When it comes to the world of fashion, 2016 will be remembered as a year of change.
Trends came and went as usual, but the major changes that took place were in the conduct of the industry. From designers adjusting their image to a more socially conscious one to us buyers changing our mode of shopping, there have been many transitions throughout the year.
We take a look at what it was that made 2016 a year of innovation in the fashion industry.
1) Designers ditch fashion weeks for solo shows
Elan hosted a highly publicised solo show this year, highlighting its luxe 'Palais Indochine' against a veritable enchanted garden, resplendent with fairy lights, gazebos and an ‘it’ guest list.
Previously, designers would showcase their lines in major fashion shows, organised by the Pakistan Fashion Design Council in Lahore or Fashion Pakistan Council in Karachi. But recently many designers have taken to solo shows, having complete creative control over the whole affair.
Faraz Manan had initiated going solo three years earlier but this year it caught on, with Diva'ni having a solo show for their launch in Lahore and Studio S following suit.
2) Social causes take center stage on the catwalk
Social causes took center stage on the catwalk, establishing that fashion now needs to say more than just presenting glamorous images. At the PFDC L’Oreal Paris Bridal Week, Ali Xeeshan dedicated his collection to child marriages and Rozina Munib debuted at FPW with Mukhtaran Mai as her showstopper. Following FPW, Mukhtaran proceeded to meet with potential donors who could assist with the running of her charity that supports battered women and children.
One may argue that the social messages helped generate publicity for the designers concerned but as long as an important message is highlighted, we really don’t think it matters.
3) Online fashion portals gain traction
Cyber-shopping is hugely popular around the world and in local fashion, two designer-savvy contenders entered the fray: Fabbitt and My Fashion Fix. Both portals boast the latest collections from top-tier designers and My Fashion Fix – just-launched – endeavours to draw customers with prices that will remain below Rs20,000. Designer-wear, at the press of a keyboard button; virtual fashion became a thing in Pakistan this year.
4) A looong wedding revealed our dark consumerist heart
Who remembers #AnushMunib? The long wedding, as we've come to call it (feels very Game of Thrones, no?), was an event that caught everyone's attention, taking destination weddings to a whole new level. From January to August, from Badshahi Mosque to Istanbul, Turkey, this wedding had enough celebrations to give Disney World a run for their money, speaking of which, did we mention the Disney themed party they had? Just because?
Images from Anush Ammar and Munib Altaf's wedding were splashed across every medium and it made us wonder, how far are we willing to go for the sake of wedding virality?
5) A trans model makes her debut
Trans rights activist Kami Sid modelled for a photo shoot with Waqar J. Khan in an attempt to get her message heard by a wider audience. With the campaign highlighting the importance of embracing the transgender community in our society, the activist was successful in getting her message across. This was an important step towards ending our society's marginalisation of the transgender community.
6) The Fashion Pakistan Council sees a shakeup
Halfway through the year, Karachi’s Fashion Pakistan Council (FPC) decided to indulge in a round of musical chairs.
The then CEO Wardha Saleem and Chairperson Sanam Chaudhri stepped down from their designations and it was announced that elections would take place for selection of the new administration.
There was confusion and conjecture, gossip and quite a bit of finger-pointing as to why Wardha and Sanam couldn’t have waited for the elections that were going to take place in two months’ time.
The new FPC board included Deepak Perwani as the Chairperson and Nida Azwer as the Chief Executive Officer and it quickly proved its mettle with the smooth execution of the Winter Festive edition of Fashion Pakistan Week (FPW) in November.
7) The Hum Style Awards rivals the LSAs
The HUM Network launched into its very own Style awards, pointedly critiquing the LSA’s by stating that the awards results were going to be completely unbiased. The LSAs, of course, as the oldest running entertainment-related awards institution in Pakistan has its fans and its critics. Were the awards results at the HUM Awards fair? We’re not sure – but they were certainly surprising.
There were other results that had us cocking incredulous eyebrows – for instance, Hamza Ali Abbasi selected as ‘Most Stylish Actor – TV’ despite his penchant for monotonous all-black kurta shalwars and an equally sartorially challenged Humayun Saeed chosen to be the ‘Most Stylish Actor – Film’. The Hum Style Awards also brought an interesting new term to the fore: Demi-couture instead of the oft-used Luxury-pret.
8) Megastores aim to be the next 'big' thing
This year, Sapphire launched its megastore in Lahore's Emporium Mall, which included the brand's newly released jewelry line and foot-wear. But that's not all. The store also comprises a small play area for the mommy shopper and a café, with snacks and drinks complete. Sapphire also plans on expanding into home accessories and textiles.
Similar moves have being made by Khaadi, leading us to wonder if these megastores are the stores of the future.
9) Nabila retired from the awards rat-race
Stylist Nabila won her tenth Lux Style Award for Best Hair and Makeup and announced that she was no longer going to submit her portfolio for nomination. Instead, she would want the spotlight to be placed on younger blood while she moved on with her career, building it further and mentoring promising new stylists. Later this year, Nabila was given an Excellence Award at the Hum Style Awards.
While Nabila continues to rule the roost with her repertoire of high-profile events and impeccable styling, it’s commendable that she chose to let others have their share of the spotlight.