Asian Institute of Fashion Design in Pakistan: female design students in the spotlight
Umair Ahmed Siddiqui
Modern Tokyo Times
The Asian Institute of Fashion Design (http://www.aifd.edu.pk/) in Pakistan is a place where culture, creativity, new innovation, technology, and deep rooted skill, is interwoven into the fabric of the ethics of this important institute. This highly acclaimed institution for education is the leading Fashion and Textile Design institute in Pakistan and the reputation is fully deserved.
Also, the Asian Institute of Fashion Design (AIFD) is located in a prime location in the buzzing city of Karachi. Year after year this institute prepares and nurtures the crème de la crème of students involved in the fashion sector and enhances “new skills” and “new thinking,” while listening and considering each individual. At the same time the institute also prepares students to meet the demands of a sector which is forever changing in the textile and international fashion industry. Therefore, the AIFD focuses on expertise in the technical area and excellence and these factors are integral to the training at this esteemed institute.
The outcome of all this is that students are prepared for not only the competitive nature of fashion in Pakistan but also to compete internationally. Globalization is a reality in this industry and the AIFD understands the need to install confidence, innovation, technical expertise, and other vital areas, in order that success is made once entering the business world. Also, the AIFD understands that their lofty reputation can only be maintained, just like all institutions internationally, providing that students enter the market with all the right credentials and attributes.
The government of Pakistan understands the importance of the export industry with regards to expertise and professional skill. Therefore, professional training institutes were set up throughout the nation in order to support this very powerful area. In order to meet such high ambitions the Iqra University was established in Karachi in 1988.
This initiative proved highly successful and today you have campuses thriving all over Pakistan and this can be felt internationally because of the global standards which have been met.
Management at Iqra University knew that the fashion sector would continue to grow substantially in Pakistan and the same applied to the export market. However, in order to meet the demands of this ultra-competitive sector it was vital to focus on innovation and expertise in the fashion and textile design sector. The upshot of all this was that in January 2000, Iqra University in Karachi enlarged the discipline spectrum to meet the demands of an ever changing world. Therefore, the AIFD was founded and based on providing a unique training educational center which would be based on high technical competence and professional excellence.
The article today will highlight the great success of the AIFD by focusing on students who have extreme creativity and different passions. It will also become clear that the students highlighted in this article have different ambitions and that they are utilizing their unique talents. At the same time, all students are growing in confidence, skills, and deep knowledge of vital areas which will “set them apart from the crowd.”
Students highlighted focused on diverse themes and displayed individualism and professionalism. This applies to unique textile prints, mix media, off loom techniques, sublime textured weaves, patch work, and other areas, and this can be seen by the displays on show in this article.
1. Ms. Saba Pirani
Saba Pirani took the theme of “Mazaar culture.” Ms. Saba wrote in her synopsis that “It is difficult to create imagination beyond the limits and mold it according to the desire and similarly Mazaar Culture was a challenge to me to create unique and unmatchable designs. On my way from Karachi to the interior I found Mazaar culture pretty appealing, colorful and different from our everyday life. I worked on different elements and areas of the theme and produced a series of designs.
“I explored different printing techniques and incorporated design techniques such as embroidery and applique in my designs on different surfaces. My end products are quality bags.”
2. Ms. Bushra Shaheen
Bushra Shaheen comments that “This research is an attempt towards the promotion of Moroccan tiles. No matter which way you choose, you will be able to enjoy the cultural and artistic value of their designs and patterns. By putting several pieces of these Moroccan ceramic tiles together different patterns can be created as they all have symmetrical patterns.”
“It actually depends on how creative you want to be to arrange them. The big bold motifs with all the bright colors can create the detailed designs.”
3. Ms. Bisma Raheem
The next student Bisma Raheem is fascinated by the richness of many old buildings and during her early years of studying design this area influenced her. Indeed, when asked to select a theme for a future collection it seemed only natural that old buildings would influence her thinking. Therefore, the more Bisma Raheem took images of old buildings and doing background research, the more her fascination deepened.
The upshot of this is that Bisma Raheem selected stunning architecture which was historical throughout Karachi. In this sense, she was building her own “walk of heritage” in Karachi and given the rich history of the area this made perfect sense. This meant that you had fusions of Venetian styles based on the gothic period with that of traditional stones used in Karachi. The color scheme also blended because of the grey and red sand stones and limestone with its yellowish appeal working magically together.
4. Ms. Qurat ul Ain
Qurat ul Ain focused on different areas because she comments that “This process is an attempt to bring innovation in the design trends followed in our country and introduce the technique of fabric manipulation which is gaining immense popularity internationally.”
“The work includes exploration and experimentation of different methods to create 3D textures which always develop interest giving the fabric a new feel and has a high visual appeal.”
5. Ms. Shumaila Sharafat
Shumaila Sharafat focused heavily on the caring approach given the many floods which have hit Pakistan in recent times. Therefore, this talented individual wanted to create things which were cost effective and beneficial for the community.
Given this, Shumaila Sharafat dedicated her project to utilizing resources which have been thrown away and then recycling these inexpensive materials. This lady was able to do this because of her skills in this field and in turn these products became useful for people who had lost so much in the floods. Shumaila Sharafat, therefore, used materials which had gone through the process of cutting, weaving, and then finally being stitched which enabled many beneficial factors. Notably, these new products were not only cost effective and environmental friendly, but they were also durable, multi-purpose, water repellent and water resistant products.
