Pakistan is the underdog of fashionable influences as presented in much of today’s media– but today nobody’s getting away with it! I’m bringing to you some Pakistani fashion-style forces that reckoned with an international market, and leave a notable impact today. Although many of these are broad in influence and intertwine with the Middle East and India (geographical consideration), Pakistan embodies these trends all at once, successive to its high, diverse population. Embroidery, folds, textures and tones; Pakistan has always had a creative streak for creating some effortlessly stunning fashion pieces. Let’s take a look at the styles that changed the world.

The Staple Shalwar Kameez 

Pleated around the waist and cuffed to the ankles, the Salwar Kameez can achieve spectrum looks for men. Men can choose a Herculean stature, or alternatively a more delicate look in its simple elegance. Although the Salwar Kameez is upheld by all of South Asian’s fashion history, Pakistan has been known for providing the suit in cool, fashionably palatable tones and colours to it. In reminiscence of the green hues and natural dusky beauty that Pakistan withholds, the Salwar Kameez in its medium tones its kindred to the landscape of the country. It made its way into runways with no hesitation – and these tones were certainly not forgotten. Layered with suits or with dupatta, the Salwar Kameez became known to all.

New Classic Lehenga’s 

Sounds contradictory, I know! Modern style looks (with new fringe styles and embroidery techniques) combined with the tradition of the particular draping and weighty beauty of the classic woman’s lehenga. This has perhaps proved itself to be one of the most popular trends around the globe, on international catwalks. From Seasonal Versace to Toronto Fashion Week, it’s something everyone wants to get their hands on. For the occasion - I’m not entirely sure, and I’d love to know. Either way, the chic flow that makes its way down runways is making itself increasingly seen with flared, mermaid, and most popularly paneled style. Take a look at its influence below!

Notable Accessories

Pakistan has the ability to revel in the inexpensive luxury of buying large amounts of beautiful jewellery – in the West, prices for jewellery pieces that imitate these traditional designs are soaring like never before. In a number of department stores and Highstreet shops, a number of Pakistani accessories are objects of desire, perhaps because they provide an ethnic dimension. The Panjangla, for example, has made its way to the top of accessory selection for modelling features in the Pakistani fashion industry. They are an elegant addition to the plethora of gowns, silks, weaving of gold threads and more – which is what makes them so popular. Akin to nose rings and Naths (which originated in South Asia), now strongly affiliated with the global ‘goth’ and ‘hippie’ culture

Saraiki Embroidery 

The woven mirrors and bright colours are well associated with the Saraiki fashion and they have made their way into international fashion markets as a result of this distinct identification. The colours are often primary and take Aztec like patterning with the addition of mirrors, tassels and fringes. Other countries have put their own spin on these community garments, cropping them or isolating the tops from scarves and flared arms that are tradition to the style. An immaculate catalyst for wonder to the eye, it’s no surprise that this style has been distributed on mass. It has caused stirs about the terms ‘cultural appropriation’ and what it means to take community tradition and twist it for cultural gratifications, without recognition of the original community themselves. Either way, the Saraiki embroidery, to us, is a timeless beauty.

Jhumka Style Earrings 

Particularly favoured in the UK and the US markets, Jhumka style earrings have raided popular jewellery stores in a claim to cover an ethnic perspective on the beauty of delicacy for accessory. Bell Tassels, Faux Pearls, Colour Plated of all kinds – everybody loves them. This is particularly because they add a hint of opulence to cooler and calmer attire that isn’t bold in colour, texture or style. They provide a nuance to simplicity that people desire, as in other countries it’s an opportunity to use foreign appearance as a chance to stand out in a room full of fashionable competition. They are so popular – in fact – that their prices are as just low in other places outside of Pakistan as they are in Pakistan, due to the sheer level of demand. Seen on websites like Shein which has been criticised for religious and cultural appropriation, the earrings make constant appearances to fulfil the likings of viewers from around the globe at viciously low prices. 

Pakistan has (despite its secretive nature) played a fundamental part in what is labelled as an ‘ethnic’, positively foreign experience of dressing to accommodate for a more cultured, aware and unique approach to styling. We do however want to make these trends loud and clear, to make Pakistan’s creative flourishment and influence known to the wider world, for those who accessorise themselves every day with items that perhaps they would love to know the meaning and enriched history behind. And obviously, to stand proud!

  • In: Fashion