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INTERVIEW: Pakistani designers at London Fashion week
Lights, camera, catwalk! Yes, it’s that time of year again when fashionistas from all over the globe flock to the capital for the latest in high fashion and a sneak peak at next season’s must-have’s.
With London Fashion week around the corner all the big names from Jasper Conran to Mulberry and Vivienne Westwood are preparing to hit the runway with their most recent handiwork. But, this is no ordinary fashion week. It comes with an exciting eastern twist.
For the first time ever, Pakistani designers will grace the catwalk with their enchanting creations at Pakistan Fashion week – a unique three day extravaganza – in Kensington, London, taking place from 23rd - 25th September 2011.
Pakistan is no stranger to high fashion with annual shows being held in both Karachi and Lahore, showcasing the country’s finest creative talent. Now, London will play host to the innovative work of 22 Pakistani designers, including the multi brand designer Maysoon.
A leading manufacturer and retailer of women’s garments in Pakistan, Maysoon has stores in both Manchester and London.
For Maysoon’s creative director, Sheikh Kaleem Farooq Ahmed, having London as the backdrop for showcasing his designs is the perfect opportunity to celebrate Pakistani culture with the British Asian community, who he believes do not fully appreciate their ancestral roots when it comes to fashion.
“British Asians are living in times where life has become so busy and artificial that they hardly find time to look around them,” he said. “The younger generation is drifting apart from their traditions and many are confused whether to follow the culture of the society they live in or the culture of their ancestors.”
Maysoon’s designs evoke enthusiasm for Pakistani fashion with a diverse range of attire from classic bridal gowns, chic party wear and quirky casual outfits – clothes that embrace both the heritage of the homeland and the modern look of the western world.
Sheikh Kaleem claims that Maysoon’s clothing offers styles to suit the apparel needs of all the fashion –savvy Asian Brits.
He said: “The heritage behind our designs and clothes is an amalgamation of the dresses worn by the ancient Persians and Mughal empire who have left their impression on the people and culture of Pakistan.
“They [younger generation] don’t have to be ashamed of their own culture because our designs capture the best of both worlds.”
Studying fashion design at the London School of Arts gave Sheikh Kaleem the poise to explore and experiment with women’s fashion.
He draws inspiration from the confident modern day woman, a perspective that has helped to boast the fashion status of Maysoon.
“Fashion today is not dictated to women - the modern, confident woman chooses what she wears,” said Sheikh Kaleem. “I genuinely believe that today’s women have the confidence to wear any colour no matter how wild and conflicting.”
Maysoon’s cutting-edge designs continue to empower women all over Pakistan, a place where high fashion is traditionally exclusive to the elite.
“Our goal is to make fashion accessible to everyone,” said Sheikh Kaleem. “Fashion is an outlet for creativity, a tool of cultural production and the means by which cultural differences find peaceful voices.”
Maysoon Couture – the new line by Sheikh Kaleem and Shayane Malik – encompasses minimalist, clean, trendy and modern designs tuned with the latest international styles.
“These designs represent every mood of the contemporary woman – the clothes elevate her and convey her every whim to the rest of the world,” adds Sheikh Kaleem.
“She is beautiful, loving, wild, aware and most importantly confident.”