Pakistan’s Bold Fashionistas

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When you think of fashion, the first word that comes to mind probably isn’t brave. Here in the United States being a fashion designer may be hard work and may require a tremendous amount of creativity, but it doesn’t necessarily call for courage. In Pakistan, however, the faint-hearted need not apply.

Fashion week in Lahore, Pakistan just came to a close last Friday. The show was a tremendous success, and not only because a bomb didn’t go off. Some designers say that they weren’t even considering a terrorist attack. They brushed off the Western media for asking questions that seemed stereotypical. Not all of Pakistan is made up of terrorist, they reminded the camera crews.

The coordinators of the event were obviously more concerned about security, since intelligence officers and the bomb squad were both present, and the location of the event was not even listed on the invitations. According to one model, death threats were issued before the show. It was the first year in which the government supported the show, and recognized the Pakistan Fashion Design council. The show featured low cut, backless, and sleeveless outfits, showing just as much skin as any Western fashion show might. What was missing however, was the veil. Aamna Isani, a freelance fashion writer, noted that the show and the fashion it produced would only attract a small amount of women in Pakistan, mainly the elite. The irony, she said, was that the audience was more comfortable seeing skin, than the veil. Hopefully with more acceptance, these type of events can incorporate more traditional fashion as well.

Downplaying the statement that the designers and models at this fashion show were making would be a mistake. Before they were women confined to the home, flexing their bored and creative minds. Now they are bold professionals, showing the world their talents, despite the extremely high risk they are taking. Whether it is a woman in Afghanistan getting up every morning to educate herself, or a woman in Pakistan breaking the walls of a social taboo, it is a commendable act for them to exercise the freedom to pursue their dreams. Even in the most high-risk areas of the world.

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