Pakistani fashion has seen a large growth ever since retail, prêt, and couture have seen new avenues and clientele pop up in the country, and it is continuously going towards an upward trend. However, amidst it all, the only designers who have stood out are the ones which have tried to leap forward from the cookie-cutter formulas that have riddled the market.
One such example of the few who have introduced the new design-revolution in Pakistan, has been the ever-experimental, Hussain Rehar.
Cutting through the noise, and integrating a fresh line of fusion ensembles into the market since 2017, the designer has proven his prowess equally with back-to-back successes on the runway and by winning the hearts of his clientele.
But, how does he look at the past success, the present state, and what are his future plans to continue his legacy? He reveals it all to Diva in an exclusive interview…
You started off the brand only a few years ago, yet it has become quite the rage. What do you think you brought to the market that was missing?
It’s been three and half years since I’ve started my own brand and it has been great. I think it has succeeded because I have not followed any trends which are already set in the market in Pakistan. I like to follow international trends and colour palettes, which I felt was missing here. I tried to make ensembles more unique, fun, and playful in my own way. The way we do our colour palettes and embellishments, I like to think that is my forte and it’s my favourite thing to do with different materials and techniques.
If we talk about cut-lines, they are really chic. The way we do stitching, you won’t find it everywhere. We have a way in which we do our ensembles which resembles the international model more than what was happening here earlier. It’s a new idea here and that is what draws in the customer.
There’s an ‘edge’ when it comes to the ensembles we see you creating and you don’t shy away from it. Do you believe that bodes well with a market like Pakistan where traditional still sells the most?
I do make ‘edgy clothes’, but I definitely make it to the level where I know a Pakistani woman would wear it. If we talk about shoots, yes, we have a leverage there. But, in reality, the ensembles are not that edgy – it’s not avant-garde or unwearable. Any powerful, strong and independent woman would love to wear it. In a way, I do make fusion clothes, that are both western and traditional.
You’ll notice that if my silhouette is traditional then I’ll keep the colour palettes unusual and modern. Similarly, if I’m using traditional hues and tints, like a bright red, then I’ll work with the cut-line. We have to play around, in order to make it look a little unique than the rest.
On the runway though, we see a completely out-of-the-box Hussain Rehar; What can we expect next, once fashion weeks return?
Runway is my favourite thing to do, because shows happen only a few times in a year, any way. I definitely find leverage there to experiment as much as I can, which I can’t otherwise. I try to make things that are out-of-the-box and show ensembles in a way that define Hussain Rehar.
You will of course, be seeing more of me next year, and like always, I will try bring more uniqueness to the runway. I easily get bored, so you will always see me bringing something new every time.
Will there ever be a solo show from you? What’s your opinion on them being a relatively new brand.
I would love to have a solo show one day. I believe it’s an amazing idea and it can uplift the fashion industry in many ways. I think every designer should do it and it can be a really cool idea.
With a solo show, you’re giving a major platform to your own brand and also inspiring the industry to start doing such things. I sincerely believe it can help the industry gain much more exposure.
Speaking of fashion weeks and solo shows, COVID-19 has affected fashion and retail all over the globe. Pakistan’s story was no different. How were you able to cope up with it?
I think COVID-19 has affected every business all around, but we as a brand survived it and I am thankful for that. Better days are coming and I am honestly hoping for the best. I don’t want to think about this virus ever again! (laughs).
Did COVID-19 affect business massively enough that you had to change any practices i.e. price-cutting, etc.
If we talk about the price range, we didn’t just suddenly drop prices. Instead, we came up with collections and more categories that are affordable in these hard times. They are fashion-forward, and can be worn on different occasions and can be styled according to what one wants.
These collections can be styled both in traditional ways and in a contemporary style. We are coming up with more ranges such as these which will be more affordable.
We’re hoping for a more positive future for fashion in Pakistan next year. Where do you see Hussain Rehar, as a person, and as a brand in 2021?
I am definitely hoping for a better future in 2021 for my own brand as well. I believe in God, and I am working hard and passionately for what’s to come.
In the coming year, we will be launching our own stores now. There will be a store in Lahore and of course, one in Karachi. I think that will happen soon!
And before we end, what’s that one thing we will NEVER see or expect from Hussain Rehar in the coming year?
If there is one thing that Hussain Rehar will not be doing in the coming year, it’s lawn. You will never be seeing me do lawn. That’s one race you will not be seeing me being a part of. Otherwise, everything else, you will be seeing me do! (laughs) Lawn, count me out of it.