The reemergence of responsible fashion

It’s been a long and arduous summer, if not year, and it’s a year in which fashion – dependent on the luxury of time to create, places to go to and resources to spend – has taken a backseat globally. As it gradually breaks away from the clutches of the coronavirus, still rampant and destructive in its path, we see fashion reemerge with a new identity that is healthier and definitely more responsible.

It was nothing short of responsible of Huma Adnan to host her solo show, featuring a capsule of her brand’s wedding wear for winter, at the green and splayed out gardens of Beach Luxury Hotel. As a venue selected for a mid-November evening in Karachi, it provided the perfect backdrop of palm trees swaying in slow dance, blue sky dotted with puffs of white clouds and the occasional sea-gull skimming across the creek, crooning out an excited welcome. The very active Rowing Club enthusiasts would paddle by every now and then, drawing attention to the surprisingly clean sea water, embraced by equally plastic-free mangroves in the distance. Surely a result of less pollution, owed ironically to the pandemic and its demand for social isolation, the setting was a city by the sea, celebrating a few months of healthy detoxing.

As you can imagine, things were blissful cool as we waited. And due to the intimacy of the event, we didn’t have to wait long, as the show started dot on time. One actually saw models posing in happy gaggles across the lawns when we walked in; they were all decked up in Huma’s finery, happily posing as they waited for their cue to begin.

Huma Adnan’s solo show, featuring her winter/festive collection for 2020, started as soon as the guests – all 60 of them – were seated. And with only press and select celebrity brand loyalists on the guest list, everyone was on time.

The arched, wooden footbridge over the creek served as runway, and led to the area that overlooked the water, that by now was glistening under the setting sun. The show was scheduled to end before sunset, a great way to conserve electricity and cut cost, essential for the new fashion format we’ll hopefully see evolving over the next few months. There was only the one front row, created on three peripheries of the runway, where models walked past.

Short, sweet and simple, there was something delightfully refreshing and unpretentious about it all.

The collection was a classic Huma Adnan take on colour and craft. The 21-outfit capsule featured a deck of spruced up silhouettes, targeting a range of women, from the very young, daring and mid-riff baring teenager dancing at her best friend’s mehndi, to plus size girls, looking just as dazzling in festive finery. A silk sari here and there, the essential lehnga being most prominent, the collection went through an embroidered velvet bolero, organza dupattas, chiffon kurtas, embellished izars and much more. Modeled by an equally diverse set of models, one in a head-dress following another flaunting toned abs, the idea behind the show was most definitely: Be Yourself.

“We wanted to show women comfortable in their own skin,” Huma commented after the show, crediting Tabesh Khoji for helping her with the model selection. One of the models in the head dress, she shared, was Dr Sehrish Batool, a front liner at one of the Covid wards in Karachi. The show was all about responsible evolution, inclusion and appreciation for those who were putting their lives at risk by helping those in need.

Taking her love for craft and her sense of social responsibility a step further, the designer featured a new collection of artisanal jewellery with the wedding wear. Huma has been working with refugees for over a year now, helping them create and retail hand crafted jewellery under the label of Craft Stories. This was an admirable nod to responsible fashion that was helping economically empower those in need.

One realizes that wedding wear can never be fashion forward or experimental but by giving the show so much purpose, Huma Adnan actually crafted a comfortable niche for responsibility and inclusivity, which at the end of the day mattered more than anything else.

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