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A talk down the fashion lane

Britis­h Counci­l hosts progra­mme featur­ing sessio­ns with UK-based fashio­n expert­s

Roy stated that people should think outside the box and take charge of their brands. PHOTOS: PUBLICITY

Roy stated that people should think outside the box and take charge of their brands. PHOTOS: PUBLICITY

KARACHI: As the gene pool of the local fashion scene continues to grow in diversity, the British Council hosted ‘Fashion DNA Pakistan’, an event focused on relaying a better understanding of the business, one that’s in line with international standards. Organised at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, the programme featured sessions with fashion experts from the United Kingdom.

Fashion consultant Toby Meadows helmed the talk on ‘How to Setup and Run a Fashion Label’. “We may disagree but the world doesn’t need more fashion designers,” he said, commenting on how critical it is to have a clear vision. He added that one should know exactly where one’s headed prior to starting a business in the industry. “I’m not talking about brands such as Gucci, but about small retailers who don’t realise what exactly they want to do.”

Emphasising the need for small-scale businesses to develop a far-sighted corporate strategy, Meadows said what sets a label apart from others is how entrepreneurs envision it to be known as — an unprecedented fashion house or just a label that mints money. Drawing distinction between a fashion label and a brand, he stated, “A fashion house must be so [aware of its own identity] that it can be considered a brand.” He cited the example of Walt Disney, saying, “The brand has been delivering on its aim of making dreams a reality. It’s not just a brand now. It’s a lifestyle.”

On what’s expected to be seen from Pakistani designers on a global level, Meadows said, “People in general want to see ethnic bangles, how they’re designed and the history behind them,” stating that the same presumably applies to local outfits. According to Meadows, the brand’s slogans, such as Nike’s ‘Just Do It’, play a part in promoting the design house.

He noted that in order to flourish, a design house needs to be relevant and innovative, should educate customers and stick to a fixed pattern. “Play to your strengths, form relationships and be thoughtful leaders. Change doesn’t happen on its own.”

Rebekah Roy, a fashion stylist based in London, spoke about ‘How to Create a Killer Fashion image’. “Everyone these days aspires to become a stylist, just like everyone in the 1960s desired to be a stewardess,” she quipped. “Styling is very personal and requires every single detail about the individual to be known,” she added. She called for people to think outside the box. “Step outside of your comfort zone and take charge of your brand,” she added.

For the stylist, who gives advice to her clients while taking into account their personal style quotient, “One needs to know how to recreate an ensemble and a person’s style.” Concluding the talk, Roy said, “Exploring every market isn’t a good idea. Shoots that will add value to your design house should be placed in magazines, targeting the specified readers’ mindset. This reveals the true message behind the brand.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 6th, 2015.

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