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Pakistan experience of how fashion became a battleground

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The renaissance of fashion is a sign of women’s growing independence, and has fueled the religious right’s ire, a recent article in the Guardian revealed. Excerpts:

In the luxurious surroundings of a top hotel, a parade of glamorous, impossibly slim women walk with gazelle-like grace down the catwalk. Bare midriffs and legs are proudly displayed in intricately embroidered golden fabrics, and there isn’t a veil in sight. This is Pakistan Fashion Week, the jewel in the country’s haute couture crown and an unrivalled glimpse into a creative industry that has surged in recent years. There’s just one thing that’s not quite as you might expect: Pakistan Fashion Week is not in Karachi or Islamabad but in London.

“The religious identity that is given to our country to some extent precedes the cultural identity. Many things that are beautiful in our culture are often suppressed and not prominent to their full extent at times,” says the fashion designer Fahad Hussayn. “There is a clash between the religious right and the cosmopolitan youth.”

In Pakistan itself, the location of fashion shows is rarely publicized in advance and they are subject to strict security measures, meaning that they tend to be held in Europe and Dubai.

The industry has become a battleground between the religious right, desperate to maintain its influence, and the growing strength of young people, particularly the burgeoning middle classes, with women at the forefront of the battle for Pakistan’s cultural identity.

“It’s sad to see the kind of image that Pakistan has in the west. It’s a country that’s full of art, music and creativity and there are lots of talented people here that nobody gets to hear about.

“All we hear about is the political turmoil and the religious issues. Everyone thinks it’s all bombs and burqas,” says Adnan Ansari, the celebrity make-up artist and fashion entrepreneur who eight years ago set up Pakistan Fashion Week (in fact just a weekend, held at the London Hilton on Park Lane).

“People think the women are very oppressed, but we have a very strong cultural identity which is represented by our clothes. It’s not so much about projecting a positive image, but more a case of projecting a real image of what we are.”

The renaissance of Pakistani fashion in the past five years has been the result of a seismic cultural shift where women are becoming more educated and independent with increased access to opportunities in the work place, and many are expressing their new-found socio-cultural freedom and economic power through fashion.

Much of this has been fuelled by the boom in social media – to the chagrin of the religious conservatives who feel they are being influenced more by the Kardashians than the Qur’an.

Fashion accounts for nearly 20% of the country’s exports, and with social media influencers hungry for the next big thing western stars are looking east for inspiration: the supermodel Gigi Hadid hit the headlines in August when she posted a picture of herself on Instagram wearing a traditional Pakistani outfit from the brand Almirah.

“Young women in Pakistan are more educated, well-travelled and independent than ever before,” says Ansari. “Middle-class women are very career-orientated and their spending power is very strong. They are very influenced by western media like Netflix and what they see online.”

The liberal attitude has filtered from the catwalk into colleges via Instagram with many young women choosing to forgo the traditional Pakistani shalwar kameez consisting of tunic and loose trousers for jeans and western styles. Consequently the fashion industry has attracted the ire of the increasingly vocal religious conservatives who see this cultural shift as a threat to their authority.

“Fashion is criticized in our part of the world, where some parts of society are more conservative,” says the designer, Asim Jofa, who is considered the Pakistani equivalent of Gianni Versace, thanks to his regal and geometric embroidery. “Society is becoming more liberal and women are driving this. This change is reflected in our fashion, but it is going to be contentious for some conservatives because it shows their power is waning.”

Sometimes the clash in visions proves more than just contentious. Qandeel Baloch, a model who was regularly targeted for her controversial fashion choices, was murdered by her brother in 2016. Her death came after she revealed that she had a flirtatious meeting with a cleric.

“People want change to come because the religious extremists don’t allow you to feel safe. It is very scary and painful and there is a real divide. Everyone is sick of it,” says the model, Hira Shah, 25. “Pakistan is changing a lot though and if we are going to change mindsets, we have to be strong.”

The trend towards more cosmopolitan fashion is part of a cycle. “Pakistani fashion was very liberal in the 60s and early 70s, but there was a real crackdown on women under General Zia, who stamped a very Islamic-focused identity on Pakistan. Women’s bodies were policed through Sharia law and through the media. This started to change in the 90s, but even today there is still the tension between the religious conservatives and the image of women,” said Amina Yaqin, a senior lecturer in post-colonial studies at SOAS.

