here, the pandemic has seen in its wake the disillusionment and feelings of despair that surround the world, it has also given us many gifts in the form of new hobbies and the honing of hidden talents. Staying home and finding meaningful ways to be productive has led to a change in the way we deal with a lot of things, with fashion coming to the fore.
With no more social outings and hookups to look forward to, there was no desire to up her fashion game. No desire to buy everything from the next drop of our favorite fashion brands. If there was one desire stronger than ever, it was to declutter our closets, our homes, and our lives. With the true essence of health, relationships, the gift of life and meaning in the simple pleasures of everyday tasks, the fashion industry has also felt a massive shift in consumer behavior. Instead of fast, mass-produced fashion, there was a need for ethical, sustainable clothing and accessories that were handmade, not nearly perfect, and carried a personal, sentimental touch.
So, with a fresh perspective and energy to rethink and reinvent fashion, the country has seen some very phenomenal and up-and-coming independent fashion brands emerge into the limelight. Independent fashion is a form of slow fashion that usually incorporates many eclectic elements. It’s a fusion of retro, vintage and heritage themes fused with modern streetwear elements to give a super cool boho vibe that appeals to the atypical fashionistas and fashion enthusiasts among us. Each piece is handcrafted, unique and one of a kind.
From this huge wave of ethical slow fashion brands, we’ve selected the top four brands that we believe are bringing home some of the best independent fashion products and accessories.
The brainchild of Zain Ahmad, Adnan Ahmad and Ishmail Ahmad, Raastah, which translates from Urdu as journey or path, is one of Pakistan’s high-end independent fashion brands. Raastah has become a prominent member of the global streetwear industry and has comfortably carved out a place for itself as the favorite brand of some popular celebrities around the world.
Every few months, Raastah releases its exclusive volume of capsule collections featuring slouchy hoodies, jackets, button-down shirts, joggers and jumpsuits. Each stellar item is a unique work of art that screams cool, hip, and edgy. With an almost grungy feel, the brand takes some of the heritage crafts of the subcontinents such as block printing, embroidery and patchwork, and places them on a modern and functional streetwear silhouette.
The brand has taken advantage of the booming global popularity of streetwear and created a fashion line that, while uniquely Pakistani, is on par in terms of creativity and craftsmanship with all of its international contemporaries.
The basis behind the creation of Raa-ay was Rana Ahmed Gulzar’s vision to take comfort streetwear to the next level by experimenting with design through different multidisciplinary perspectives. Keeping aesthetics as the focal point, Gulzar aimed for sustainability as the driving force of his work.
The brand’s strengths are their comfortable all-day wear fabrics sculpted into cool streetwear silhouettes. Plus, the fun pop-up color scheme and funky graphics are personally envisioned and designed by the creative lead, Rana Ahmed, himself. The line encompasses minimal and basic design aesthetics only, with perfection in its technique and execution of its designs.
Raa-ay offers men’s, women’s and unisex fashion lines that have become staples in many of our closets. It particularly appeals to those who want to be fashion forward and look trendy while being comfortable in their own skin. From a range of tees and bottoms to dresses and crop tops, Raa-ay has your independent fashion wardrobe sorted.
While offering a range of colorful, practical and oh so street-chic androgynous designs, Inclusivitee as a brand is the first of its kind in Pakistan that designs gender-neutral clothing suitable for all shapes and sizes. So their name ‘Inclusivitee’ is also their design mantra.
The offering includes tees, shirts, bottoms, outerwear and accessories in solid neons and neutral color palettes. The most popular item from their recent summer launch is the ‘cut’ shirt, which is a basic cropped button-up shirt with raw edges and a crisp collar, available in a range of delicious ice cream colors. The ‘lungi’ skirt is another experimental yet versatile piece that crinkles with a drawstring at the side, allowing you to play with its length and style it for daytime brunches and evenings alike. The ‘Name-Your-Tote’ personalized canvas tote bag with leather handles is another hugely popular must-have that we’ve all been staring at for no other reason than its minimal and clean aesthetic.
Created by young talents, Naqees is a rising independent brand with a new approach to streetwear. Their design aesthetic involves the incorporation of oriental elements like Urdu poetry verses and South Asian crafts like screen printing and screen printing with western silhouettes. Naqees’ clothes are almost nostalgic in their appeal, with a neutral, monotonous color palette.
The brand’s winter collection featured many exciting items that would become forever heirloom pieces in your wardrobe.
The beauty of fashion pieces from brands like Naqees is such that they never go out of style. Their handcrafted personal touch, with the fusion of evergreen heritage craftsmanship and functional, comfortable fabrics and cuts, offset designs that go beyond the conventional fashion philosophy of being in or out of trend, this season or this season. They are treasured pieces to keep in your wardrobe forever and enjoy them in new contexts each time you style them.
The highlights of Naqees’ winter collection titled “Divergence” had many fantastic and unique pieces, such as their sherpa jackets and sweaters, white widow pasham jacket, riotous denim jacket and patchwork joggers. The previous collection saw favorite “Azad Suit” and tie-dye green tees.