Lets be honest, there never really was any, androgyny out in the Pakistani fashion scene. Sure, there’s a picture of Fia Sofia and Rubia Butt trying to look like a man. But that won’t make the cut for androgyny. With androgyny, we mean Tilda Swinton, and David Bowie, and that girl from Katy Perry’s lyric video of Unconditionally where the model looks like Leo DiCap. So you see, it’s a very tricky thing to handle, this androgyny, and when it comes to creating a collection that makes use of such elements, one is treading on thin ice. It’s delicate, and if you slip, you drown. Sure, using androgynous looking models can work, but lets be honest, where do we have that in Pakistan?
So it came as a genuine surprise that the menswear designer Arsalan Iqbal decided to walk on this ice, and that too while making his debut as a womenswear designer as well. He was at the same time, debuting at PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week, so it needed to be a collection that left its mark. And with the concept as such, his Cargwar collection dealt with androgyny and true to the meaning of Cargwar, utility. Utility was an essential part of the collection. And the theme of Odysseus and the concept of it was very artsy.
When I first saw the collection on the ramp, i was left confused and my initial reaction was a direction away from the collection. It took me some time to digest all the monotony of the collection. But this confusion lead me to think a lot about the collection. And as I went through the details of it, is when I understood how truly androgynous the collection really was. The lowers and the upper pieces, when dissected as separates, made it clear how well conceptualized the collection was. It was made for anyone, any girl, and any boy. It had the ability to be worn by both sexes, and it exuded a sort of mysteriousness one would associate with androgyny. White is the perfect colour for that and it was the dominant one in the collection.
The lowers, worn by guys and girls alike and all their various forms; jodhpurs, harem pants, shalwars etc are more in focus for me, as the way they were designed, it kind of resonates with the hipster approach I have towards fashion. It’s skinny, it’s loose, and it’s essentially unique. We rarely get such kinds of lowers in Pakistan for the guys, and even the girls, i assume!
Another factor that got me inclined a lot towards the collection was the use of metallic studs and the rivets. Nothing speaks Punk more than studs/spikes on clothes, and gives of a careless attitude, and along with that, adds a youthful sense to the clothes. It’s good to see designers focusing on the youthfulness of clothes. Yes, the business man has always known to pay to look good, but in this gadget infested youth of today, individuality and labels make a huge part of their lives, and the House of Arsalan Iqbal is catering to us with this collection. As for the older people, you can always go with the tops.
Another thing that the collection highlighted a lot of was the footwear. Man! It was breaking my heart, it was THAT good!
So you see, with a grown fashion industry I am sure that we will get more and more collections that can sell and stick to a theme. With collections as monotonous yet so diverse in characteristic as this, here’s hoping the Pakistani menswear industry grows beyond the staples!
Ramp Images Courtesy: Fasisal Farooqi and his team at Dragonfly