There is such a thing as too much fashion

Come spring 2017, Pakistan’s nascent fashion fraternity is set to get very busy and even the most avid aficionado may end up wondering that perhaps the onslaught of design is going overboard. Lawn, typically, is primed to surge into the market at full-throttle, boasting a designer name and trying to enamour a considerable clientele with the usual slew of embroidered borders, silk dupattas, sequined patches, flotsam and jetsam. Sidling into the unstitched market are also formal chiffon suits — once again, designer-created — mostly targeted towards the bling-lovin’ party-hopping woman.

Should this increasing number of ‘designer’ options have been driven by innovative techniques and creativity, one would have waxed lyrical about the equation shared by fashion and textile and how it’s leading to a trendier high street. Instead, where at one time Sana Safinaz’s lawn would emulate couture, today’s unstitched territory tends to be very run-of-the-mill. Designer lawn, once inspiring bedlam on the roads and raving, shopping-mad crowds, is no longer fashion-forward by any length of the imagination. Given our long hot summers, some brands may still sell well but the designer tag doesn’t ensure profits. Where some succeed, many more flop every year.

There’s a lesson to be learnt here: too much of so-called designer wear erodes fashion’s lustre, leading to lower standards and ennui setting in. It’s sadly a lesson that Pakistan’s small fashion fraternity refuses to learn.

Fashion in Pakistan may have been going through a slight lull but a closer look indicates that soon, fashion is going to let loose in all its awful glory. Will an infinitesimal number of lawns and fashion weeks be its undoing?

Consider the mindboggling number of fashion events that are expected to take place in the coming months. Fashion Pakistan Week (FPW) in Karachi is tentatively slotted for the end of February.  The PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week is scheduled for early March in Lahore. The Hum Network’s bi-annual Bridal Couture Week is approximately taking place around the end of March, followed by Showcase, a new venture by Hum, swooping in towards the end of April. Sandwiched somewhere in the middle are at least two grandiose individual outings by HSY and Sana Safinaz. Also filtering in from Dubai will be images and videos of Faraz Manan’s solo show taking place this March. And some time in summer, the Fashion Pakistan Council plans to have its Millennial show, a platform reserved for promising new designers.

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