‘’CATWALK CARES’’ VIRTUAL FASHION SHOWS SEASON 2 SUSTAINABILITY OF PAKISTAN FASHION INDUSTRY WITH A RETURN TO THE RUNWAY!
After the British Fashion Council adopted an online format
announcing that is Men’s Fashion Week would be adapted as a coed digital
fashion week in June,, and Paris Couture Week went digitally online in
early July, a contentious debate arose with many international designers
calling fashion shows ‘outmoded’ overly consumerist
and wasteful; while preeminent fashion journalists like Bridget Foley of the industry
bible Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) deemed digital shows as “lacking the buzz and razzamatazz of live shows”
But with the ongoing presence of the
Covid-19 virus and an uncertain future,
showcasing fashion shows digitally is the only viable option right now.
Frieha Altaf, CEO of Catwalk PR & Productions who
spearheaded ‘Catwalk Cares Virtual Fashion Show Season 1’ as a tribute to
front-line first responders is adamant that the Pakistani Fashion Industry
mired as it is in the pandemic should not become
lackadaisical but forge ahead, adapt and find creative alternative solutions to
“There is nothing that compares to the electricity and buzz of
live fashion shows and fashion weeks, but digital is the new reality of
showcasing fashion” Altaf says. “With the ongoing presence of the Covid 19
virus we cannot go back to the premise of live fashion shows just yet but we
can find creative alternatives.”
With this impetus in mind, Catwalk Cares Virtual Fashion Show
Season 2 whose core aim is about sustaining the Pakistani Fashion and
Entertainment industries – that includes not only fashion designers, make-up
artists, photographers and models- but also the all-important behind-the-scenes personnel
including set designers, trussing and lighting vendors will be once again be
employing the latter to create two runway ramps in a studio space to showcase
the designs of the participating designers at Catwalk Cares Season 2.
“As the lockdown is easing It’s all about putting back to
work the vendors who have been without work for the past five months, “Altaf reiterates.
“In the last virtual fashion show, models were recording from home but this
time, with strict SOPs in place, we will be able to shoot on the ramp with a
feel of a live fashion show which will be aired both digitally and on a premium local TV channel” she adds.
One of the vendors Catwalk has worked with is Zaffar Ali Khan
of Al Ghashba Sets & Lights who provide trussing, flooring, stage-lights
and paneling for events including fashion weeks and shows. Just before the
lockdown Al Ghashba worked with Nestlé, Velo and Engro
in Lahore and Karachi with the last event transpiring on March 1st
2020t. Due to the lockdown many other job opportunities were
curtailed and lost including both a public event with Toyota and some private
weddings amounting to la loss of income amounting to PKR 16 Lacs
over the five month period. The company
sustained itself with income earned from events that took place in February
2020 but sadly Zaffar Ali Khan had to resort to selling one of his plots so he
could pay his four employees and sustain his company.
Obaid Haq owner of Audio links that specializes in Event
Management; Sound Engineering; Stage Lighting Production and Rentals has also
felt the brunt of the pandemic. Audio links’ high profile events and clients
have included the Lux Style Awards 2013 & 2016; the Hum Awards; Fashion
Pakistan Week; Pantene Bridal Week; Bridal Couture Week; Veet Supermodel;
Pakistan Idol and Ponds Miracle Journey. Understandably with all of these
public events at a standstill, the repercussions of the lockdown have been
economically devastating with an ensuing gargantuan loss of income during the past
Arshad Mehmood aka Nasir of SkyLight Events which deals in
general lighting who last worked with
Catwalk Event Management & Productions for the VELO curtain-raiser launch as
well as with Shezad Roy’s Zindagi Trust for Ibn-Khatoon Pakistan College says
that his last completed assignment was on March 7th 2020 after which
he has not received any work adding that this has accrued to a loss of income
of about PKR 3 Lacs per month over this time period.
“It’s been a real struggle,” Arshad says adding that “he will
be happy to be working again with Catwalk Cares.”These are just a few cases among
a legion of industry members who have endured economic losses and emotional
distress during the pandemic. The future of the fashion calendar is uncertain.
Each day offers new challenges for designers and their teams to overcome amid a
health pandemic and an economic depression.
With the projected
long-term economic impact of Covid-19 on the fashion industry, the decisions
made now are likely to reshape the fashion-week model for many years to come —
and it will be those willing to take the time to think deeply about these new
opportunities and harness them to their full potential that will emerge at the
other end stronger than ever. Catwalk
Cares seems to be on the right track; creatively transposing the drama of live
fashion shows digitally while actively encouraging the Pakistani Fashion
industry to rise from the ashes and sustain itself.