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'Islamabad's first-ever fashion week to change the way people think of Pakistan'

January 25, 2011 - Islamabad

Pakistan is set to create history by holding the "Islamabad fashion week" for the first time, with its organisers hoping that the four-day fashion show will prove there is also a 'bright side' to the country, which has recently been in news for all the wrong reasons.

"Islamabad fashion week will change the way people think of Pakistan," The Guardian quoted Kamran Sani, one of the directors of Excellent Events and Entertainment, the company behind the extravaganza, as saying.

"There is a bright side to Pakistan, which is modern, secular and upwardly progressive. No one bothers to see that side - they see the Taliban, bomb blasts, floods, poverty. But Pakistan is alive and kicking and the time has come for our fashion industry to go global. The west needn't be so surprised - global culture has fully crept in to Pakistan and our fashion designers are brilliant," Sani added.

"There's this idea that Pakistan couldn't possibly have a fashion scene, that it's poverty-stricken and full of economic and social problems," said Manchester-based fashion writer Nazma Noor, who blogs at "But people forget there are a lot of very rich Pakistani people who are incredibly fashion-forward - in terms of Asian fashion, the UK is always behind Pakistan."

As would be expected, security is tight for the fashion week, which starts on Thursday at the Serena, a luxury hotel popular with foreigners. Guests are strictly by invite only, and include fashion journalists from Paris, Russia, Ukraine and Switzerland.

"Everyone is worried about their security in Pakistan," said Andleeb Rana Farhan, editor-in-chief of Pakistani fashion monthly Xpozi. "But these 'by invitation only' events tend to be secure. Besides, life moves on, and as a fashion editor I'll go wherever I need to."

Whether or not traditionalist mullahs will be up in arms over models strutting their stuff down a catwalk remains to be seen, as too do Sani's optimistic claims that the fashion week will turn Islamabad into one of the world's fashion capitals, said the report, adding that the fashion industry, however, remains defiant.

"There's definitely a lot of uncertainty in the air and a war between 'them' and 'us' - them being the mullahs, and us being the open-minded liberals who want a change," said Farhan.

"The latter have come to a point where they've stopped giving a damn and just want to have a good time. The Pakistani fashion industry is on a roll," Xpozi's editor-in-chief added.


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