Fashion feature: Youthquake
Our youth holds the promise of a better tomorrow with the potential to drastically turn things around. Pakistan has many issues to deal with — education, employment, homeland security, etc — but there is light at the end of the tunnel thanks to its young generation.
Fashion’s economy is booming at a time when all else seems to suffer regression. It is probably the only industry in Pakistan that is growing by leaps and bounds in times of economic desperation, and the main reason behind it is that looks define both professional and social success, and both men and women are becoming increasingly aware of the kind of image they project.
To greet this phenomenon there has been a sudden boom of fresh, new talent in fashion design as well as redefined aesthetics by the old guard. Where we had veterans with their fashion vision for Gen-Y, we now have young designers stepping in and catering to the needs of their generation to create outfits that they would wear themselves.
Young designers have a fantastical take on fashion, their collections regularly appear in multiple fashion weeks, shows and get featured in monthly fashion glossies. These newcomers are armed with the entrepreneur skills and with world fashion a mere click away, they receive a staple diet of fresh ideas from international designer markets via the internet which serve the purpose of mentor, tutor and a platform to international acclaim.
Fashion has opened countless vistas for Pakistan’s Gen-Y. One of the many accomplishments is that it has taught them how to channel creative output into mainstream business and production, and to reap lush dividends. These young hands are keen to start their own businesses rather than take up hard-to-come-by 9 to 5 jobs. In both Lahore and Karachi, there is an outpouring of designs for the youth as popular fashion trends increasingly focus on teens and those in their late 20s, 30s and early 40s.
Case in point: the latest fashion trends that have caught on in a big way include fitted churidars, multi-paneled long shirts, hugging, tight-bottom jeans worn under loose, flowy tops in indigo, purple and shades of neon. These are banners for the young generation who express themselves through fashion.
Moreover, with a new world order emerging thanks to the social media, both the sexes are now more comfortable around each other and in each other’s company. Merchandising has come to realise this potential and as a result we now have designers working simultaneously in menswear and women’s wear, as well as unisex fashion.
Menswear remains the new, emerging market for designers and having fully realised this, more and more of them are now designing collections for men. Metrosexuality, it seems, is the new buzz word in local fashion. Also, international designer products, keeping at par with global trends, are now launching unisex goods such as cosmetics, hair care, skincare and fragrances to cater to a wide consumer base. It’s only natural for our entrepreneurs to jump on the bandwagon and start cashing in on the popular fashion and lifestyle trends.
Fashion for youth spans a spectrum of formals, semi-formals and casuals in fabrics as varied as georgettes, chiffons, silks, etc, for women’s wear and cotton with mixed fiber for men.
The common theme running through it remains the palette as the youth never shy away from experimenting with bold, new colours considered taboo by their older counterparts. Also making up for lost time, drastic innovation is cuts and pattern has started to edge into menswear with more and more designers adopting a sober approach in design sensibility and philosophy, besides fabric texture and fitting.
Accessorising, too, plays an important part to spruce up an outfit, be it a belt or a buckle, an earring or a pendant, a ring or a wristwatch, a stiletto or a moccasin. The Gen-Y style is fast becoming a viable commodity to cash in on, and for their part our youth are always on the lookout for good bargains during shopping sprees.
Rest assured, with celebration and festivity just round the corner fresh new trends will soon emerge and catering to them designers with their eye on the fashion pulse of the youth will keep the wheels of fashion turning and prêt will bloom to its full glory.