Monday, November 16, 2009
Pakistan Fashion Week
Twice postponed for security concerns, Fashion Week brought out the best in the city's designers in Pakistan, where participants in the inaugural event took part under the threat of Taliban execution.
For many, even the prospect of taking part was nerve-wracking. That's understandable, given that the show was staged next door to an American consulate bombed by Islamic extremists in 2002. Yet the parade went ahead. "This is our gesture of defiance," said 2009 Fashion Week CEO Ayesha Tammy Haq.
The show was off-limits to foreign designers and buyers. Organisers couldn't risk inviting them in case they were targeted by Taliban fanatics, who last year threatened to throw acid at women not wearing a burqa. The punishment was in line with the group's 1997 pronouncement, which stated that, "If women are going outside with fashionable, ornamental, tight and charming clothes to show themselves, they will be cursed by the Islamic Sharia, and should never expect to go to heaven". The women in question could, however, expect to be beaten, mutilated or stoned to death.
In the face of such ongoing threats, it seems extraordinary that anyone could conceive the concept of a fashion show, much less see the idea through to fruition.