Designer Ali Xeeshan teams up with UN Women to challenge child marriage in Pakistan

The image of this young girl was a shock to the system and went viral on social media. (Photo courtesy: UN Women)
Updated 17 December 2017
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Designer Ali Xeeshan teams up with UN Women to challenge child marriage in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: At this year’s Pantene Bridal Couture Week, the king of putting on a show, Ali Xeeshan, used his platform to shine a spotlight on the epidemic of child marriages in Pakistan.
Hand in hand with UN Women, Ali’s finale had a young, school-aged girl dressed in a school uniform outfitted with bridal trappings, like borders and embroidery, walk the ramp. Adorned in the traditional jewels that, for generations, have marked one as a bride and with henna-painted hands, the image of this young girl was a shock to the system and went viral on social media.
Last year, Ali used his platform at bridal week to highlight the issue of forced marriage in Pakistan. This year, the tackling of the issue comes from the lack of improvement in the circumstances surrounding child marriage in Pakistan, even when there are countless organizations and groups fighting to change laws regarding it.
According to the UN Women’s official press release on the collaboration, Pakistan’s Child Marriage Restraint Act (CMRA) sets the legal age of marriage as 16 for women and 18 for men, but it is still estimated that more than 20 percent of women are married off before the age of 18 and three percent overall do not even cross the age of 15 before they get married. There have been efforts to increase the legal age of marriage from 16 to 18 for women across the nation, but this has faced criticism and resistance.
Jamshed Kazi, country representative for UN Women Pakistan, said: “It’s astounding how women aren’t allowed to drive or vote before the age of 18 and at the same time, they’re forced into this lifelong commitment way before they reach that age.”
The show was followed up by UN Women’s website directing people to head to www.thebridaluniform.com and urging those stopping by to learn more and sign a petition urging Pakistan’s Parliament to push the issue and have the marriage age for women to be upped to 18.
Proceeds from Ali Xeeshan’s collection will be donated to Pirbhat Women’s Development Society and Sujag Sansar, organizations striving to end violence against women and working against child marriages in Pakistan.


The Six: Fashion highlights from the El Gouna Film Festival

The second annual El Gouna Film Festival. (AFP)
Updated 24 September 2018
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The Six: Fashion highlights from the El Gouna Film Festival

  • Stars took to the red carpet in beautiful looks
  • Read on for a round up of our six favorite looks from the glamorous event

DUBAI: Stars from across the world have been posing for the cameras on the red carpet at the El Gouna Film Festival in Egypt. Here, we round up our six favorite looks from the glamorous event.


Elisa Sednaoui

The Egyptian Italian model and actress dressed in a custom-made Arwa Al-Banawi teal velvet dress on the red carpet for the premier of “Weldi” at the festival.


Patrick Dempsey

American actor Patrick Dempsey wore a dapper tux as he arrived for the screening of “The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair” at the festival.


Arwa Gouda

The Egyptian actress posed on the red carpet at the premiere of Egyptian film “Yomeddine” in a gold-and-black Miriam Nazmy Design dress.


Saba Mubarak

The Jordanian actress walked the red carpet in a fitted Zeina Nabulsi dress. With a sweetheart neckline and intricate detailing, it was definitely an eye-catcher.


Dorra Zarrouk

The Tunisian actress posed on the red carpet in a bright emerald green dress from unmatchedonline for the premiere of “Yomeddine” at the festival.


Shahira Fahmy

The Egyptian actress looked gorgeous in an Elie Saab suit for the premiere of “Yomeddine” at the festival. With natural curls and minimal make-up, the suit spoke for itself.