First fashion memory?
Observing my mother find exquisite fabrics and style unique combinations into beautiful, wearable art. I get my obsession with fashion and beauty from her. My father, too, has always been very particular about what he wears. When I look at photographs of him from his early 20s, it always feels like looking at my own reflection.
When and how did you decide to become a stylist?
Back in 2015, when Iâ€™d just done my intermediate, I decided to go to the Pakistan Institute of Fashion and Design (PIFD), fully aware I wanted to pursue a career in fashion. My degree in Fashion Marketing helped me tap into the industry, learn the technicalities and refine my skills.
Everyone feels great when they look like the best version of themselves; being able to bring a smile on peopleâ€™s faces through my aesthetic motivated me.
Fashion campaigns or editorials: what do you enjoy more and how different is each process?
I enjoy both equally, but since my approach for editorials and campaigns is different, the process differs too. For commercial campaigns I try understanding the requirements of my client, the target audience and the theme of the collection. I do thorough research, which I think sets me apartâ€”it helps to have a degree in fashion. Also, I donâ€™t believe in putting together aesthetically pleasing looks only. I customise looks according to the model/celebrity Iâ€™m working with, because itâ€™s important to not just highlight the product, but also make the person wearing it look good.
Tell us about the creative process behind putting together looks for a campaign.
It usually starts with a thorough discussion with the client, understanding what they want and what they have to offer.Â This is followed by the creation of a mood board that includes references for hair, makeup and the general vibe. Once the mood board is finalised, I start handpicking accessories and discuss my ideas with the creatives Iâ€™m working with. The looks are locked in at this point, but a few extra options are kept for impromptu changes.
Whatâ€™s your approach on mixing luxury brands with more affordable ones?
I personally mix and match anything that looks good. Iâ€™d happily wear a designer suit with local footwear, but itâ€™s important to note that there are instances where this can go wrong as well. For example, Iâ€™m not a fan of people stacking designer jewelry, designer handbags and designer shades over a lawn joraâ€”lawn literally loses its essence.
Do you ever use items from your clientsâ€™ closets?
Not really. Iâ€™d only use items from my clientâ€™s closet if particularly asked to do so. Iâ€™m not against the idea, but am usually prepared enough with my own things.
Describe your personal style in three words.
Whatâ€™s a wardrobe staple you canâ€™t do without?
My everyday style is extremely comfy. The staples in my closet include plain, black and white t-shirts, black or blue jeans, a pair of chunky sunglasses (I like the ones that cover half my face), black trainers or sandals and a nice watch.
What would you never wear?
I work as a part-time model too, but have sworn never to wear a turban with a sherwani, even if Iâ€™m paid for it. Iâ€™m all about a well-tailored sherwani, but youâ€™ll never see me wearing a kulla and posing as a dulha.
If you could only wear one designer for the rest of your life, who would it be?
Locally, it has to be Hamza Bokhari.. He makes the most breathtaking clothes and Iâ€™m the biggest fan of his designs. I admire his fresh and modern take on menswear. Internationally, I loved Givenchy under Clare Waight Keller. Currently, Iâ€™m obsessed with Balmain, Vetements, Prada and Ralph Lauren.
Which trends are you most excited about right now?
Love how silhouettes are becoming baggier. Iâ€™m not fond of fitted garments, so solid colours and lose cuts always excite me. Also, when it comes to Pakistani fashion I love that shararas and khari shalwars are making a comeback.
What is one no-fail styling trick you have?Â
Less is more. Sounds unoriginal, but I always like making a big impact by doing as little as I can. Overdoing a look is very easy, I think. Itâ€™s nailing the right amount that takes effort, experience and an eye. Iâ€™m also a staunch believer in comfort over all else. Even if a look doesnâ€™t seem aesthetically pleasing, if the person wearing it is comfortable and confident in it, itâ€™s good enough.
What are some fashion mistakes to avoid?
There are plenty, but wearing a choli the length and fit of a t-shirt and overdoing lawn outfits top my list. Also, can we please get rid of cakey makeup? Embrace the skin youâ€™re in, drink lots of water and take care of it.
When dapper meets all things summer! Give it up for 9Linesâ€™ quirky, colourful yet super trendy menswear SSâ€™20 collection. These outfits will take you through a refreshingly fashionable ride. With a mix of tasteful floral, feisty animal prints and graphic stripes, this collection is the perfect way to introduce a bit of colour and pattern into your wardrobe
You want to scare a Pakistani man? Say the magic word: feminism.
Over the years, this innocuous word that stands for the equality of all human beings has been equated with moral depravity and the decline of society. We see this more prominently in patriarchal societies, where women rising up to demand their rights is seen as vulgar, propagandist and even calamitous (women in jeans are the reason why earthquakes happen right?).
However, Iâ€™m not here to reiterate common knowledge. It is not news anymore that the word feminism and its basic meaning has been turned into something filthyâ€”a plague that all â€˜goodâ€™ women should avoid. We all know that we live in a society entrenched in myopic views and we are all aware of the slew of hatred and abuse that women receive on a daily basis. Whether theyâ€™re organising the Aurat March, or reporting harassment at the workplace, their demands are contorted and twisted. In the case of sexual crimes, the victim, mostly the female, is slut-shamed and victim-blamed. This isnâ€™t the worst of it thoughâ€”the worst are the supposed allies, the performative woke men and the ones with who carry the mantle of #notallmen.
Barely a second after a woman, fed up of the system thatâ€™s continuously stacked against her, decides to voice her opinion of men, relay an incident that sheâ€™s experienced or bash a man for his atrocious behaviour, a barrage of #notallmen is offered up. This is where the problem lies. Cisgender, masculine men are the most privileged of our society, yet are immediately threatened when someone exposes one of their lot. They run to defend the entire group of them, but for what? Many it seems, want to provide hope for the victims; that there is a world of decent people out there. But, how does this help a person whoâ€™s been through the worst at the hands of a man? What men should be doing is stop feeling so insecure and own up to the gross failings of other cisgender men; they should hold them accountable and actively encourage a relearning of their behaviour towards women. Sadly, the majority of the #notallmen crowd is a long way from that sort of reformation.
I, therefore, would like to focus more on the ones who are woke because itâ€™s cool, the performative allies, whose allyship remains on the surface at best. Additionally, there are many who label themselves as feminists, but are always looking towards others to guide them along. So if your feminism as a man is a bit suspect, hereâ€™s a refresher on how to fix it, in no particular order (Iâ€™d like to thank writer, comedienne and radio jockey Sabah Bano Malik for her input):
A few other things to keep in mind are:
lÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Do not expect a badge or medal for your efforts, or even a reward
lÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Be intersectional in your feminism (look it up)
lÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Being a feminist to get a girlâ€™s attention makes you the opposite
lÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Itâ€™s not about you
lÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Constantly analyse your own behaviour
I spoke to friend, journalist and fashion stylist Haiya Bokhari and she stated that the first thing men should do is to learn empathy. She says, â€œItâ€™s difficult to empathise with anyone else if youâ€™re suppressing your own emotions. Before men can embark on a journey of becoming allies, they must be able to look inside and have difficult conversations with themselves.â€ This is incredibly true. Men need to realise that the patriarchy is also damaging to us and our own development. Learning to be in touch with our own emotions isnâ€™t weakness; toxic masculinity and fragile egos must go.
And as Sabah said to me, â€œAcknowledge that a divide exists, acknowledge that the world is different for women and girls and non cisgendered males. Acknowledge your privilege and donâ€™t make excuses.â€
Because the fact of the matter is, till the patriarchy survives and cisgendered men reap its benefits: #yesallmen