6. Ms. Sundus Ismail
The next student, Sundus Ismail, comments that her “Mini-thesis is based on KILIMS (hand-woven flat-weave rugs) which have motifs that are actually symbols and these in turn have important meanings. Over the years these symbols have lost their meanings in the modern world. Therefore, my aim is to re-introduce kilims by replacing its geometrical symbolic motifs which do not relate to us by objects and symbols which symbolize our culture in Pakistan.”
“I wanted to give a new look to kilims by incorporating things seen generally in Pakistan in such a way that the feel of the art is not lost. I have used the same flat weaving technique which has originally been used to make kilims since ancient times. By using bold designs and different color palettes I have tried to give it a more contemporary and modern look.”
This idea by Sundus Ismail is extremely fascinating and highlights how the past can be woven into a new world by fusing ideas and other areas.
7. Ms. Asiya Anwar
Asiya Anwar comments that “(Mora) is my inspiration. This research is performed to explore different materials and new techniques, to make new structures of the char pai.”
“By using different materials and weaving I want to change the typical structure of (Mora) and incorporate new shapes into the structure and create new woven patterns.”
8. Ms. Afifa Tariq
The next student Afifa Tariq states that “The technique on which I have worked on is Kalamkari and my inspiration is Festivals of Pakistan. Kalamkari is freehand transfer technique on fabric done with a bamboo stick. Using natural dyes I have drawn freehand using a Kalam and then filled in the color with dyes.”
“Taking festivals as my inspiration I have kept more focus on Eid, Basant and 14th August. The technique is of India, I wanted to revive back the old technique and work on Festivals of Pakistan on which no one has worked before.”
Again, it is interesting to note that Afifa Tariq is focused on creating a unique angle and this is very important.
9. Ms. Zara Zaidi
Zara Zaidi comments that “This research is an attempt towards reviving the concept of Dastarkhwan, which is fading its tradition and value, by giving a better design solution and a balanced color pallet to make them look more attractive.”
“A rework on the motifs of Dastarkhwan (traditional table cloth) and colors tastefully put together based on new ideas / collections while keeping its originality and distinct characteristics such as bright colors, bold designs, motifs and borders.”
10. Ms. Zainab Mobin
The following student Zainab Mobin states that “The process of reusing is to use an item more than once. This includes conventional reuse where the item is used again for the same function and new-life reuse where it is used for a different function. This research is an attempt to understand the process of ‘’REUSING JEANS’’ (Denim) and utilizing unwanted material. Jeans can get to a point where they may not be as wearable as they use to be. Before tossing them into trash, consider some of the ways you could put denim in to use, or reuse.”
“In this research, I explored different ways to create surfaces by reusing or recycling material (fabric manipulation, weaving, and printing) within the Textile Art and Design Practice through different methods, and conveying the message of need to recycle to the common people through my work. It is an ongoing process and one of the best ways to have a positive impact on the environment.”
11. Ms. Madeeha Jabbir
Madeeha Jabbir comments that “My inspiration for this project is the “Handicrafts of Chitral”. The project is intended to promote the skills and potential of the people of Chitral. The purpose of the project is to explore the theme, the weaving techniques, design concepts and the colors of the region. The aim of the project is to introduce distinct patterns of Chitral into home textiles and to create colorful, bold patterns for the emerging market.”
“The materials used for weaving consist of wool, cotton thread, polyester yarn, anchor yarn, fabric, silk threads and different materials for embellishment such as zips, pompoms, buttons, laces and towel fabric.”
12. Ms. Kinza Malik
The next student Kinza Malik states that “My inspiration is “Crafts of Pakistan” and I focused on one craft that is “Pottery” based in Hala, Sindh. Hala’s pottery is famous for its exquisite designs and motifs. It is a major art form that has survived centuries rooted in the cultural ethos of the 5000 years old Indus Valley Civilization.”
“This collection is an effort to transform that historical creativity and inherited skill into textile. The motifs on Hala Pottery are inspired from Persian Art so I have tried to incorporate them with my designs as well. My product line is Kitchen Linen.”
Kinza Malik, therefore, is also focused on aspects of a deep and rich civilization in order to produce something which appeals today in the modern world.
13. Ms. Raffia Khan
The final student in this article comments that “The theme of my thesis is on Suzani embroidery, which is a decorative tribal textile made in Uzbekistan. Through my research I have explored the different forms of stitches which have been used in Suzani embroidery and have contemporized the suzani designs through geometric patterns. Also, the color schemes have given a touch of modernity to the traditional craft of Uzbekistan. While doing the sampling I have explored different forms of techniques, which are as follows:
“Screen printing (Alco paste, Rubber paste, Dust paste and Pearl paste). Embroidery (Chain, Button hole, Satin, Couching and Running stitch) I have explored different types of Cotton fabric while printing as the cotton fabric is only used for bed linen. The cotton fabrics which I have explored are cotton, cotton silk, printed striped and checkered cotton. The Suzani embroidery has been produced in many styles. I have worked on the home textile products and have made elegant, colorful and affordable accent pieces in my home textiles collection.”
The team of Modern Tokyo Times and CARTEL Design Studio wish all the students a very successful career. Also, given the creativity and different angles highlighted in this article then surely a bright future awaits these elegant young ladies from Pakistan.
Umair Ahmed Siddiqui (Senior writer of this article)
Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker gave background support
Please visit http://www.aifd.edu.pk/ Asian Institute of Fashion Design in Pakistan
He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and please check his website at https://modernpakistan.wordpress.com
All images supplied by Umair Ahmed Siddiqui