2016 was for work, by that I mean my day job. As the term ‘professional blogger’ is an urban myth no such thing exists. While I continued to post vile and often careful worded sarcasm instead of accusations on Instagram, blog here took a backseat. This year I also dabbed my toes into print with Momina Sibtain’s T-Edit, a piece or two in Instep, Hello Pakistan and others.
Print vs Blogger debate continued the petty shade from the former, but in this day and age of impending obsolescence of print and journalists’ insecurity due to irrelevance. I don’t blame em. Having said that it has come to my realization that a pretty IT-girl good for nothing employed by Print still trumps a blogger who can write, style and more.
Continuing with Pinterest Pandora of innocent borrowing that started with Sapphire in 2015 and escalated to foreign artists asking for fair compensation. It is noteworthy that interestingly it’s not the journalists and bloggers sending these copies to people like me but rather their friends and fellow designer colleagues feeding posts.
Ajrak, Rajhastani mirror work, long tunics resembling Kameezes. Cultural Misappropriation continued to thrive with diarrhea of the design and constipation of the ideas. I even wrote about it in Amna Haider Isani’s Instep. With Forever 21, Louis Vuitton, Moschino and Urban Outfitters all having a field day ; our local designers had affairs and stillborns with Sabyasachi.
At PSFW 2016, one of Zara Shahjahan’ s indie bohemian sacks for the homeless pregnant women verged too close to Misha Lakhani’s piece and was called out by Salima Feerasta of Karachista, to which the designer vaguely responded to being unaware as she doesn’t operate out of Khi. But it wasn’t a one off as the year progressed, we saw Zara ShahJahan‘s Pret SS 2016 off shoulder tops resembling those of Zara SS 2016. I was hoping for a battle of wits but they all appear to be unarmed.
Whereas at FPW SS 2016 Natasha Kamal was called out by Haiya Bokhari of Instep( an industry first) for her shoddy rendition of Columbian designer Johanna Ortiz, but it worthy of mention she has given tributes to foreign designers in not so distant past. Serially unoriginal Amna Aqeel didn’t finch either with her AliBaba version of Zuhair Murad’s SS 2014 collection. An year or two back some credible ones thought both of them were a siren, but they turned out more like a false alarm it seems.
Bridals in 2016 were on a laxative where #hashtag brides changed more clothes than a Yash Chopra movie song, making bigwigs frown in closed quarters but they were happily lapped up on magazines’ Instagram citing popular choice. Just conveniently blame the circus on bloggers that it. It is safe to say that there were more Elan and Faraz Manan copies than joras they both collectively produced. Farah Fatima a debutante at PSFW 2016 was a one off to copy Nomi Ansari‘s Harlequin patterned lehenga though.
Elan’s Palais Indochine solo show walked the cautious line of traditionalism and was splendid at it but there was a huge hue and cry in private chats by editors/designers over few of its menswear pieces’ uncanny resembles to Rohit Bal’s ICW 2015 collection. Whereas rival Sana Safinaz merely misappropriated design reference in their silk print collection, confuse if you can’t convince as they say.
After the roaring success of fast fashion model of Sapphire, Khaadi and Agha Noor, designs ended up becoming as sharp as rolling ball. Accolades and lack of critical acclaim didn’t matter because the money keeps rolling in. Some drink from the fountain of knowledge, but most highstreet brands seem to have just gargled.
On the flipside what is critical acclaim where so called bastions of credibility continue to show promise of originality for brands like Rema Luxe and Maheen G Taseer where they both continued to copy Valentino Couture, Forever 21, Astha Narang and even highstreet copier Dollhouse xoxo.
So miraculous So Kamal also continued to bridge the gap between Pakistan and Italy, the brand smells the coffee, but can’t find the pot / a cup. From Dolce & Gabbana‘s palm leaf print to the zesty lemons you want it you got it.
Then there were high-street copies of Dolce and Gabbana‘s blue Majolica bags and Chanel espadrilles, Giuseppe Zanotti sandals by Shoe Planet, Gucci gold shoes by Soma; then there were Louboutin– inspired gold embroidered shoes by Mohsin Naveed Ranjha.
But it really hits below the belt when even fashion photography concepts become too copied to cope up with.
As I wrap up 2016, I must say nothing in fashion is sacrosanct. With fashion writers choosing to focus on what will sell, trend or keep relationships intact, the power of fashion journalism seems stuck in this proverbial shoe-box. I am certainly not a canary in a coalmine nor do I plan/claim to ride the moral high horse.
So dear writers/bloggers the next time you sit down to write even a caption think about the impact it’ll have on the reader. Will you start a dialogue, express an opinion or will you just roll out another generic one for frequent posting sake?