|Fahad Hussayn at PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week 2013|
Fahad Hussayn may just be one of the most under-rated designers in Pakistan. True, his over-the-top ramp styling always garners press coverage but both the press and consumers are apt to dismiss him as a marvel of styling over substance. Nothing could be further from the truth.
A visit to Hussayn’s Lahore studio proves the depth of this talent. Those striking ramp outfits are even better up close; the level of detailing is quite extraordinary. His creations incorporate custom fabrics in silk and hand-woven cotton, intricate built-up embroideries and impeccable tailoring.
The sheer range of embroidery techniques employed is remarkable but each outfit is finely judged, the various elements working in harmony to create a luxe effect.
|Fahad Hussayn’s outfits are gorgeously detailed|
Hussayn is justly proud of the artisan nature of his creations,
“I’m very quality conscious and have been known to have things re-made three times if they are not right. I have collected the best kaarigars over the years and I hoard them jealously.”
|Fahad Hussayn’s PFDC L’Oreal Bridal Week collection|
Hussayn’s gorgeous embroidery should come as no surprise. His degree thesis was on embroidery techniques. His embroideries are delicate and immaculately finished, all the more covetable when many so-called designer outfits feature cheap sequins and beads tacked onto machine embroidery.
Hussayn also puts a lot of thought and effort into the finishing of his outfits.
“I have cotton zari fabrics woven specially for trimming my outfits. I use custom-made kora that is specially treated so that it won’t go black.”
|Fahad Hussayn PLBW 2013|
Hussayn may sometimes be guilty of a lack of a pragmatic business mindset. He will create labour-intensive pieces that are not commercially viable – casting metal for embroidery or making custom felting for felted jackets. With the passion of a true artist, he will concentrate on his creative vision rather than whether the custom detailing will be sellable.
At the end of the day, however, it’s the customer who benefits. Surprisingly, Hussayn’s collection is relatively affordable and good value for money. He puts in more detailing than many designers. Unlike some on MM Alam Road he is not going to charge tens of thousands for Liberty-market style embroidery.
|Fahad Hussayn PLBW 2013|
Hussayn’s formals are not cheap by any means but compare well with other designers in terms of quality. At heart, Hussayn is a true couturier and his outfits reflect the artistry and craftsmanship that is the hallmark of true couture.
|Creative and intricate|
Hussayn’s pret is also highly covetable. He drapes the outfits himself, refusing to teach anyone his techniques. He plays with concepts and comes up with innovative, stylish collections.
He stocks at a variety of stores across Pakistan including Ensemble, L’Atelier and Fashion Central. Based on what is available at the Lahore studio, it would be wonderful if more of Hussayn’s repertoire made it to his stockists.
|Fahad Hussayn pret 2012|
Customers love the draped tunics he supplies to his stockists. They are wearable and versatile but there is also market for pret based on his expertise with prints, embroidery and cut. The most successful designers are able to bring wearable versions of their ramp collections to stores and it would be wonderful to see Hussayn doing this more.
|Hussayn makes the headpieces himself but this styling can detract from the beauty of the outfits|
Other designers may be more business savvy but Hussayn retains that wonderful disregard for commercial considerations that is the hallmark of a true artist. His perception of fashion as art is also evident from some of the dark, almost gothic ramp shows that Hussayn has done. Hussayn is no dilettante though. While he may give way to creative flights of fancy, he does realize that he is designing for clients at the end of the day.
“I have realized that customers are not generally interested in wildly experimental pieces. In Pakistan couture is about taking a concept that customers are familiar with and giving it your own twist.” he says.
|Fahad Hussayn’s prints are simply stunning|
Fahad’s own twist is noticeably superior. Fearsomely talented, he excels at draping, embroidery, cut and print. He is innovative, creative and versatile. He is also a perfectionist and by his own admission difficult to work with because of this. He opened a store on MM Alam Road and closed it down over a dispute with the landlord. Although his lawn was a success last year, he has chosen to launch his own limited edition lawn collection this year so he can have the freedom to express himself with no restrictions.
Yet customers say he is flexible – he will not cling to an artistic vision and refuse to take a client’s preferences into account. His bridal and more formal outfits are custom made, specific to the client’s requirements. For those who want to invest in a unique piece he will design intricate, fabulously detailed outfits. Gifted and imaginative, Hussayn is a designer worth the name.
A version of this was first published in Karachista’s regular column for the Express Tribune on 9th Feb 2013
All fashion week pics courtesy of the fabulous Faisal Farooqui and his team at Dragonfly