Rubab Nayeem Khan reviews Pret-A-Cover Fashion Week
December happens to be a fruitful month for fashion connoisseurs as Pret-A-Cover Fashion Week (PACFW) struts its way into the fashion scene with gusto. Organised by Islamic Fashion & Design Council (IFDC), the platform will be showcasing cutting edge signature wear designed by notable artisans around the world.
With PACFW, the Islamic Fashion & Design Council changes the conventional way of discovering great designers across the globe. Apart from celebrating an array of phenomenal designs, the Pret-A-Cover Fashion Week takes centre stage for being the first virtual fashion week in the world. The PACFW introduces 19 top tier labels like Araida, Yesim Ozcan, Shiza Hassan, Miranda Konstantinidou, Quattromani, Run Thing, Mursak, Integrity Boutique, Frame, Bulbulia, Tarun Tahiliani, Pose/Arazzi, Jemmila Stockholm, Mustafa Dikmen, Es’ Givien, Zamaan, Blancheur, Aqdus and Yand that bring forth a myriad of contemporary cuts and colours. ICE Today had the pleasure of getting up, close and personal with some of the designers of the sought-after labels to know the inspiration behind their craft.
Craft wise, what is that one element in your designs that sets yours apart from others? Would you say it has made a drastic impact in the ever-growing fashion scene?
Blancheur (Malaysia) by Diana: We can say the cutting of pattern construction is the one thing that always makes us different from others. Some of them might perceive the minimal designs and pattern we introduce as easy, but for some people who have knowledge on garment constructions, they know how complicated it is to make the actual pattern of our pieces. This is one of the major elements that make most of our collection look elegant, not overly done and capable of standing out on its own. By using the concept of minimalism, we just want to portray the simplicity of modest fashion with a hint of elegance.
Jemmila Stockholm (Sweden) by Faduma Aden: Jemmila connects Scandinavian aesthetics with Muslim fashion. The minimal, clean cut and functionality focused design targets the international business woman. It brings an interesting element to the fast-growing market. In an ever more connected world, we aim to shift the focus on what we have in common rather than differences and create purposeful designs.
Pose/Arazzi (Dubai) by Hanan and Hessa Ozair: Our aim is to add to the growing fashion scene and to build a reputable international brand that takes into consideration the regional market by catering to their fashionable needs; such as what we introduced at our first collection where our long coats can be worn by ladies in the GCC as Abaya. On the other hand, we also introduced the shorter versions of these long coats that can be worn by a wider international audience.
Shiza Hassan (Pakistan): Our attention to detail in our handwork craft technique is specialised with a mix of the finest thread work with more contemporary elements used for embellishments (such as Swarovski crystals, 3D pieces and pearls). However, our self-created print surfaces definitely give us a push in the right direction–which is our distinct feature vis-à-vis other designer.
Zamaan by Fatima: Zamaan looks at the global wave length from trends, economics, lifestyles, architecture, diversities and people to develop a range. We currently do our own graphics and customise to a theme that is trending globally but always ensure we put our own unique spin on it, i.e. this season’s theme was divas and pop art.
We also ensure excellent quality and source the best manufactured fabrics internationally for our customers. The inspiration to do our current pop art range was to take modest wear to the next level and infuse creativity, innovation, fun and couture into one range. Pop art was introduced by Lawrence Albaway in New York to bridge the gap between the working class and upper class. Zamaan was inspired by this concept and saw it as an opportunity to bridge the gap between modest wear and the mainstream fashion industry.
To what extent has your work evolved, ever since you introduced your label?
Araida by Mariana Beshtaova: The business has been developing rapidly and now we have an idea of which direction to move to. In the last year and a half we understood what it is that our clients expect from us. First of all, I’d like to note that the best sold models – are the most expensive evening dresses. That’s why we decided to dwell on the collection of evening outfits such as Demi couture and haute couture. As for casual clothes, we established a new branch – Araida for street, which is also very popular.
Bulbulia (South Africa) by Tasleem Bulbulia. I have been in the mainstream fashion arena for many years and being in the periphery of the commercial market and always considered a bit eclectic. I then decided to venture into the modest wear market as I had been doing it all my life for my private clients. When I was approached to do AFI Mercedes Benz fashion week, I decided to do what felt right and developed my own signature. I’m more comfortable with my choices and my clients seem to like what they see, especially because it’s unique, yet wearable and exclusive.
Tarun Tahiliani (India): I think as our technique has become stronger, we have understood that our fashion has yearned towards a certain thing. I think it will be hard to pick a favourite but from the current season anything with the attached drapes; beautiful hand work and the use of brocade are my current favourites.
Integrity by Hanadi Chehab and Howayda Moussa: Delivering our designs on an international level allowed us to see the market beyond Australia which has really evolved us since we began in 2010.We love all our collection but our recent two collections are our favourite so far. We took both to an international runway which was both nerve wracking and exciting.
