Instep Today

It’s all about perspective

By Amina Baig
Sun, 07, 23

Half a year’s gone by without us noticing too much, but it has all been very educational


It’s all about perspective

.2023 is the year that has proven, without too much drama, that significance lies in the eye of the beholder.

I could tell you that there is a lot of new stuff happening within fashion and entertainment in Pakistan, but you might think things are rather boring. An industry stalwart may point out that for all the distance we have come, they don’t think there has been any advancement.

For one, the film industry has actually seen a very active year. There has been a release almost every month of this year, including the contentious Kukri, the anticipated Fawad Khan starrer, Money Back Guarantee, and in June, Babylicious.

There are films perhaps no one wanted to watch, or had a very niche audience, but here is where you must pinch yourself for a reality check: not every movie is going to be The Legend of Maula Jatt. Not every movie will be directed by Bilal Lashari or Nabeel Qureshi. Sometimes you will have to feel iffy about the cast and director, and still give a film a chance, if only to support local cinema. That’s one of the ways in which studios and production houses will gain rolling capital. And please remember, we aren’t competing with Bollywood here; that’s a goal at least 20 years away from us. We aren’t competing with the golden age of Pakistani cinema, that’s a line we left around 45 years behind. We are simply trying to build and sustain momentum for the industry that had somewhat found its feet between 2007 and 2020.

In the years since 2020, audiences have also become spoilt. If we can access amazing content on our own various screens at home for the price of one theater ticket, why wouldn’t we take that road? In this circumstance, filmmakers and studios have to understand that they can’t just throw out any old, trite bone and hope their audience will eat it up. Film and TV audiences are a lot smarter now, and we all know how Lollywood 1.0 fared when the audiences of that time became smarter and demanded more quality content thanks to the excellent programming on local channels at the time. It may be time for the industry to start catering to the audience rather than expecting the opposite.

Within fashion, couture or retail, the general complaint from keen observers is summed up in this one liner: fashion is dead.

We may say that, but perhaps we need to tweak the statement. Fashion events are dead, innovation from established designers is dead. A level playing field for newcomers is dead. Yes, we will beat upon that dead horse again: Pakistan is not just brimming with, but is overflowing with talent, and that talent has no outlet other than trying to sustain a digital business model, and failing, or just becoming a noted, fashionable figure on social media. Fashion houses will then engage these influencers to talk about their wares, when some of these fashionistas must be recruited into the industry, as designers or stylists, or both, where older brands can get a younger perspective.

Claiming and sticking to one aesthetic is fine, and if it weren’t for those damn kids, they’d get away with it too! But yes, there’s a very young up and coming market, and they might not agree with what they’re being sold. If longevity is on the agenda for local fashion houses, then adaptation and innovation should be too.

That said, just because fashion events completely became dormant doesn’t mean there wasn’t actual, tangible fashion being created. All the big labels are still in business, as are all the small ones. The wheels are still turning.

The impressive trio of Frieha Altaf, Nabila, and

Fifi Haroon also announced the Pakistan Fashion Museum, which will archive Pakistan’s many eras of fashion. This is an incredible undertaking, and will provide that point from which to witness and draw inspiration. But what also needs to be is a pivot point, where there is foresight as well as hindsight in play, and plans on how to sustain the entire industry are formulated. This obviously cannot just be the original PFM team’s responsibility, everyone in the industry needs to step up and lend themselves as resources..