Last week, Pakistan kicked off Fashion Week in Karachi, a city located just two hours by plane from primary nesting places for Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The event was rescheduled twice amid fears of militant violence. Because of security concerns, no foreign buyers or designers were invited. But sometimes when you feel like wallowing, scared in isolation, the best thing to do is get out there and have fun with pretty new clothes and a few friends. So organizers soldiered on to show the world that, despite the violence all around them, they can and will have fashion beyond burqas and go about life as usual.
CEO of Fashion Pakistan Week Ayesha Tammy Haq calls the event a “gesture of defiance to the Taliban.” Lady models hit the runway in spiked jewelry with exposed tattoos; some men wore shorts and sequin tops. And backstage, everything seemed normal.
“Unfortunately, it is the bad side of Pakistan that gets everybody’s attention,” said top Pakistani model Nadia Hussain as hairdressers and makeup artists fussed over her backstage. “It has never been this bad, I don’t know what will happen,” she said, as fellow models chain-smoked cigarettes.
Things went pretty well, logistically, aside from a loss of power for a few minutes during the opening evening. And all in all it sounded like a pretty good escape from the horrible, scary things going on around everyone in attendance.
“This does not represent what we are as a people,” designer Ayesha Tahir Masood said. “Only 0.001 percent of Pakistani women would wear these clothes, and then only in a controlled environment when drunk out of their minds.”
No word on how wild their parties got, but man, if ever an occasion called for taking a load off …