“The tension you see now is that women are taking a stance and want the freedom to wear what they want, but it is not freely available to all women because of a complex network of systems such as class, economic mobility and honour issues.

“The new generation from the middle classes are fed up and don’t want to be restricted, and as they become more visible it starts to matter to them. The question is whether this power is real or just being offered for consumption by the fashion industry.”(Guardian)



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Life style

Why is jewellry important in fashion?

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Jewellery has the ability to add beauty and style to you and whatever ensemble you are wearing. Whether it is costume jewellry or fine jewellery it is the wearer’s delight as it further highlights their personality with the look that it adds to your ensemble. You’re all dressed up and on your way out when you glance in the mirror and realize… something is missing. The outfit is flawless and the shoes are perfect, and then you spot it: A gorgeous bib necklace will make you look even better in that dress! Whether you’re on a date with someone sweet or dressing to impress a potential boss, you can use statement je ellery to transform your wardrobe.

“Jewellery has the power to be the one little thing that makes you feel unique.” — Elizabeth Taylor

The human love affair with all things sparkly has a long history Jewellery has always made a fashion statement.

Some of the earliest statement jewellery was found in Egypt. Collar necklaces, dangling earrings, and thick, cylindrical rings were all prevalent in Egyptian jewellery boxes.

The Romans loved their jewels too, but they preferred rings. These rings were made with heavy stones for winter and lighter, more delicate materials for the summer. Regardless of composition, the important characteristic of Roman jewellery was history, not value. As is the case today, in ancient Rome, a bauble could be priced higher if it had an illustrious history behind it.

Coco Chanel began creating her own elaborate jewellery in the 1920s, using crystal or coloured glass in varying sizes as the Egyptians had. Coco is often credited with popularizing the concept of “costume jewellery,” creating seasonal items that mixed real and imitation stones and pearls.

Vivenne Becker, an antique jewellery veteran, talks about “The Cocktail Style” in her book, Fabulous Costume Jewellery: History of Fantasy and Fashion in Jewels. Popular during the ’30s and ’40s, this jewellery era was all about big, jewellered rings, multi-strand pearl necklaces, and extensive use of gilt metal and rose gold. She describes “cocktail jewellery” as “bubbly and extravagant, like the alcoholic concoctions from which it took its name. It was assertive, bossy, jewellery to show off in.”

While making a statement in the ’50s meant throwing on a charm bracelet, jewellery in the ’60s had a bit more punch. Designer Paco Rabanne fully embraced statement jewellery, experimenting with cheap materials like plastic and PVC and using bright colours. He said, “I made jewellery for the alternative side of women’s personality, for their madness.”

It’s a crime to talk about statement jewellery without discussing the woman whose accessories always have something to say: Madeleine Albright. In her book, she tells the stories behind some of her favourite pins. In one tale, she recalls the first pin she wore to send an intentional political message. The pin was a gold snake wrapped around a branch, which she wore after being referred to as an “unparalleled serpent” by the Iraqi press. Dr. Albright still enjoys collecting pins, though she mentions she receives many as gifts

Modern day statement jewellery is big, bold, and full of many elements from previous decades. Today, we love pieces that incorporate the glitz and glam of the ’30s and ’40s, and the colours and materials of the ’60s. Most of all, we love statement jewellery’s eternal ability to make heads turn.

Fashion trends constantly evolve, but jewellery steadfastly remains an accessory that women turn to. Nothing can make an ensemble shine quite like jewellery can. It also makes the perfect statement for self-expression.

Jewellery changes the way your outfit ‘works’. Whether you wear an extravagant ring, or a simple necklace, a statement bracelet or subtle stud earrings, your choice of jewellery has the power to elevate your look to a whole new concept. In fact, fashion designers and jewellers have long since been working together to create various styles. Also, gemstones are no longer simply embellishments – they are pieces of art. Jewellery is definitely a big part of fashion. Here are some reasons why:

New look every day

Love your white shirt and end up wearing it too often? That’s ok! Make it look different each time with different jewellery! For a formal look, pair it with gold studs or drop earrings; for a Boho look throw on some chunky bangles and stack rings, or look casual and laid-back with tassel and pom pom earrings. You can also wear your pieces to match your mood.

Sparks conversations

Certain pieces are called conversation starters for a reason. Bold or quirky, intricate or chunky, such pieces of jewellery naturally draw attention and spark friendly discussions.

