An amalgam of excitement, colour, glitz and glamour, Day 3 at PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week was opened by Karachi based designer Yousaf Bashir Qureshi (YBQ). The show started with actress and model Amina Sheikh walking down the middle of the ramp wearing a white dress while YBQ painted on the dress in a synchronised manner. Once the dress was complete, she walked into the audience. YBQ’s womenswear Prêt-à-porter collection for Fashion Week, which was entitled “Dust to Ashes – Ashes to Dust – the eternal hour glass of existence” was created in cottons and georgettes.
The collection took inspiration from the philosophy that we come from dust and to dust we return, the cycle eternal, each rise reaching a crescendo before falling again; each fall giving way to a new life. In these rebirths and reinventions, life pens our story. Tales of boyhood adventures (when the dust flies) roll into adolescent musings (when it rages), into elations of manhood (when it starts to settle), middle aged dilemmas (when it flies again), the onset of wisdom till the ultimate claim of age – and the dust finally settles.
YBQ graduated as a food scientist and was part of the faculty at Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM), Los Angeles; Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), New York and in Pakistan at the prestigious Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in Karachi. He is also an accomplished photographer and the owner of the independent Commune Artists Colony – a space for artists, by artists. He has previously designed for Sheryl Crow and is also the proud recipient of several international awards including the Asian Designer of the Year Award, Coalition of Los Angeles Designers 2000 in the Creative category and Best Prêt Wear Designer Award in Milan for Trussardi, to name a few. YBQ recently opened the YBQ Concept Studio in Karachi and launched his first ever collection in Pakistan, entitled “Fresh Difficulties” to much acclaim. YBQ showcased both his menswear and womenswear entitled ‘Holey’ at the debut PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week, the inspiration for which was derived from both ‘Holy and Holi’, deriving concepts for good and evil.
Next to showcase was designer Omar Farooq with his label “Republic”. Republic’s menswear Prêt-à-porter collection for Fashion Week was entitled “Mediterranean Affair”. Inspired by France’s biggest star, Alain Delon of the sixties era, a diversity of fabrics such as linen, tropical wool, twill cotton and microfiber, with satin and suede trims were utilised. The collection consisted of slim fit suits, weekend double breasted jackets, polo blazers, pleated drop crotch cotton trousers and shirts that drape, complemented by brooches and cotton bow-ties. A renowned fashion designer who is also the official Spokesperson for the PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week, Hassan Sheheryar Yasin, walked the ramp for Republic. Talking about his label the designer said “Republic creates for the quintessential man, an extraordinary man, that demands to stand apart from the ordinary”.
Republic was founded in 2007 and launched in January of 2009. Founder, owner and creative director Omar Farooq has a degree in Management from Adelphi University, New York, U.S.A. He spent 2 years researching elemental designs for the urban man and innovating on them further to create signature cuts and styles. He has travelled extensively around the world to find the best fabric and stitching materials with the commitment of giving his customers global quality at local prices. Designing comes naturally to him as it is simply a passion. He defines his label’s signature style as chic and elegant, while also pointing out that Republic is never shy of taking risks and experimenting with the latest trends, as one never becomes a trend setter unless one is willing to set trends. Republic is a lifestyle for the urban man with a range of collections ranging from prêt-à-porter, formal, semiformal and informal wear with accessories to match. The label also has a huge clientele for custom-made sittings and recently launched their traditional designs division. The biggest accolade that Republic has received in its one year of operations in Lahore is the immense response from its clients that keep coming back to the store. After all, there is nothing like a confident man that wears Republic.
The closing for Day 3’s Act 1 was by Nayna who showcased her collection for Fashion Week entitled “Starry Starry Night”, inspired by the concept of making navy the new black. It was a cross-cultural collection that highlighted the ethnicity of the Kashmiri Pashmina using a diversity of fabrics such as pashmina, silks and chiffons. Talking about her label the designer said “Nayna designs clothes for the modern, strong women of today.”
Designer Saman Arif is the aesthetic force behind the Nayna label. Indeed, nearly three years after the brand first unveiled its collection at an exhibition in New York, Nayna was voted among the top ten designers in the country. In May 2005, Nayna launched its collection in Pakistan with an exclusive fashion show in Lahore; the show was in collaboration with Christian Dior, Tag Heuer and Fendi watches. It was the first time that the aforementioned super brands worked in partnership with a local brand. In 2006, Nayna was nominated by Indus Network at the Indus Style Awards as among the top four young upcoming designer labels. The same year, the fashion house entered into a partnership agreement with the United Nations World Food Program (UNWFP) – indeed a manifestation of the brand’s attitude towards fashion and social responsibility. In 2007, Nayna was shortlisted for the Young British Fashion Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
In 2009, the label went global as the only designer in the country boasting of a franchise model for its international expansion plan, similar to that of international FMCG brands. Nayna now has franchise partners in California, Chicago, Washington D.C., Texas, Dubai, Leicester, London, Manchester and Toronto. Nayna showcased its formal collection, “Timeless Classics”, at the debut PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week.