Fashion Pakistan Week (FPW) is set to return by month end and it’s safe to say that with each passing season, the platform is becoming stronger and more streamlined. Two years ago, the change of guard in the administration of Fashion Pakistan Council (FPC), with Sanam Chaudhri assuming the mantle of chairperson and Wardha Saleem taking charge as CEO, helped solidify the platform. As FPW promises to return with a new and improved ‘Winter Festive’ show, we talk to the dazzling designer duo about how FPC is where it is today.
“We’re all young designers who are now running the council and it has been an enlightening experience for all of us,” says Chaudhri, who along with Saleem took over the reins of the FPC from Spring/Summer 2013. “We have learned the ropes of the job and the idea is to keep streamlining the show so that it becomes tighter with every passing season,” she adds. The two have also helped pave the way for a greater number of designers to showcase their works.
As is the case with many organisations, being led by young professionals meant gaining the trust of designers and sponsors would take time. “There were a lot of trust issues between the designers and it took a year to address their concerns and ensure that the platform works consistently,” Chaudhri says. “Now, however, the game has changed as we have on board many designers from Lahore, who want to show with us. Coveted names from Karachi have also been consistently featuring in our fashion weeks.”
Bearing in mind the prevailing security cauldron in Karachi, hosting an event of great magnitude is a feat on its own. But the council has been steadfast in its holistic approach to showing the latest Pakistani fashion has to offer. “Our aim has always been for the council to be solely about fashion and not just about a single personality. With younger board members, this has been easier to do,” notes Saleem.
The board members share that although there has been a shift in tutelage, Deepak Perwani, Maheen Khan and Shamaeel Ansari have been consistently present for guidance and support. “Deepak is our spokesperson and all three of them have been there as our mentors throughout,” says Saleem. “It helps now that we have a proper structure and can tighten up the content.”
With ‘Winter Festive’, FPW will not just focus on bridals but also everything else customers look for in the upcoming season. The showcase, dated November 28 to 30, is expected to be more star-studded than before with a string of celebrity showstoppers and a stronger line-up of designers. The concept of weddings in Pakistan has changed over the course of time and while the core events still stand, accompanying parties and soirees have also been added to the mix, calling for a well-rounded wardrobe. “What has us excited the most is that while some designers will show their bridal collections, others will showcase luxury prêt that can be worn to parties,” states Chaudhri.
This season, designers such as Elán and Shehla Chatoor are gearing up to show their lines at FPW, with the former brand planning on presenting its luxury prêt range. “There has been an exchange of designers as designers from Lahore, who are looking to expand to the Karachi market, will showcase their works to establish a stronghold in the city,” says Saleem.
On the relationship between Karachi’s FPC and the Lahore-based Pakistan Fashion Design Council, Chaudhri explains, “Both have shared a very good working relationship, whereby we’ve worked together on issues that affect the fashion industry on the whole.” She further says, “When the Punjab Revenue Authority scandal broke out, both the councils worked together to smoothen things over because at the end of the day, it’s all about the designers and promoting fashion in our country.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 12th, 2015.