Does responsibility trump affordability in fashion? This Pakistani designer thinks so

The Pink Tree Co. fashion brand was established in 2011 and has grown ever since. (Photos supplied)
Updated 29 November 2017
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Does responsibility trump affordability in fashion? This Pakistani designer thinks so

KARACHI: Those who are fashion conscious should look for the responsible, not the affordable, a leading Pakistani fashion expert has said.
“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.

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“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.
“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.”
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.”


Saudi fashion label puts women in limelight

Renad Hefni showcases her brand Royaled collection. Her bold spring/summer collection aims to make women feel powerful and confident.( Photo/Supplied)
Updated 19 July 2018
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Saudi fashion label puts women in limelight

  • In 2018, Saudi Arabia hosted its first Fashion Week in Riyadh and also made history by lifting its driving ban on women.
  • Renad Hefni won the Women Appreciation Month fashion award created by Femi9fashion brand in Jeddah

JEDDAH: Fashion and couture are on the rise in Saudi Arabia with the increase in young Saudi fashion icons and the growth of the creative community.

In 2018, the Kingdom hosted its first Fashion Week in Riyadh and also made history by lifting its driving ban on women.

With the growth of female empowerment in Kingdom, Renad Hefni, a fashion designer and graduate of Dar Al-Hekma University, began her brand Royaled to empower young women in the country. 

Hefni believes that “changing someone’s appearance can lead to changing people’s attitude toward one another.” Her brand celebrates female power.

“Royaled looks to celebrate every woman who treasures her character by crowning her with a virtual crown and a throne fit for the queen aura that radiates with inspiration. Jeweled with grace, charm and confidence,” she said.

Hefni told Arab News that to her the crown represents power, victory and glory. “It symbolizes leadership to closely align the women of the 21st century with their rights of passage to confidence and influence.”

She believes Royaled will stand out to young Saudi women as it represents their need to thrive and conquer.

“When everyone started to see the brand, they understood the message completely — from the logo to the slogan to all the crowns placed on every garment. Being recognized, understood and appreciated for why I became a designer is my proudest achievement,” Hefni said.

She promotes women’s rights through her fashion label. One of her collections, titled “Enthrone,” consists of half garments to let women feel that “they are the missing beautiful piece in every garment.”

Hefni won the Women Appreciation Month fashion award created by Femi9fashion brand in Jeddah.

Royaled has already made a name for itself with two fashion shows in Dubai and more to come. Royaled has a broad vision for the future.

“Our vision is to reach a wider audience in different countries and to dress some of the most powerful and well-known women. Royaled looks to expand its target market and reach international fashion weeks.” The brand has launched its spring/summer collection “The Ruler.” 

Inspired by the 1980s hiphop style mixed with Middle Eastern glam, the collection reminds women “of their power and confidence, creating a movement, an army of strong and capable women,” reads a post shared on the brand’s Instagram page.

UAE-Yemeni singer Balqees Fathi appeared in a video clip wearing Royaled’s tower collar vest.

Royaled was established in 2015 — it is a new name that has made big steps. See the brand’s page on Instagram: @RoyaledbyRH.