Politics and Fashion

Between mindless array of fashion weeks and presentations in Pakistan. Few make sense and even fewer designers end up doing sales. Just by the start of this year 2013 Karachi Fashion Week took place, fortunately for event management company they didn’t invite any bloggers otherwise they would have been tattered by our vicious review of  bad clothes presented and gross mismanagement of the event. Banal is one word, clothes were downright awful. Only 2 or three at max grabbed my attention. Since menswear happens to be my forte, Munib Nawaz’s ‘Renegades of the Funk’  collection certainly stood out for me.

famous printed kurtas

There are not a lot of designers who understand the fact that fashion doesn’t always have to be this fairy tale oh-so-good fantasy; at times it has to reflect  gruesome conditions and even provoke a nasty debate. And Munib Nawaz’s collection certainly did that it had strong military influence with liberal use of camouflage and army greens. The step that really pushed the envelope were the images of political figures printed on some pieces and the clever use of  masks that connoted a rebellious and often borderline violent activism.There were some really good options in white kurtas and some really nifty separates in army green and khakis. Best thing  about his collections has always been that they are are extremely practical and wearable with just the right amount of boldness not all couture crazy costumes for Gaga.

It is strange that a lot of people might just consider it a publicity fluke but it is the very apathy about politics in our society(including fashion and art folks) that has led to such dismal conditions.We as a community increasingly need to have dialogue about politics.I remember when John Galliano did a couture collection for Christian Dior in Spring 2006 he explained the gory blood splattered ensembles by  referencing French Revolution that inspired him, why can’t our designers come out of their lavish lawns and bridal madness?

If  your response as a consumer of this fashion content is that you are not interested in politics, I would conclude my post with a quote by a German writer Betolt Brecht:

“The worst illiterate is the political illiterate, he doesn’t hear, doesn’t speak, nor participates in the political events. He doesn’t know the cost of life, the price of the bean, of the fish, of the flour, of the rent, of the shoes and of the medicine, all depends on political decisions. The political illiterate is so stupid that he is proud and swells his chest saying that he hates politics. The imbecile doesn’t know that, from his political ignorance is born the prostitute, the abandoned child, and the worst thieves of all, the bad politician, corrupted and flunky of the national and multinational companies.”


6 responses to “Politics and Fashion

  1. seeing munib nawaz’s clothes, he has done some way better stuff that this. A political statement or any statement for that matter can be made aesthetically too, which however this did not seem to be. Badly designed, the collection did nothing for the designer nor made an impressive statement leaving a bad taste in mouth and making me doubtful of how campy will munib go next.

    • I agree with your feedback a great deal. but my point of writing this all was to highlight the growing importance of having meaningful fashion that starts a dialogue.

  2. when it comes to fashion, i feel kinda bad for you guys. remember the matchy matchy prints for men and women by hsy? and dress numa kurtas as bridal week? being a woman it’s crazy enough to see another woman wearing the same clothes as you, but to see a guy wearing the same outfit…. *dies*

    • HAHA thank you sympathising with us. Although I have yet to meet a guy who wears those prints from HSY. A printed shirt for beach yeah maybe but those kurtas are still a far cry.

      But the question still remains should fashion reflect a society’s political conditions? And are people in fashion and media increasingly growing apathetic to politics?

  3. well the misery with Pakistan, and Pakistanis is that this nation has a blind following trait, ever since I’ have came to known. ( bhair chaal). there was time we never had fashion shows let apart fashion week, multilabels, magazines were only 4 of them and no fashion tv and millions of facebook pages selling couture.nowadays we have a million of such thing and a million others in the pipeline. , what lacks is creativity, marketability and the balance between practicality . Every person who has 5 million to invest opens up a multilabel , Lahore, Islamabad , Karachi and now even in Faisalabad , Sialkot, Peshawar and all a group of friends with no academics in paparazzi , journalism, or fashion conscience come up with fashion magazines both print and e. magazines.and than the never ending fashion weeks from PFDC Sunsilk FW, L’oreal Bridal week, Bridal couture style 360 fashion week, to Karachi fashion week, to Islamabad fashion week to Pakistan Fw London and the list will add more and more and more and more . hope your are able to count at least!.participation fee ranging from rupees zero for the well connected one to 1 lac’s- 2 lac’s and 3.5 lac’s . but what happens next are there any fashion buyers, fashion connoisseurs, authentic fashion critiques or simply clients that is a question far or less too controversial. what I simply do not understand is that when these fashion designers can’t simply convert there fashion collections into profits how come they go on for participating on and on and on and on .

    moral of the story simply blind following and humongous amount of quantity while undermining quality.

    • Hello Mysm,
      Thank you for your lengthy response. I appreciate your views but I disagree on some aspects, there are good and bad people in every industry and the absurdity of these countless fashion weeks is indeed unbearable.
      As for how they survive well the fashion shows only present the inspiration or a preview of their design aesthetic most of them make money by selling commercial pieces like suits and sherwanis in menswear.
      At the end of the day it is a market economy only the fittest will survive.

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