“Affordable fashion means that somewhere, at some stage, someone was exploited,” Mohsin Sayeed, creative director of The Pink Tree Company, told Arab News.
He is unapologetic about his brand The Pink Tree being relatively expensive, saying: “Each piece we create carries lots of hard work and creativity. We don’t believe in mass production.”
The Pink Tree Co. was established in 2011 by three friends, including Sayeed, 50, who spent most of his professional life as a journalist before moving to fashion.
“Our designs come straight from the heart. Our passion is to delve into the rich history of fashion and textiles, bring back something from the past and give it a contemporary feel. That leaves the viewer with a cozy, déjà vu feeling. Our identity is our design diversity,” said Sayeed, adding that the boom in the fashion retail industry comes at the expense of creativity.
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“Ready-to-wear fashion can be affordable for many, but it doesn’t cater to the creativity that good fashion should carry,” he said.
“Art is an exclusive form of expression. It can’t be produced in factories like soaps and shampoos. Those who do that aren’t creating art pieces, they’re just making clothes,” he added.
“Responsible fashion means you take care of your costumes for years and, perhaps, for generations. It means all those craftsmen who made this piece have been paid properly and their work has been respected. Affordable fashion means you’re treating your dress as a tissue paper: Use and throw.”
Sayeed, many of whose clients are from the Middle East, said Arab women should not be obsessed with Western fashion trends.
“The new generation of Arab women is very fashion conscious, but unfortunately they consider Western brands as the ultimate fashion word,” he said.
“Asia, particularly South Asia, has more amazing creative fashion designers that can cater for style with a good understanding of their social circumstances. We in South Asia can proudly say we have the best craftsmanship.”
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Sayeed said Pakistani craftsmen are among the best. “They’re not mere embroiderers or tailors. They’re like poets who create poetry on a piece of cloth,” he added.
“We have a history of craftsmanship as old as 500 years. We produce best fabric in the world. No one can beat us when it comes to creativity in fashion.”