‘See now, buy now’ is fashion’s most popular catchphrase at the moment and Daraz Fashion Week (DFW) has just harnessed it and brought it to Pakistan’s nascent design scenario.
Daraz’s shoppable fashion event last night addressed these changing dynamics ingeniously. What you saw on the catwalk was what you could buy off Daraz’s cyber high-street, all under a Rs15,000 umbrella.
To propel interest and sales, seven of the country’s most coveted design houses were enlisted to be part of Daraz’s show: Feeha Jamshed, Tena Durrani, Amir Adnan, Generation, Zara Shahjahan, Deepak Perwani and last year’s Bank Alfalah Rising Talent winner Hamza Bokhari.
Each designer especially created ten looks and the fashion show was uploaded onto Daraz’s page. Online visitors could make purchases right there and then or over the next four days following the event (hence the usage of the word ‘week’ for the one-day show), or as long as stocks lasted. It was a tricky line to walk; somewhere between pedestrian high-street apparel and catwalk statement-wear, clothes that would make sense to the average shopper while also reflecting designer aesthetics.
Last night's show was more like a walk down a glossy mall rather than a glamorous red carpet tryst. High fashion generally slunk in the background although particular trends (the tulip shalwar, cinched waists) were emphasized.
What resulted was a show that was more like a walk down a glossy mall rather than a glamorous red carpet tryst.
High fashion generally slunk in the background although particular trends were emphasized. For instance, the draped tulip shalwar, part of several showcases, is a summer must-have.
Also in vogue are slouchy, baggy tunics, cinched ever so slightly at the waist with a belt. What dominated at DFW, though, was retail-friendly design: pretty, comfortable and ideal for the man or woman on the go. “We want to make fashion available to the masses,” announced Daraz’s Co-CEO Bjarke Mikkelsen before the show.
Overt catwalk statements wouldn’t have made sense on such a platform.
The next few days will reflect the success of DFW. For instance, how will online shopping splurges fare given that the stock created by some of the designers is very limited?
The next few days will reflect the success of DFW. For instance, how will online shopping splurges fare given that the stock created by some of the designers is very limited? And while prices are, as promised, under Rs 15000, will the pricier designs – for instance, some of the collection by Tena Durrani – fail to haul in sales while other more economical options, like Generation, fly off the cyber-shelf?
Aside from bringing in possible profits, high fashion’s virtual wheels have managed to bolster Daraz’s image. The first DFW, last year, faltered with its generic high-street and lawn associations. Now, though, it’s transcended to a retail avenue for bona fide, hot-off-the-catwalk designer-wear. It’s an ingenious move and a step up in e-commerce that the Pakistani market is certainly ready for.
Here’s what went down at Daraz Fashion Week. Don’t expect to be bowled over by the high-fashion – there wasn’t too much of it – but the wearability of some of these designs may just have you reaching for your cyber-wallet!
This was chic day-wear in a summer palette of blue, green and white, playing with variations of the shalwar kameez.
The ‘it’ tulip shalwar made an appearance; so did capris, cigarette pants, light summer wraps and flirty hemlines. Zara’s DFW line was a diversion from the quirky ethos of her high-street label Coco, placing greater focus on cool floral patterns.
‘Feejay’, following in the footsteps of her father ‘Teejay’, has always had a penchant for affordable mass-friendly fashion. This consideration has dominated her fashion week collections thus far and, to some extent, prevails at her flagship store in Karachi. For DFW, Feeha had to merely dive into her archives and tweak some of the designs to make them more economical.
Not that we mind. For here were the frivolous multi-colored giraffes that we had earlier seen on a high-end Feeha Jamshed sari worn by actress Mahira Khan. There were tie-n-dyes, a neon green cotton shirt cinched at the waist with a brilliant printed neckline, and jumpsuits galore, including one with a fun cassette print. By pushing the envelope ever so slightly, Feeha’s collection was the most fashion forward at DFW.
Will that, however, please the generally demure retail requirements that dominate the local scenario? We’re not sure – and we don’t care! This is what designer-wear in the high-street should be like, rather than perpetually be stuck in an embroidery and digital print rut.
The traditional kurta is Amir Adnan’s forte and he played it up very well with impeccable finishing and minor detailings like embroidery, patch-work and pleats. Also on the catwalk were light cotton shirts and rolled up chinos – very summery.
What didn’t make sense was some of the styling, with models wearing scarves that reminded one of winter. With temperatures soaring high, it’s no wonder that just the apparel is up for retail on the Daraz website. The scarves were apparently just confused attempts at accessorizing.
Hamza Bokhari’s line-up of evening-wear for DFW starts at prices of Rs 4500. This factor will probably draw in online sales. Over-designing, though, was the collection’s downfall.
Organza, net and the much-hackneyed pearl-on-pastels look was worked out on flowing ‘goddess’ dresses, capes and tunics. Hamza understands garment structure quite well. Had he toned down the embellishments, the collection could have been deemed fashion-forward rather than a faux pas.
Generation’s ethnic paisleys and florals were lovely and so were the short shirts, angarkhas and shalwars. Was it something we hadn’t seen before? Not at all. But it was very Generation, extremely similar to the design’s that fly off the label’s high-street stores.
This may not strike aficionados in major cities as particularly important but it works very well for women living in Pakistan’s smaller cities or abroad. With no Generation store in their city, the casual modern look is now available to them online.
What has our vote: the short angarkha, the printed gharara pants and prices that mostly flitted below Rs 5000.
Deepak Perwani brought out his line of cotton kurtas for men and the bejeweled digital prints and embroideries for women that are regulars at his store during the summer. Very retail-specific, it was right up Daraz’s alley.
What we really loved, though, was the designer’s innovation with white cotton lowers. The tulip shalwars, cigarette pants, culottes and palazzos are all up on the Daraz website, priced at an affordable Rs 1800. Absolute summer staples, we’re definitely buying!
Tena Durrani’s finale was spot-on, happily waltzing the balancing act between wearable day-wear and evening glam. On a bright, young palette, the designer paired short silk shirts with harem pants, fashioned shrugs and capes with breezy crepes and brought out some very vivacious palazzos.
Easy to wear and easy on the eyes, this collection may just strike customers as not too easy on the pocket, especially in comparison to the other contenders’ margins at DFW. Tena’s prices mostly teetered above and about Rs 8000.