It was a weekend full of Pakistani culture, fashion and elegance. Not only were the bloggers, Pakistani celebrities and press out in force but Pakistan’s High Commissioner and Trade Developer attended to see for a new type of fashion week, Pakistan Fashion Week in London (PFW7).
PFW7 brings magnificent embroidered garments; rich culture and multi-faith fashion to the runway and where better to showcase it but one of the world’s top multicultural cities, London.
The British Asian fashion industry is a niche market but with the UK’s ethnic minority predicted to rise to 20% by 2051 and Islamic fashion boom in the UK - South Asian fashion promises to be lucrative market in the UK. And Riwayat is one of the only organisations that cater to the growing South Asian fashion industry in the UK.
The fashion packed weekend all started at the PFW7 exhibition which gives attendees the chance to speak to the designers, view collections close-up and buy collections straight off the ramp. The exhibition was busy both days, buyers and media flocked in for the free exhibition to see what all the fuss is about and grab next season’s fashion.
PFW7 not only brings some of the best Pakistani designers over from Pakistan but allows talented upcoming British Asian designers to showcase their designs.
I spoke to Faika Karim, a British Pakistani designer and her team who came from Yorkshire and told me more about her eastern and western-inspired collection. It was intriguing to hear what it took to create their designs and express how glad they were to be given the rare opportunity to showcase in London.
The exhibition was not only a must attend part of the event but the runway shows and l went backstage to see what it really takes to produce such a show.
There was no stopping for Adnan Ansari and his team; if they weren’t on the floor they were backstage assisting press such as the BBC, welcoming guests and making sure the event was running smoothly.
It was nearly time for the first show to commence; the designers were ready and the scene was set for the models to walk the runway. The guests, press and VIPs all rushed to their seats.
We had waited in anticipation for over six months and excitement the wait was over. The DJ’s bass kicked in and the spotlight hit the ramp as the presenter introduced the first designer.
Sonya Battla opened the show with her innovative eastern and western fusion Pret collection and it set the scene perfectly for the other designers to follow.
All the three runway shows featured memorising bridal, Pret and casual suits from Honey Waqar, Bombay Stores, Aijazz Aslam, Rang Ja to mention a few.
I spoke to BBC entertainment reporter Shabnam Mahmood who wanted to know if Pakistani fashion could complete on a global scale and how does it compare to the London, New York, Milan and Paris fashion weeks.
Well, we only have to look at the PFW7 runway to see the intricate detailing, hand weaved embroidery and phenomenal work undertaken to understand what makes Pakistani fashion unique and like no other fashion show. It’s only time till the world’s embraces South Asian fashion and Riwayat’s PFW expands rapidly.
Riwayat’s Pakistan Fashion Week doesn’t only cater to a growing ethnic minority in the UK but allows designers to feature their garments in cities they might otherwise not be able to showcase in. In addition, with the British Asian fashion market being stuck in the dark ages and more focus on traditional heavy Asian fashion. Riwayat provides invaluable fashion, styles, looks with a touch of innovation. PFW7 inspires fashion lovers in the UK, a platform to educate the British Asian market and allows people to see what Pakistani fashion has to offer the world.
The day one and two PFW7 fashion blogs are to follow shortly.
I hope you enjoy reading the magazine, as much as I loved sharing the hidden fashion gems and supporting women promoting their fashion business. I'm always on the lookout for inspirational women running or thinking of starting up a fashion business. If you're one, please get in touch and you can join me at one of my exclusive meetups for women with fashion businesses.