Fashion Industries in Pakistan
Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad hold the top places in the Pakistani fashion industry. The industry is led by collectives like the Karachi-based Fashion Pakistan and Lahore-based Pakistan Fashion Design Council.
The industry caters to the summer season, known as the lawn season in the industry terms, and the spring season.
The lawn season, which remains popular across Pakistan and South Asians in the West, produces lightweight, breezy wear with pure cotton yarn; the products range from Shalwar Kameez to airy tunics and trouser suits.
Lawn season is also known for its fashion wars wherein designers compete as the Lawn Market is estimated at USD 50 billion.
What is the Fashion Industry?
The fashion industry refers to an aesthetic expression to meet the demands of new trends for what should be worn, especially in accessories, clothing, hairstyle, footwear, lifestyle, makeup, and body proportions.
Apparel and Fashion
The apparel and fashion industry of Pakistan is playing an important role and has a high impact on creativity and on economy of Pakistan. Fashion is a way of expressing creativity, and the business of fashion is not only about Attractive style and pretty models but a multi-dimensional enterprise involving many people, each making their contribution to bigger picture of this industry.
The fashion industry showcases Pakistan the world over. it has played the role of developing the great image of our country as a stylish and creative one. Fashion is a vehicle for expressing ideas and personal creativity. The royalty of the fashion industry can surely resuscitate the creativity in Pakistan’s fashion scene.
Pakistani clothes express the culture of Pakistan, the Demographics of Pakistan, and regional cultures. Dress in each regional culture reflects weather conditions, way of living, and distinctive style which gives it a unique identity among all cultures.
Pakistan’s Fashion Industry
(Its Growth Potential and Challenges)
On 7 August, the Pakistan Business Forum(PBF) President said that,
Owing to their export potential, the fashion designing and textile industry were key to Pakistan’s trade
The PBF President emphasized the growth of the textile industry as a boost to the fashion industry and called for enhanced export-led growth of the industry.
How Large is the Consumer Market of Pakistan?
In the last ten years, the economy of Pakistan is tremendously influenced by the rising of the Fashion Industry. Through fashion, one can express his or her creativity and can adapt this passion into a successful profession.
Now the fashion industry statistics have recognized itself as a complete and broad business to whom smart and stylish models, designers, tailors, and also multi-dimensions enterprises have also linked themselves.
What is the Pakistani Culture Like?
Pakistani dresses are highly appreciated all over the world. Particularly the wedding dress is awesome and shows the outstanding creativity of Pakistani designers. The fashion industry in Pakistan expresses the culture of Pakistan that emerged with Islamic culture.
Although the Pakistani culture is diverse. No doubt the glimpse of western culture is also added but is not highly adopted by the people of Pakistan.
Dress in each regional culture reflects weather conditions, the way of living, and different styles which gives it a distinctive identity among all cultures.
In the various well-known contest held at the international level, Pakistan’s performance catches all attention of worldwide famous designers of Pakistani dresses and other related items.
All these encouraging results indicate a more bright future for the fashion industry in Pakistan.
Recently the British royal couple Prince William and Kate Middleton visited Pakistan. During the whole tour, Kate wore Pakistani dresses, showing her love for Pakistan and its culture.
.@Maheenkhanpk says sales of her outfits have increased since being worn by Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, during her recent visit to Pakistan.
The Pakistani designer is in the UK for Pakistan Fashion Week, where she’s been exhibiting her latest collection. pic.twitter.com/ZILd0YQSWf
— BBC Asian Network (@bbcasiannetwork) November 27, 2019
Fashion Industry Growth in Pakistan
The fashion industry of Pakistan is quite assist full of scaling down the unemployment in Pakistan, providing suitable job opportunities for ladies belonging to both urban and rural areas.
According to Islamabad’s Deputy Mayor Zeshan Naqvi “Women were excelling in all spheres and their contributions would help to open new avenues of jobs and business in Pakistan.”
MPA Lubna Rehan said that women’s population is more than half and their fruitful participation in national development is vital for economic independence.
She also added different initiatives of the Pakistani government for the welfare of women.
She said the fashion industry has a lot of space for women and they can join this sector as a profession.
Fashion Brands have taken Societal Cause
Fashion brands lately have taken up societal causes in their social media campaigns to widen their reach. The brand, Generation, for example, calls for inclusivity and is known to showcase, “Real Women” which aims to question the stereotypical standards of beauty.
Generation also used hashtag campaigns like StepOutside, to push for the reclamation of Public spaces by women. Other brands like Zahra Shahjahan called for the recognition of the labor behind the labor industry
The Popularity of Brands among Middle Class
On the speculations of the campaign being a publicity stunt, the owner of Zahra Shahjahan said,
Most of the labor in Pakistan is highly paid and claimed that tailors are paid PKR one to 1.5 lacs.
