Fashion is an art form. Ones clothes, and style is a way of expression. Yet it not only expresses the individual, but also represents evolution and histories of societies. Clothing in India and Pakistan signifies ethnicities, and geography. Common clothing that is typical in these countries are saris, lehengas, and salwar kameez. The sari is worn by women, and is predominantly worn in India. It is basically a long piece of fabric that is wrapped around the body. The salwar kameez is the most worn dress by women in Pakistan. This consists of loose trousers, which are paired with a long tunic. I personally own a lot of salwar kameez’s from traveling to Pakistan. They are very light, and loose fitting, which is ideal for those extremely hot days in the summer. From my own experience of being Pakistani, and have traveled to Pakistan multiple times, I have my own knowledge of how the clothing has changed over the years.
In the last ten years, I have personally witnessed the West influencing the fashion in scene Pakistan. Ten years ago women’s salwar kameez’s (tunic), were close to knee length, and the sleeves were at least to the elbow. Now they are shorter, and sleeveless. They used to known as loose fitting clothing, but instead are now tighter and tighter. It is also very common for girls to not wear salwar kameez’s anymore, and instead wear jeans and shirts. One could argue that the traditional clothing is becoming endangered. This transformation I have personally seen, indicates Pakistan’s fashion industry changing and becoming more modern. Yet this change can only be witnesses in the modern parts of Pakistan. For example in the villages, the clothing has yet to change.
Yet this new fashion scene has caused a lot of confusion and controversy of what is accepted. Pakistan, where Islam is the predominant religion, can be considered a conservative state. In an article I read, the writer explains how you will see young women around the city, wearing a headscarf, long pants, but will be wearing a tank top. This leads to discussions of what is considered modest clothing and not. And these new fashion trends have been stretching the limits of what is socially accepted. And in the next ten years, I think it will be even harder to say.
This video below is a clip from Pakistan Fashion Week.