Beyond the colourful details

Beyond the colourful details
Sumayya Naz Nagi

Sumayya Naz uses fashion as her voice to communicate with the world and discusses how Pakistani fashion is escalating to greater heights

By Ayisha Alka

Published: Wed 14 Aug 2019, 4:40 PM

Last updated: Wed 14 Aug 2019, 6:43 PM

Trying on a forever 21 sequined top along with a typical Pakistani lehenga skirt, Sumayya waltzed across the crowd, attracting passersby with her unique Eastern-Western look. She laughs as she receives a look of surprise when she responds to their puzzling question of where she purchased her Indian wear.
"They can never tell," she said with a gleam in her eye as she passionately discusses how fashion helped her open up to people more, being a conversation starter for most of her early years.
The Pakistani fashion enthusiast manages to balance academics and her passion successfully, hoping to convert her interest in fashion into a profession in the future with her business degree.
Sumayya Naz Nagi describes herself as an introvert growing up, and that she used fashion as a medium of communication between people. "I realised that I have this talent that I could use for my benefit. So, I started learning how to sew things and I would just walk into any shop, observe a design and come back and try to mimic that and make it myself. It went from that to me transforming things to always flipping whatever I buy and then giving it my own touch. And people would always ask about it. So that made me open up as a person. That made me more confident," she said.
Pakistani fashion
Sumayya admires the beauty of Pakistani fashion for its variety of colours, simplicity and elegance. Shalwars vary a great deal in the area - from the Balochi butti shalwar to the shalwar kameez, nationalities beyond Pakistanis prefer to don a shimmering or relatively simple outfit based in the country. "For me, Pakistani fashion is the most beautiful kind of fashion there is because it covers a variety, just like the language Urdu which is a mixture of all different languages. I feel like our style is also a mix of a lot of different cultures and styles."
When asked about whether Pakistani fashion stands out of the crowd, Sumayya agrees without a doubt - from simple home wear to outdoor clothing, the region's beautiful play of designs revives life to the fashion scene in Pakistan. Bridal wear in itself boasts of its detail work, embroidery, and beadwork, making it unique and something that possibly no other country and culture would have, according to her.
Sumayya feels that fashion in Pakistan was not given much of a spotlight a decade ago - however, it has increasingly become accepting as a profession and the Pakistani fashion industry is flourishing with new concepts to offer.
She said: "10 years ago, there were barely any brands people were familiar with - people were just wearing whatever. Now, the Pakistani industry is almost saturated from all the brands that have just come up. It's a topic that is widely discussed about and is a topic of conversation for not just women, but men too."
Challenges are inevitably faced by Pakistani designers today, as only a few names are popularised in the market. However, on the other side of the coin, the aspiring designer wonders if she could introduce certain changes in the fashion world, if she ever had the opportunity.
Sumayya thinks that every fashion brand brings a different design to the table. "Today's problems in the fashion industry includes catering to just one specific niche - they're either doing that and only making clothes affordable for people who can spend a lot, or they're just making it very generic in the sense that they're not catering to people's requirements."
Making clothes customisable and suitable for everyone is also a goal that Sumayya thinks contemporary fashion labels must achieve.
She adds on a serious note: "I would like to make a system where something that I see for a size 8 person can also be altered and made into the size for a size 18 person. Because I feel that it is something we're missing. I've had so many cousins and friends that would go out shopping with me and they would like a specific design, but it would only be available smaller sizes. I feel really bad about it because they really like it, but it's just not available."
With upcoming trendy styles and fashion models growing their career base on Instagram and other social media platforms, Sumayya thinks one must offer something unique in the industry - whether it is fusion fashion, playing of monochromatic colours or bringing in out-of-the-box ideas. She advises: "Don't get molded into what's already happening. Everyone should have their own unique style. Everyone should come with something unique to offer. Because there's way too much repetition."

Top 3 fashion tips by Sumayya
Accessorise. The right pair of jhumkies can glam up the right outfit.
Don't go overboard when dressing up. If the dupatta is heavy, let the rest of the outfit be plain.
Go fusion. Find something that's eastern and pair it up with a western outfit.

More news from
Fed sharpens inflation-fighting tools as rate hikes near


Fed sharpens inflation-fighting tools as rate hikes near

With the Omicron variant of Covid-19 adding to economic uncertainty and fuelling a spike in consumer prices rose not seen for decades, the Fed’s decision Wednesday will be closely scrutinised for signs policymakers will take more aggressive steps to contain inflation

Economy2 hours ago