Such tactics have helped popularize fashion brands among the middle class.
Potential of Pakistan’s Fashion Industry
The PBF President expressed displeasure that the industry was not exploring the export potential of the textile sector.
In April 2021, the export value of the textile and clothing industry stood at USD 1.337 billion, reflecting an increase of 231.17% from USD 403.833 million in the corresponding period the previous year. The growth has been attributed to the Economic Coordination Committee’s approval to import duty-free cotton yarn until the end of June 2021.
Pakistan’s Economic Survey 2019-20 records that despite a slump of -2.57 percent in Jul-Mar FY 2020, textile exports grew by 4.52 percent, and stood at USD 10460 million.
International Fashion Market
In July, the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry President said that
“Pakistani Brands like Maria B and Khaadi, have established themselves abroad, in the UK, US, and the Middle East, thereby paving the way to explore the intentional fashion market.”
Challenges to Pakistan’s Fashion Industry
Despite a promising picture, the industry faces several challenges from several circles.
- First, the concerns regarding workers’ rights. In 2022, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit Pakistan, garment workers’ unions protested against forced layoffs and non-payment of salaries, as fashion brands had to cut down their supplies
- The contentions from the workers came a year after the Human RIGHTS Watch, in 2019, called on Pakistan to strengthen labor laws and ensure minimum wages for factory workers.
- The HRW said that Pakistan had for long not paid the garment workers and also outlined the unsafe working conditions for workers.
- The second, backlash from conservative circles. Several conservative people term the fashion industry a Western import corrupting Pakistan’s values.
- Recently, the HUM Style Awards garnered criticism from the public for showcasing what was perceived as incident clothes, celebrities wearing designer clothes covering the whole body, calling it the right way to dress.
- In a feature by The Guardian, Pakistani designers said that the industry has become a Battleground between the vibrant youth and religious rights. Regardless, people in the industry, particularly women, see it as an avenue to march forward and change the public’s mindset
Highs and Lows in Pakistan’s Fashion Industry
Pakistan’s fashion industry has seen its fair share of highs and lows.
The lows are mostly due to the conservative mindset in the country whereby fashion is viewed as an indecent import from the West. Yet despite a largely negative reaction to fashion in the majority of Islamic countries, the fashion industry although quite small, has kept growing stronger over the years.
Pakistan’s fashion industry has gotten international attention and is viewed as a promising market. This was noted last year by the members of an Italian delegation who were invited for the discussion at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. At the same event Aasia Saail Kahn a renowned fashion designer said,
We have to promote our fashion industry and embroidery sector to secure an important place in the international market.
Pakistani Fashion Industry in Safe Hands
Despite the hurdles, there is a feeling among new fashion designers that the Pakistani fashion industry is in safe hands. Annus Abrar is one such example who has made his presence felt not just in Pakistan but internationally as well.
Abrar runs a Karachi-based design studio that has remained popular since 2012 and focuses on not just one style but on multiple designs. Being able to design outfits in a range of categories is quite a skill among today’s Pakistani fashion designers. the Annus Abrar studio is known for its Luxury Pret, Festive and Bridal collections
Modeling in Fashion Industry
Modeling is an important aspect of the fashion industry, Without it, Pakistan’s fashion industry would be dull.
Aneesa Sharif is an important addition to be country’s modeling fraternity. With the degree in cosmetology and teaching experience in modeling, Sharif has removed the stereotype that modeling is a lazy career and that one who is not able to enter another field goes towards modeling.
Sharif was named the Best Female Model at the Music and Media Awards in 2016.
In the fashion segment, the global online share of revenues already reached 23% in 2020, but the segment’s growth will continue in the next years, driven by East and Southeast Asia regions with their growing middle class and lagging offline infrastructure.
One of the leading trends in the direct integration of shopping functionally into the content display on social media, enabling high-speed, “Inspire and Sell” customer conversion (e.g Instagram checkout) The audience is increasingly shifting from desktop to mobile and improving the mobile browsing and checkout experience is becoming crucial.
Best Designers in Pakistan
There are many prominent names we can find in the long list of Pakistani Fashion designers.
Like Hassan Shaharyar Yasin, the founder of a famous South Asian label called Hsy. HSY is not only famous for its awesome wedding dresses but also for beautiful jewelry items.
Similarly, Asim Jofa, represents great and captivating jewelry, winter and summer wear, wedding dresses, etc.
Fahad Hussayn, Deepak Pewani, Maria B, etc are star names enlightening the Pakistan fashion industry with full potential.
Pakistani Fashion Industry– a Long Way
Pakistani’s Fashion industry has come a long way, and it is only expected to flourish in the coming years. With the support that is currently receiving from the people already involved in the industry, the future does seem optimistic.
However, it is also important for the Pakistani Government and international markets to invest in this country’s industry so that it can rise to future highlights.