Designs and colours unite India and Pakistan

India-Pakistan ties may have their ups and downs, but artists and designers on both sides are trying their best to keep up the cultural contacts.


India-Pakistan ties may have their ups and downs, but artists and designers on both sides are trying their best to keep up the cultural contacts.

If multi-designer store offering Pakistani designers’ creations got Indians closer to the neighbouring country, the recently launched Karmik store in Lahore has taken another step to bring the two countries closer.

The Pakistan Fashion Week 2013 in April turned out to be a fruitful event for Pradeep Hirani, CMD of designer-wear Karmik store. Not only was he mesmerised by the creations, but he also discovered business opportunities there.

Within four months, he opened his first store with Indian designers’ work in Lahore.

“There is a strong political divide, but fashion doesn’t understand such boundaries,” Hirani told IANS.

The store is the outcome his pact with Sheikh Aftab Arshad, Asad Amin Sheikh and Asif Amin Sheikh of Lahore-based fashion retailer Arshadsons in July. The estimated investment for the deal is around $3 million over three years.

“The association with Arshadsons is for three years. We have plans of opening six stores starting with Lahore and then Karachi and Islamabad,” said Hirani. Depending on the response stores will also be opened in cities like Faisalabad.

Hirani feels that people from Lahore and Karachi are better versed with fashion trends, but the Indian designers’ collections are for everybody.

“They are for anybody who wants to feel good and wants to indulge in Indian fashion,” he said.

Creations of top-notch Indian designers like Rohit Bal, JJ Valaya, Anamika Khanna, Neeta Lulla, Ritu Beri and Shantanu & Nikhil, that will approximately cost between Rs. 3,000 and Rs. 9,000, will be available in the multi-designer store.

But the clothes will have slight difference in terms of colours and cuts to suit the taste of the people there.

“We will be offering tunics, lehengas, stitched saris and salwars. A few changes have been made. For instance, the anarkali is big in India but not in Pakistan. Colours are different too. During Eid, green is big there,” said Hirani.

Mini Bindra, who joined hands with the Pakistan Fashion Design Council (PFDC) in 2012, is also giving a thought to introducing a store in the neighbouring country.

“My label is called Rubaaiyat. Many people have seen my clothes at parties and they liked my creations. Many suggested I open a store or participate in exhibitions. I am still thinking about it,” said Bindra.

But till then, she is happy promoting Pakistani creations here and says that the success depends on the creativity of the designers.

“As long as you offer creative garments to people, they will buy them. Our store (PFDC – The Boulevard) has gowns that are combined with shararas or with long capes,” Bindra said.

Like Indian designers had to make a few alterations to suit Pakistani fashion tastes, so did their counterparts in terms of colours.

“They use a lot of white and black, which we don’t. There is more demand for gold,” Bindra pointed out.

The store is just a year old but there are plans to expand.

“Hyderabad, Bangalore and Mumbai are big markets. Maybe will soon have stores there too,” said Bindra.

The multi-designer store offers creations of fashion designers like Layla Chatoor, Fahad Hussayn and Sobia Nazir. The prices start from Rs.2,000 and go up to Rs.500,000.

Pakistani designer Maheen Kardar Ali, whose work is available at PFDC – The Boulevard, wants to get into saris. “We still haven’t been able to design saris the way they are done in India,” said Maheen.

Bridal and lifestyle exhibitions are also helping these designers cross boundaries and connect with fashionistas.

Pervez Lala, managing director of Lala Textiles, which specialises in unstitched salwar kameezs, has been a part of various exhibitions in India as he considers it to be a good market.

“I’ve exhibited in cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad. Asiana Fashion Expo that was held in August in Delhi must have been my fifth or sixth time. Such exhibitions help us to build relationships with customers and India is a good market,” he said.

Saai by Sahar Atif and Honey Waqar will also present their collections at the three-day Bridal Asia 2013 exhibition starting here Saturday.


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