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, 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.
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 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.