.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2013.
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