HSY completes two decades in fashion

Hassan Shehryar Yasin has arguably become one of the key players in Pakistan’s growing industry.

Hassan Shehryar Yasin has arguably become one of the key players in Pakistan’s growing industry. PHOTO: ATHER SHAHZAD


He always seems larger than life, theatrical and even egotistical, but Hassan Shehryar Yasin is very different from what you would expect from a self-styled Couture King.

As anyone who’s ever worked with him will tell you, Yasin is hard-working, professional, driven and surprisingly down-to-earth. His label HSY is one of Pakistan’s premier fashion brands, and is also one of the brands most favoured by expat Pakistanis. He is one of the top choreographers of fashion shows in the country and his backstage management has made him the choreographer of choice for every fashion week in the country. Not content with that, he runs an event management company and is the Pakistani brand ambassador for international brands such as ToyWatch, Ponds and Porsche. His brand HSY has also formed cross-collaborations with local brands such as Stoneage, Bareezé and YOCA.

This sort of success doesn’t come without a great deal of hard work. “It’s difficult to explain the incredible amount of effort that we all put in for those few moments on the ramp. From the conceptualization, to the music, to the rehearsal — we all put in hours and hours of hard work. It’s great to see the end result, but the level of exhaustion is intense,” said Yasin, speaking about the efforts put in while organising fashion shows.

Yasin’s drive is unsurprising given his background. As a child of a single parent, Yasin always worked from a young age. Although he hails from a family of politicians, Yasin’s mother made great sacrifices to keep him, holding down up to four jobs at a time. Yasin himself was planning a career in law when he met with a car accident and lost his sight at the age of 18. However, he miraculously regained his sight and his outlook towards life changed. A chance visit to a fashion show convinced him that this was what he wanted to do. He convinced designer Nilofer Shahid into letting him choreograph a show for her, and he has never looked back since.

From the beginning, Yasin has maintained a very professional setup. Even in his early days, he was known for keeping an assistant to note order details, liaise with clients and follow up on production. As his reputation and set-up grew, so did his team.

“I have always treated my work like a proper business. My mother was very insistent on this when I chose fashion as a career — she did not want me to go into fashion in the way bored housewives and failed lawyers would do. On her advice, I went to fashion school and ever since, I have run my label along the most professional lines possible, including the manufacturing and quality control aspects,” said Yasin.

There is a perception that since Yasin has a design team, not all of his designs are actually his own. He is glad of getting a chance to clarify. “I have a team to assist me but all the designs are my own. I am absolutely passionate about design. No matter where I am or what I am doing, I will be conceptualising outfits and sketching. I can be inspired by anything — a specific colour I see somewhere or a henna design on someone’s hand.

I give my team precise instructions and while they may execute my vision, I am particular about maintaining control of the design aspect.”

Yasin’s team members tend to stay with him for between three to six years. If they want to move on, or even set up on their own, he is always encouraging. He has been a mentor to many former staff members, including Meesha Shafi, Zara Shahjahan and Deena Rehman.

Yasin explains he started this year with his collection named Venom, inspired by snakeskin, because snakes shed their skin and are rejuvenated. Yasin is treating this anniversary year as a new lease of life. He is opening his first ever retail outlet, H by HSY, at the Galleria Mall in Lahore. The store will stock a distinct line of its own, rather than diluting the line at the studio, which will continue to offer couture and bespoke outfits. With two floors for women and one for men, H by HSY will stock mainly evening wear, as cottons are really not part of the repertoire of the luxury brand.

Yasin is also about to start filming a TV show, which will be a chat show with a difference. Given Yasin’s talent for putting a unique twist on everything he touches, we expect an entertaining experience. With 20 years under his belt, Yasin is not about to slow down any time soon. Here’s to the next 20 years.

Oxford-grad Salima Feerasta is a social commentator and lover of style in any form or fashion. She blogs at karachista.com and tweets

Published in The Express Tribune, March 3rd, 2014.

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Indiansniffer | 10 years ago | Reply

Would love to get a whiff sniff of Salima Fareesta

Happy | 10 years ago | Reply


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