Fashion DNA: Pakistan is the British Council’s annual programme providing mentorship for emerging Pakistani fashion labels to develop the skills needed to work internationally. This year through a partnership with the Ethical Fashion Forum and SOURCE Consultancy, the programme focused on educating designers about sustainable and ethical approaches to fashion.
Building on the success of the first cycle in 2015-16, this year’s designers have participated in an eight-month-long intensive training programme, including face-to-face and online sessions, culminating in catwalk shows in the UK and Pakistan. Mentorship has focused on fashion business skills, sustainable and ethical production, branding and communications. The programme has shaped the development of a ready-to-wear capsule collection, with clear brand positioning, utilising the skills acquired. The capsule collections created by the six Pakistani designers will be shown for the first time at Fashion Scout during London Fashion Week A/W 2017 in a catwalk show styled by Rebekah Roy. The show offers an insight into the burgeoning fashion scene in Pakistan showcasing contemporary design, culture and textiles to the London Fashion Week audience. The designers will go on to show the collections locally in a catwalk hosted by programme partner Fashion Pakistan Week in Karachi.
Following an open call process, the designers were chosen by a panel of industry experts, including Martyn Roberts, Director of Fashion Scout; Rebekah Roy, fashion stylist; and Ayesha Mustafa, founder of ethical e-commerce site Fashion Compassion. Mentorship has been delivered by UK experts Toby Meadows, fashion business consultant and author of the international best-selling book How to Set Up and Run a Fashion Label; Carri Munden, stylist, creative director and founder of the cult label Cassette Playa; Safia Minney MBE, founder of People Tree; and Sury Bagenal, designer and sustainable fashion design consultant.
Fashion DNA: Pakistan 2016-17 Designer Profiles
Gulabo – ‘The Hippie Trail’
Gulabo was founded in Karachi in 2007 and has since become one of Pakistan’s most coveted and individual young brands. Gulabo’s signature graphic and technicolour prints, inspired by traditional Pakistani folk truck art, create their instantly recognisable design identity. The A/W 2017 collection was inspired by the hippy movement of the sixties and seventies and those travelling through the mountain trails of Pakistan. Gulabo recycled their fabric cuttings which were collected and given to local charities to make patchwork quilts.
JEEM – ‘Songs of my Nation’
HamzaBokhari, the designer behind JEEM graduated from the Pakistan Institute of Fashion Design in 2012, and has since become known for using traditional artisan techniques complemented by unique silhouettes, colours and detailing. ‘Songs of my Nation’ caters to women who do not follow fashion but embody it, women who appreciate art and have an eye for skilfully crafted pieces and modern tailoring.All pieces by JEEM have been crafted with a minimum of 96 hours of hand embellishments and all the fabrics have been ethically sourced.
Munib Nawaz – ‘Sci-piritual’
Munib Nawaz is a critically acclaimed fashion designer, innovator and creative. Specialising in men’s formal wear he is well known both as a creative and TV personality, and dresses some of the most stylish and modern men in Pakistan. The idea behind A/W 2017 was to infuse science into design. Key to the collection is the fabrications and processes – a handmade slub cotton tailored into a bomber jacket or over dyed soft denim shirting. Stand out pieces include a hand embroidered leather biker jacket and a tailored jacket constructed entirely from traditional “Rilli” patchwork.
The PinkTree Company – ‘Jahan (World), a world within a world’
The PinkTree Company is home to a definitive lifestyle and speaks to individuals who value quality and creativity. Starting with women’s fashion as its first product line, the brand caters to all wardrobe solutions from ready to wear to pret-a-couture. A/W 2017 is made up of emerald greens, peacock blues and sun kissed oranges silks and hand woven organza. Alongside delicate digitalised hand painted repeat prints, a gold metal thread embroidery technique called “Zardozi” has been used to embellish these garments. Forever inspired by literature, hand-written calligraphy has been translated into romantic embroidery, such as “Joon-am” which is Farsi for “love of my life”.
Sonya Battla – ‘WEAVE – Indigo Infusion’
Sonya Battla has become a mark of high-end fashion since she opened the doors to her boutique in 1999. Using and creating the highest quality fabrics, each collection claims a uniqueness of style, created by colour, innovation and experimental drape. Ethnic embroideries feature as details in the design whilst always keeping the silhouettes modern and free. Battla’s A/W 2017 collection was inspired by the Sufi shrines of Pakistan and the world of Sufism. Beach town, Karachi, also inspired the colour palette which includes beautiful blue tonal dyes and washes. Sonya’s collection uses locally sourced and hand woven fabrics, including hand woven ikat.
Zuria Dor – ‘Tropical Romanticism’
Zuria Dor is both ready-to-wear and made-to-measure, co-founded by two young female Pakistanis with backgrounds in product design engineering and aerospace engineering. Zuria Dor is their entrepreneurial debut to bring Pakistan’s fashion sector into the global village by focusing on innovation, international outreach, technology-backed commerce and ethics. The vision is simple; to build a brand that is based locally but is recognised globally. The A/W 2017 collection, ‘Tropical Romanticism’, is inspired by tropical tranquil colours found in nature; calming visual effects start with subtle, elusive tones which gradually get darker throughout the collection finishing with teal and midnight blue dresses. Zuria Dor has a vision of reinvesting in the workforce by providing technical and English language classes, extending health insurance to families and organising subsidised education for the children of its staff members.
The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. Using the UK’s cultural resources, we make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.
We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year we reach over 20 million people face-to-face and more than 500 million people online, via broadcasts and publications.
Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. Most of our income is raised delivering a range of projects and contracts in English teaching and examinations, education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. Eighteen per cent of our funding is received from the UK government.
The Architecture Design Fashion department facilitates connections within the design sector. The aims of the fashion programme are to create a dialogue between international fashion designers and practitioners and those working in the UK, to deepen understanding of the cultural and economic value of fashion around the world, and to broaden international perspectives in the UK.