Since modest fashion has proven itself to be a booming business, how do you intend to bring variety in this genre of fashion, considering that there are others in this line of work who serve as competition?
Integrity Boutique (Australia) by Hanadi Chehab and Howayda Moussa: Integrity brings variety into the modest fashion world with its ability to serve the modern working woman by day and the modest socialite by night. Our collection draws inspiration from everyday life to bring practicality with a touch of artistic flair.
Miranda Konstantinidou: My designs should be a secret love affair between myself and the woman who wears it- like a secret code between her and I. She should feel recognized and appreciated in her thoughts, desires and beauty; like a personal relationship. I’ve never felt I’m in a competition with other sophisticated designers, much more together we do fight against undemanding and poor design and quality.
Tarun Tahiliani: Despite what the competition maybe, we go for a modern spin on our Indian heritage, which is both very conservative and very sensuous and uses a lot of different handicraft, dyeing and printing techniques. We believe that we must have our own signature and our own take on things, which is what, permeates all our lines.
Bulbulia by Taslim Bulbulia (South Africa): I take inspiration from my world view. Being an African designer sets me apart as my interpretation of global trends has a fresh and different perspective. I think this is my unique selling point. My offering is authenticity; I have a diverse heritage from India, Indonesia, Africa and Europe, so these are all the elements that make up a Bulbulia design.
Which popular designers have thoroughly influenced your passion for designing? If you had to collaborate your work with any three eminent designers, who would they be and why?
Zamaan by Fatima: Zamaan admires fashion brands that use an innovative and elegant approach to design. A definite influence for us is Dolce &Gabbana (D&G) for their innovative approach to detail in design as well as the House of Channel for their elegance and modern take on timeless fashion. These brands inspire not only in the clothes they make but by their continuous awe inspiring detail when hosting a fashion event. They offer a complete fashion experience! Diane Pilang is another influence and eminent designer that Zamaan adores for her fusion approach of culture and modernism. We would love to white label with various brands and designers in the industry.
Shiza Hassan: With the ever evolving fashion scene at home and abroad, there are too many designers to name since the collections vary from time to time. However, Gucci under Alessandro Michele, Alexander McQueen and Sabyasachi have been a thorough inspiration and it would be a great honour to work with them.
Pose/Arazzi (Dubai) by Hanan and Hessa Ozair : As an influential designer; it will be Maison Martin Margiela because of his creativity in deconstructed fashion. He always places a strong identity expressed through his designs and is focused on keeping his product forefront rather than the designer’s name. We would love to have the opportunity to collaborate with Martin Margiela, Jil Sander, Acne and if we can add one more that would Marni of course; because of their ultimate goal to create and perpetuate collections in tune with their principle and values in creativeness without neglecting the importance of details.
Blancheur: We just love the authenticity of Ann Demeulemesster, the elegance of Raff Simon designs for Dior, and the simplicity of Tory Burch. We believe these designers are really true to themselves. They know their own aesthetic, and they keep on developing their label through each collection.
Since the year is coming to an end, what do you think is in store for your brand? Do you have any plans in the pipeline that you want to introduce next year?
Yesim Ozcan (Turkey): Even if the increase in the brands which produce modest clothing this year and the global crisis creates a handicap for our brand, the perception of the brand which renews itself will always be maintained.
Yand (Russia): Among the main areas of work, we have identified the creation of the prayer dress democratic line, retaining the principles of the YAND brand, such as, impeccable quality, attention to details and cultural background of things that we create. The second focus will be the development of the brand in the Middle East, as after a showroom in Paris, we saw a lot of attention from customers coming from this region. The third is the development of the brand in the digital direction, because we believe that today it is the most successful platform for the development of the fashion brand.
Aqdus: I am going to introduce my summer 2017 collection which is totally going to be based on textile & contemporary art representing hand embroidery, hand painted fabrics.
Es’ Givien (Italy) by Gaia, Vivilla and Nives: We are finishing designing the new FW17/18 collection that we will officially present during Milan Fashion week next February. The ideas are chilly and bright: a mix of black and gold, overlapping of soft wool with techno imprimè fabrics alongside precious details, more evolved shapes and cuts, to wear and mix as you like.
An industry as large as fashion goes through a series of transition every year and an addition like Pret-A-Cover Fashion Week is one of the most remarkable changes to have taken place in global fashion; not just for the designers but also for the consumers of fashion who are always on the lookout for something new. Furthermore, PACFW also places modest fashion among all other trends as an example that fashion follows no genre; thus liberating designers to draw inspiration from every corner of the world.
Click here to view the full Pret-A-Cover™ Fashion Week (PACFW) now. PACFW is the world’s first virtual fashion week. It is a section of COVER magazine, which is a publication owned by IFDC. For more information, please visit
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