Influencers: The young Pakistanis remixing the fashion industry

Updated 25 June 2019
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Influencers: The young Pakistanis remixing the fashion industry

  • Renaissance of Pakistani fashion has seen new stylists, models and photographers vying for the fashion centerstage
  • Fashion accounts for nearly 20% of Pakistan’s exports and its social media influencers are always hungry for the next big thing

ISLAMABAD: The renaissance of Pakistani fashion in the past five years has seen a group of young stylists, set designers, models and photographers arriving vying for the fashion centerstage, fuelled by a boom in social media. In a country where fashion accounts for nearly 20% of exports, and with social media influencers hungry for the next big thing, here are the folks who will give you some serious style envy:

Mehek Saeed

Mehek Saeed, a contributing editor for Grazia Pakistan, is a journalist-cum-stylist whose personal style inclinations have been tapped by countless magazines to showcase both high street and high-end brands for commercial shoots and ad campaigns. Her approach is a delightful combination of the edgy and the feminine with a penchant for mixing diverse accessories and style genres -- think modern jewellery on a traditional bride -- to produce looks that turn the assumed on its head.

Hashim Ali

Whenever a really cool fashion editorial or campaign pops up on your explorer page, look past the clothes and the beautiful models and you’ll find that the brains behind the concept and set design will be the inimitable Hashim Ali. Art director, stylist and production designer, Ali’s aesthetic is marked by a combination of fashion and theatre, with his acute attention to detail making him a favourite choice for brands looking to break out of the mould.

Bihamaal Zurqa aka Baemisaal

Bihammal Zurqa, better known by her Instagram handle Baemisaal, has amassed a following over the last two years for her style, looks and her promotion of body positivity. Her Instagram posts are full of her own drawings and illustrations and recently she launched a community called ‘Go Figure My Figure’ -- a space that celebrates different body types and approaches to beauty. Baemisaal is also Pakistan’s first plus size model, who has worked with Lulus Online, among other brands, in the spirit of encouraging more brands to embrace inclusivity.

Samiya Ansari

Samiya Ansari has for long been a go-to name in the fashion world for her styling expertise and for working with mega-celebrities and big fashion brands and sharing her own outfits on her popular “Swear Upon Coco” Instagram page. But what catapulted Ansari to a higher plane of fashion achievements was her role as a stylist for the critically acclaimed film, “Cake,” now streaming on Netflix.

Yasser Abdul Aziz Dar

Eclectic and out of the box, Yasser Abdul Aziz Dar has made his mark on the Pakistani fashion scene both as a stylist and a model who pushes boundaries and embraces the weird. His frequent collaborations with designer Hussain Rehar are particularly unforgettable and he has also worked with other top brands like Sana Safinaz and Republic

Sophiya Salim Khan

An influencer who owns the online high street store Sassy, Sophiya Salim Khan is one to watch out for, with her label filling the gap of offering western styles to Pakistani customers at affordable prices. Khan’s following initially grew on Instagram as a result of her photography skills, which she now frequently employs for her own brand and other companies.


No change in instructions on purchase of foreign currency by banks, clarifies central bank

Updated 22 July 2019
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No change in instructions on purchase of foreign currency by banks, clarifies central bank

  • Some media outlets misinterpreted the updated version of Foreign Exchange Manual, causing confusion
  • Commercial banks cannot replace exchange companies, says Malik Bostan

KARACHI: Pakistan’s exchange companies would continue to play their role in the country’s economy, clarified the State Bank of Pakistan on Monday, noting that there was no change in the instruction on purchase of foreign currency notes by banks who were already allowed to deal in international currencies through authorized branches.
The confusion was caused when some local and foreign media outlets misinterpreted the updated version of the central bank’s instructions in its Foreign Exchange Manual, thinking that the country’s currency exchange companies were being drive out of business and commercial banks were going to assume their role. 
“SBP is in process of revision of Foreign Exchange (FE) Manual in phased manner. In this respect, seven chapters (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 & 20) of FE Manual have been revised and circulated through FE Circular dated November 29, 2018, in the first phase. In phase II, three chapters 8, 9 & 11 have been revised through FE Circular No. 03 of 2019 dated July 16, 2019,” a statement issued by the central bank said. 
One of these revised chapters, 11, includes regulations on “Dealings in Foreign Currency Notes and Coins etc. by the Authorized Dealers (banks).”
“With respect to revised Chapter 11, it has come to our notice that there are some confusions/misinterpretations regarding Para 2 suggesting that SBP has allowed the banks to sell/purchase foreign currencies to/from public by amending the existing regulations,” the SBP said while clarifying that no such amendment had been made.
Currency dealers also said they were playing a vital role for the country’s economy "that cannot be downplayed."
“Banks were already authorized to undertake foreign exchange currency business through authorized branches, but they did not take interest in currency dealing which is evident from the fact that only a few of them established such branches,” Malik Bostan, president of the Forex Association of Pakistan, told Arab News on Monday.
Bostan added that “we are operating on meager profit that commercial banks can’t afford to make.”