Personal style has the power to define a person and while most of us may take clothes as the most frivolous part of an individual’s life, it is actually our clothes that give away most of who we are even before we say a word. Clothes are our visual DNA. The styles we opt for, the colours we choose and the accessories we select; all these become tools of identification.
With Independence Day around the corner, we decided to speak to several designers and get their expert opinion on independent women, and how they should dress to aptly reflect the values that they stand for. From what we have studied and read on the history of fashion, we know that Coco Chanel introduced jersey as a fabric and also the trouser for women to allow them independence of movement; we know that Yves Saint Laurent created the Power Suit that incorporated large shoulder pads to give an impression of masculine power.
We got in touch with these designers to ask how they feel independent women in Pakistan should dress and their pick of women who they felt represented power and influence through their dressing.
The designer thinks every independent woman has a unique mindset and thought process about herself and how she views society, which is why her dressing is usually unique and influential. According to Perwani, three women whose fashion sense depicts power are Sheema Kermani, a Pakistani social activist come theater director and exponent of Bharatnatyam dance, Atiya Khan a former model, producer and director for advertising and television in Pakistan and Maheen Khan, the internationally acclaimed fashion and costume designer.
This popular designer believes that strong independent women exude a certain sense of self. They know who they are and do not require validation from others. Such women are self-confident and can pull off any look with ease. In Sania’s view, the ideal outfit for an independent Pakistani woman would be a well-tailored shalwar kameez in monochromatic tones. The focus must always be on the woman and her clothes should never overshadow her, she added.
Sania listed Dr Maliha Lodhi, Mariam Saeedullah, Dr Sadia Rizvi, Shenaz Ismal and Sameera Raja as her choice of independent, well dress women. “All these women have their own signature style and manage to be impeccably dressed without conforming to trends.”
How an independent woman dresses depends entirely on her personal style, her job description, her height and her weight, Maheen feels. She as a woman is unique and her style is to be respected. An independent woman has strong personal style and she should be able to sit, stand and move with confidence. In her years of experience, one of the many women Maheen has dressed, and who in her opinion defines power and influence, is Benazir Bhutto.
Mahgul Rashid, who is known for her impeccable design sensibilities, thinks that an independent woman should be bold in her style. According to the ace designer, her energy should be exuding confidence and should be inspiring. “For me in Pakistan it has to be Sana Hashwani - she epitomizes restraint which is rare in our country,” shared Mahgul.