Accentuates your personality

Jewellery is a great way to express yourself, so select pieces that match your personal style and personality. It also allows your creativity and individualism to shine through and speak for themselves.

The biggest question probably is, how to choose jewellery that will complement your look, your mood and your personality. Also, how to style the pieces so they will enhance your wardrobe. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you dazzle!

Jewellery styling tips

. Define the focus of your look: jewellery or clothing?

When you start dressing, decide on this first. A simple outfit can be transformed into something spectacular with the right jewellery, or a statement piece. If the focus is on your clothing and it is bold, then choose small, subtle pieces as highlights, such as the Bliss solo stone bracelet with a mother of pearl.

Layer and stack

Experiment with layering your necklaces and stacking your earrings, rings and bangles! Mixing different lengths, shapes, textures and colours and seeing what works is a lot of fun! Layering necklaces of differing lengths can bring focus to your face. You can also stack rings in different gemstone colours or combine ear cuffs with hoops for an interesting look. Mixing your jewellery on your wrist can create a friendly jangle as you move your arm.

Experiment with mixing metals

Wearing a silver necklace? You don’t have to pair it with other silver jewellery as a rule. Contrast your pendant colour with its chain, or stack rings with different metal or gemstone colours. Try the same with your bangles and bracelets. If it looks good and makes you feel confident, just go with it!

Don’t follow trends blindly

Evolve your own style. Whatever accessory you choose, own it, flaunt it, be confident wearing it. Pick jewellery that suits your style, looks good on you and complements your colouring, and mostly, your personality.

Don’t overdo it

When you’re enthusiastic about jewellery, it’s easy to sometimes over-accessorise. So just watch out to make sure you’re not cluttering your look with excess. For instance, if you’re drawing attention to your neckline with a statement choker or layered necklace, don’t stack too many bracelets that compete for attention. Or, if you’re wearing bold pendant earrings, then a simple, matching necklace should be enough – or even no necklace.

How to match jewellery with your outfit

If you’ve ever been stuck wondering what jewellery to pair with which outfit, then this is for you! Just go with these handy hints:

Selecting jewellery

Consider where you’re going and what you’ll be doing, when selecting your jewellery If you’re dressing up for work and will be using your keyboard most of the day, avoid jangling bangles and hanging bracelets. Wear the longer, dressier earrings for formal events and parties and the more flamboyant pieces for casual outings.

Choose jewellery that

complements your skin tone

Jewellery is a great way to highlight your skin tone. Warm skin tones go well with yellow so gold is a good choice. Silver and white gold illuminate natural tones.

Pair busy patterns with

simple jewellery

You get a confused, gaudy look when you marry a busy print with loud, ornate jewellery.

Instead, consider simple, solid pieces.

Highlight your face with

earrings

If you want the spotlight on your face, then don a pair of statement earrings. Go for the flashy, glittering ones that make your eyes sparkle! Also, consider the shape of your face when choosing your earrings. For instance, studs and triangular earrings look best on an oval face.

– ToI

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From runways to red carpets, clogs are making a major comeback

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In case you haven’t noticed, clogs are having a moment – and we’re here for it. These ’90s “it shoes” have been popping up everywhere, from runways (Alaïa, Givenchy and Gucci to name a few), to social media, and even on the red carpet (Justin Bieber wore the Balenciaga Hardcrocs to the Grammy’s.) Although they may seem like a relic of the past, the folkloric footwear have been reimagined time and again with modern twists. This time around, designers chose rubber materials, unconventional colours and cozy textures as some of the ways to update the traditional style.

Even if your aesthetic isn’t all about the ’90s, clogs make the perfect shoes for any occasion they’re stylish and comfortable enough to wear all day long and easy to slide on and off. But they also add an interesting element to jazz up your outfits as the new season starts.

Whether you choose to pair them with a flowery dress or a pair of oversized jeans, there’s something about the quirky slip-ons that people can’t get enough of.

Clogs have emerged as one of the top footwear choices for pandemic living. They function like a slipper (comfortable and easy to get into), but with elevated style (and height) — and soles sturdy enough to wear for hours.

Doctors and nurses rely on them for long shifts, as do chefs and anyone else who stands at work all day.

They look cool, giving off equal parts art teacher, with-it parent, and fashionable ceramicist. Clogs are popular from the stylish ones worn by famous people to the hippie-ish ones preferred by men.

