Pakistan Fashion Week 6 (PFW6) finally arrived; l was excited and enthusiastic to say the least. Instead of having to go Pakistan to see the latest fashion trends and experience extraordinary eastern fashion, Riwayat brings Pakistan Fashion Week to the UK. I only started reporting and blogging in the beginning of the year so it was the first PFW for me.
It’s always thrilling to attend Asian fashion shows; however on this occasion it wasn’t any fashion show but Pakistan Fashion Week came to London. Whether it’s Pakistan Fashion Week in Karachi, Dubai or London it’s an event you can’t miss in the Asian fashion calendar. You can’t miss the ads on TV, magazines or surge of ‘buy your PFW tickets’ on social media platforms. If you missed out don’t worry this The Asian Today fashion reporter will fill you in.
All thanks to The Asian Today and Anita Chumber l was able to gain front row seats at PFW6 and report live for all you readers and deliverer the front row experience at your fingertips.
You may ask, why are PFW in London? The UK has a growing Asian population in the UK. For instance, Office of National Statistics (ONS) is estimating the ethnic minority will increase by a third of the UK’s population by 2050. And Riwayat the organisers of Pakistan Fashion Week aims to cater to the UK’s rapidly expanding Asian fashion market.
Pakistan and India fashion weeks are known for bringing bright colours, specialist embroidered detailing and modern eastern trends to a global audience. For example, in recent years Asian fashion has inspired world renowned western designers such as, Paul Smith and Chanel.
It may be called Pakistan fashion week but whatever culture or religion – everyone is welcome to view eastern fashion trends from overseas and some designers here in the UK.
I arrived at Russell Square station; l knew l was close to the venue as l spotted some Asian women looking gorgeous in Asian clothing and enjoying the sunshine outside the venue. I walked into Russell Hotel, the venue location and l was instantly taken back by the grand interior, which oozed with royal British class and elegance. There were fabulous velvet red armchairs, huge crystal chandelier and hotel concierge waiting near the entrance. It was similar to something you would see in the movies or Royal Family documentaries. The hotel concierge seemed please to see so many beautiful ladies.
The surge of guests for PFW6 didn’t stop; every time l turned a new group of people were waiting in a queue raring to gain access to the event. After obtaining my pass the first thing l thought was ‘move out the way aunty jees,’ l was ready to explore the PFW6 exhibition before the fashion show.
I walked through the lush wooden double doors and first items l spotted was the rails of dazzling Asian clothes sparkling through the busy venue full of serious South Asian shoppers - PFW6 volunteers in red sashes rushing around making sure everything was intact and media examining the Pakistani fashion on offer.
Whilst l was at the exhibition l spoke to one of the PFW6 ‘crew’ members Yasin Ikram who told me the exhibition consisted of 20 stalls from accessories, menswear, casual and party wear. He informed me most of the talented Asian designers come all the way over from Pakistan just for Pakistan Fashion Week. And design their collections exclusively for PFW London.
The PFW6 had a good balance of casual, prêt, special occasion dresses and subtle bridal outfits. You could see first-hand the amazing handwork that had gone into creating these magical pieces of fashion art. Where else would you find world-class fashion designers such as, Zeshan Bariwala and their stunning beaded, rhinestone and diamanté collection? It was lovely to see Asian designers are finally seeing the potential of showcasing and selling their collections in the UK.
I was lucky enough to speak some of the designers at the event such as Poshak Mahal who informed me they had designed and produced their garments especially for PFW6 and once they were off the catwalk they were going to be sold on their exhibition stand for a third of the price! These were exclusive one off gorgeous casual suits from £16 to £85+.
Just before the fashion show started l popped backstage, where the models were being prepped and stylists running to the rescue. As I started enjoying myself the fashion show was about to commence and l made my way to the hall.
The runway hall architecture again was authentically British and it complimented the graceful fashion designers theme… Figures of men and women holding up the floor of the hall the scene was set for a spectacular fashion event.
After waiting some time the time had arrived for Pakistan Fashion Show to commence. Miss Black Beauty and even a Pakistani actor sat on the front row ready to view PFW6.
I came prepared with my iPhone handy in my left hand for exclusive live feeds and my camera in the right to give you an exclusive glimpse into the runway collections. It wasn’t just me most of the front row press and media were eager including me - note pads, pencils, cameras and iPads at the ready.
PFW6 kicked off with Poshak Mahal who graced us with their Spring/Summer casual trouser suits, kaftans and contrasting digital printed dupattas.
Poshak Mahal had some lovely modern yet classic Asian outfits you could wear everyday, for example the pure chiffon printed two-piece suits would make a perfect addition to your British Asian Summer wardrobe. The brand showcased their Green Street collection for audience who preferred a more traditional look. Plus they didn’t forget the men and featured a range of British Asian inspired men’s sherwanis.
Al Zohaib had an interesting British ethnic themed contrast; my favourite piece was the western style dresses with multicoloured draped fabric. The black dress acts as a plain canvas, whilst the additional draped silk fabric gives the garment the dramatic effect.
For some Stush is more party wear worthy but for many others who like subtly its bridal day wear. Whether you wear Stush at your wedding or a special occasion l can guarantee you will look like a princess and people will be asking you where you brought your outfit.
Shabbir Textiles kept their collection simple yet it was still very powerful as they combined rich fabrics such as, chiffon, silk and achieved fabulous sheer panelling as seen on the western runway.
Shabbir Textiles collection may have been too simple for many Asians yet the fabric was of a high end fashion quality and it screamed luxury. For special occasions you could just add heavy Asian jewellery and accessories.
Shibori delivered Pakistani beauty as its best; she used traditional Pakistani fashion elements such as chiffon fabric with intricate embroidered detailing, brocade and luxurious velvet outfit. If you love the classical Asian fashion looks but you want trendy colours with a modern twist you’ll love Shibori.
Marium D Rizwan highlighted the best of British Asian pret, she combined monochrome colour brolly gowns, and female figure silhouette printed dresses.
The collection also included Asian inspired pieces however, unlike other Asian designers Marium D Rizwan chose to focus on one focal point on the outfits and make it flamboyant. Furthermore the collection included British style subtle trouser combinations and Ascot hats; l couldn’t help but think the collection had a rare middle-eastern, Asian and British fusion.
Overall PFW6 had a good balance of casual, prêt, special occasion dresses and subtle bridal outfits. All the collections featured in PFW6 amazing and beautiful in their own way. It depends what you’re looking for, your particular taste in Asian clothing and most importantly you’re personality. That’s the brilliant factor about PFW; you’re bound to found something you like or inspires you.
I wanted to find out PFW guests thoughts and views on the event, Rouxsi and Natasha who had come all the way from Luton said they enjoyed checking out the latest fashion trends and experience the Pakistan Fashion Week buzz first hand!
Even if some of the clothes are out of your budget, there were other designer pieces at a decent price. Plus it’s a wonderful show for inspiration and catch up on the latest Asian fashion trends such as the white, cream and gold crochet and net.
Any event which celebrates Asian fashion and brings Pakistani fashion to the UK’s growing Asian population is a success in my eyes. Well-renowned Asian designers are slowing seizing the opportunity to showcase their magnificent collections in the UK and we need to celebrate Asian fashion in Britain and the great work organisations such as, Riwayat do during PFW to bring some new Asian flavour to the UK.
I thoroughly enjoyed doing my first article for The Asian Today and sharing my first PFW experience with all my readers.
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.