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Compiled by Ghazala Tikki Zaman
Compiled by Ghazala Tikki Zaman

Pakistani women still prefer personalised stitched wear over ready-made garments

Published: Sun 22 Mar 2020, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Mon 23 Mar 2020, 1:00 AM

Pakistan is renowned for its fashion scene with big names making headlines on international platforms. There are also a number of young budding designers that continuously contribute fresh concepts to the fashion world.
The charm of buying from souks and small vendors remains a significant part of women's lives, especially for those who enjoy the thrill of bargaining while sipping on freshly brewed tea served by enthusiastic shop keepers. These modest shops are more than happy to cater to the experience, as they sprawl their merchandise out for all. One can easily spend endless hours viewing pieces without the pressure of making a purchase.
Pakistani fabric vendors offer a large variety of materials that are high in quality and aesthetically pleasing. Pakistani tailoring shops are bustling and offer women the delight of having their clothes made to measure. Pakistani tailors surpass others from the rest of the world, with exquisite embroidery skills and fine cuts that are unmatched.
Although readymade garments from boutiques are in trend, the joy of having well-fitted outfits, customised to oneself is still a big part of fashion-conscious women. Pakistani tailors take great pride in their work and have kept the skill of fine stitching and "made-to-measure" clothes alive.
Channeling a passion for fashion
Kuli Jume by Huma Yahya is an online platform featuring contemporary fusion designs, where East meets West
Huma Yahya is a young fashion enthusiast who loves colours and fabric. Her passion for dressing women in chic yet affordable clothes inspired her to launch her label, Kuli Jume. The story of Kuli Jume is interesting, as it started in Dubai and grew on to become popular across the UAE and in Pakistan.
With a strong interest in fashion, Yahya pursued the field, despite the degree she was enrolled in. Designing clothes is something that has been very close to her heart, so after completing her Master's degree in Business Administration from London, she channelled her energy into fusion fashion where East meets West. Her first designs were displayed on her Facebook page in 2012.
Yahya currently has a team of skilled tailors in Pakistan and works closely with the head designer. The finished pieces are available for purchase through their official website, Kuli Jume.
To date, the brand has participated in a number of Dubai-based exhibitions where the clothes have received much appreciation and demand.
Yahya takes pride in designing casual and semi-formal wear, and firmly believes that women should wear what defines them and draws out their inner confidence, and this does not necessarily mean opting for big brands.
Yahya finds designing clothes for a multi-cultural city like Dubai a very vibrant yet challenging landscape. She enjoys weaving her love for eastern Pakistani designs into a modern chic line of clothing, and find joy in working with silks and pearls. Her love for both is often represented across exquisite pieces of clothing.
Living in a country as diverse as the UAE, Yahya feels that the multi-cultural environment gives her a lot of liberty when it comes to designing outfits. With an eye on the international market, Yahya hopes to showcase the beauty of Pakistani design and fabrics to the world.
Yahya will soon launch a summer lawn collection.
An icon of elegant wear
Al Shal Al Fiddi by Sarwat Murad brings sophisticated trends to the forefront
Murad exudes elegance and has dressed many women in the UAE with the latest trends. She is the owner of Al Shal Al Fiddi, which is a tailoring and embroidery shop in Karama. After Murad moved to Dubai in 1980 with her family, she started Al Shal Al Fiddi as a venture with her friend, then later became its sole owner in 1992.
She enjoys designing and over the years taken a step further to transition her skills into creating elegant cuts and stitching. With an eye for textiles, she spends a lot of time looking for ideal materials to bring her designs to life. She taught herself to cut and stitch various fabrics in order to understand the various aspects of design and materials. In line with the demand for machine embroidery, she also demonstrates impressive skills in the art form and trained her assistants on perfecting its finer details.
According to Murad, there is currently a great demand for made-to-measure clothes. Despite the younger generation turning to purchasing items off the racks from boutiques, there is a good number of people that prefer tailored clothes.
To date, Murad has a 250-strong loyal clientele, most of whom hail from India that share a strong fondness for Pakistan fashion and its talented tailors.
"With a global spread of subcontinent people, we have a large international client base. They tend to visit Dubai for a week or so, and give in outfit requests while here. My team then couriers the finished goods to them," she said.
Murad said that there is currently a growing market for fusion wear, which inspired her to specialise in embroidered jackets and pants.
"They are very popular and I spend a lot of time creating each unique piece," she added.
Al Shal Al Fiddi is a delight for fashion-conscious women and Murad welcomes clients, offering them elegantly designed wear as per their desire within their budget.
A hidden trove of colours
Ziam brings Pakistan's latest fashion trends to the heart of Dubai
Ziam is a popular haunt for elegant ladies looking for the best fabric and materials from Pakistan. Set in the heart of Meena Bazaar, Ziam was established some 20 years ago and has seen the changing trends in fashion.
Mohammad Zakir Siddiqui and Mohammad Abdullah Sarfaraz are the faces behind the brand, who have witnessed the change in women's preferences. Aside from having a colourful stock of cotton and silks, they also bring materials designed by the top designers from Pakistan. The striking features of their shop is their welcoming smile and eagerness to please every customer.
Although some customers may be demanding - from bargaining for best prices to endless hours spent choosing options - Siddiqui says that Ziam is happy to serve them, often with a hot cup of tea to keep them going.
The holy month of Ramadan is one of the busiest times for the shop, as fabrics and materials are in high demand with the oncoming of Eid festivities. However, according to Siddiqui, the shop is busy all year round as women love to buy materials from one of the finest choices in the market. He added that its collection is equally popular among women from India and Bangladesh.
The owner of the brand, Mohammad Naeem Hashmat, is based in Karachi and makes sure that the shop is well-stocked with latest trends from Pakistan. With a finger on the pulse of fashion, Ziam has kept up with the latest demands and desires of modern times.
From design to reality
Mashkoor Ahmed specialises in bespoke men and women wear through Qaws Al Matar
Mashkoor Ahmed, co-owner of Qaws Al Matar, has been in Dubai in the tailoring business for the last nine years. He was 17 years old when he had first discovered a talent for the art and sought to develop the form. During this time, he had come across a number of obstacles, including being told he would never make it as a tailor. He took this on as a challenge and soon transitioned into a bespoke men's tailor. Now, a textile painter, calligrapher and designer, Ahmed expanded his training to include women's tailoring.
Ahmed enjoys unique and complex designs and has the ability to transform them into beautiful outfits. As bespoke tailoring involves a longer process, he has noticed more customers opting for readymade clothes, leading to a shortage of good workers. However, he is confident that tailoring shops will continue to flourish due to its impressive versatile nature.
For Qaws Al Matar, Ahmed sources materials straight from Pakistan and has a stunning variety of silk, voile and cotton, among others. His clients are from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, many of whom are loyal to his shop.
"As long as Pakistani dramas are viewed worldwide, I see the love for Pakistani fashion growing very strong. Customer often bring pictures from shows and request us to make the same. Pakistani designs have evolved in the past decade become more tailored and clean cut. More non-Pakistanis are showing an increased preference for Pakistani designs," he said.
Ahmed dreams of becoming a designer with his own fashion line.

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