Influencers: The young Pakistanis remixing the fashion industry

Updated 25 June 2019

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.

Pakistani jailed for Dutch anti-Islam MP murder plot

Updated 18 November 2019

Pakistani jailed for Dutch anti-Islam MP murder plot

  • A Dutch court found the 27-year-old guilty of ‘planning a murder with a terrorist motive’
  • The judge added four years in jail to the six years sought by the prosecution

THE HAGUE: A Dutch court sentenced a Pakistani man to 10 years behind bars Monday for planning to assassinate a politician Geert Wilders after the MP announced an anti-Islam cartoon competition.
The man, identified as Junaid I. by local media, was arrested in August 2018 at a train station in The Hague after he posted a film on Facebook in which he said he wanted to “send Wilders to hell” and urged others to help.
Judges at The Hague’s district court found the 27-year-old man, who had traveled from France, guilty of “planning a murder with a terrorist motive” and “incitement to commit a terrorist deed.”
“The suspect more than once said that Wilders’ death would be a good deed,” said presiding judge Jan van Steen, who added four years in jail to the six years sought by the prosecution.
“Furthermore, the suspect wanted to commit the murder in one of the parliamentary buildings, the heart of Dutch democracy,” Van Steen said, adding “the court is alarmed that the suspect... declared that this case will boost his image in Pakistan.”
The suspect had denied any terror-related motives.
He said during the trial that he was “peace-loving” and had only traveled to the Netherlands from France to protest against Wilders’ cartoon competition.
The Facebook video was seen by more than 153,000 people and shared 14,000 times.
Far-right leader Wilders canceled his plans two days later to stage a cartoon competition against the Prophet of Islam, a move that angered many Muslims, particularly in Pakistan where protests were led by the hard-line Islamist Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan party.
Wilders, 56, known for his peroxide bouffant hairdo and firebrand anti-immigration and anti-Islamist statements, lives in a safe house and has been granted 24-hour protection by the Dutch state.
The court did not say how Junaid I. planned to kill Wilders but found that in a bugged phone call after his arrest he said he took “specific things with him... without which his mission would not be complete.”
He had also walked round with a “large backpack, which he did not have when he was arrested” and lied about what it contained, the judges said.
A day after Wilders announced the cancelation, an Afghan man stabbed two American tourists at Amsterdam’s main train station. The man, who said he wanted to “protect the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH),” was last month sentenced to 26 years in jail.