If you’ve seen a celebrity in clogs, chances are those clogs were from No.6. It’s the brand worn by Claire Danes, Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, and Maya Rudolph, who wore several pairs in her Amazon show Forever.

Although No.6 clogs are no longer trendy, they’re not passé either. The brand has become so ubiquitous they’re practically canonized. Its clogs come in a bunch of different styles, including sexy high heels, flat heels and come in different colours and patterns .– Hello

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Life style

How Does Your Sense of Style Change as Your Age?

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Life is an adventure about constant discovery, and the longer you live, the more you learn about yourself. And this is no more evident than in the style of clothing you wear.

As kids and young adults, clothing is about freedom, mobility, and daring to show skin. Fashion choices are riskier and in tune with current trends. At a young age, our personalities and sense of style are not fully formed yet, so a lot of experimentation is to be expected. This is both thrilling and a chore, so enjoy it while it lasts.

Our Growing Sense of Style

As we move into our twenties and thirties, styles become more about personality, a sense of self-promotion, and respectability. Careers are blossoming, date nights are still regular, and hangouts with friends keep the social calendar filled.

Kids also start to enter the picture here and while the social activities may see a decrease, the need for quality fashionable looks does not. Even if your days are spent following the young ones around, dressing up for yourself improves your wellbeing. Get into the fashionable athleisure look that is dominating casual comfort. Casual tees, joggers, and a pair of fashion sneakers elevate your style, improve your mindset, and are still practical for everyday wear.

Movin’ Up in Years

Moving forward into 40’s and 50’s style becomes more sophisticated with key pieces worn exceptionally well for a put-together look. At this point, you will have learned that fashion isn’t about cost per wear but rather joy per wear. It’s important to cast aside the old mantra of when you hit 40 fashion dies. Stick to what you know and experiment with some new styles and you’ll stay in the game for life. A staple tee, pair of shorts, and hat are the perfect summer go-to, at all ages.

From 60’s onward, style changes into comfort with exceptional style. However, you get a second wind of showcasing personality now that there is more time to focus on yourself again without kids or a job in the way. From fancy lip colors to new shoes to bright jackets, women over 60 are finding fashionable accessories to pair with their looks for a fresh and invigorating look.

A Modern Sophisticated, and Stylish Approach to Aging

As you age your sense of style becomes more modern, sophisticated, and stylish in a way that is uniquely you and fits into your lifestyle. However, when so many stores predominantly offer clothes for a more youthful market, it can be hard to find the pieces that your lifestyle requires.

To keep up with style, shift your focus from trending items to fabrics and looks that stand the test of time. Classic white tops, black pants, and a belted dress are a must-have. These choices lead to a more refined look with more sophisticated that make your style timeless no matter what decade we’re in.

A Changing Focus

As your style changes over the years, the appeal of dated and trendy looks diminishes, and rising in its place is a desire for an effortless and classic look to fit a greater variety of occasions. The tendency is to choose styles that distance ourselves from childish appearances, such as the frills and bows of our youth. Styles for more mature audiences focus more on clean lines, well-fitted items, and classic colors and patterns.

Changing Body Shape

One aspect of an evolving style as you age that tends to redefine how we dress is body shape. Body shape changes that occur with age is a natural process of life, especially if kids are in the picture. Your choice of style should complement your beautiful shape, and leave you feeling confident, comfortable, and ready for anything that life throws your way.

This doesn’t mean you need to wear baggy clothing. In fact, wearing well-made, tailored clothing will make you feel most comfortable. Choose styles made of fabrics with a little built-in stretch for more flexibility. Another great option is to choose pieces that are versatile, such as a jean jacket, a tunic top, and the everyday jean. It’s an important facet of changing style as aging occurs to continue to embrace yourself and have confidence in the growing maturing and self-awareness you possess. Be stylish, and be comfortable. But mostly be you and pick clothes that fit into your lifestyle, not the other way around. You’ll be much happier in the end.

Celebrate the Journey

You can tell a lot about someone’s personality and age by their style and choice of dress. Every detail about your presentation communicates something. So it’s important to be aware of this and celebrate yourself and your message as you age. Many changes happen as you go through life from lifestyle to body and even coloring preferences. It’s important to enjoy the process of styling and dressing as you age because it’s a reflection of you and channel for self-expression.

The media might try to tell you that fashion and style all about age. But the truth is that fashion gets even more exciting as you mature, so celebrate your journey.

– Lifestyle Mag.

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