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Almost half the world will be online by end of 2016; report shows

Fashion weeks in Pakistan aren’t what they used to be. People who have witnessed the events through the years will attest to this.

The multi-starrer, highly publicised fashion week omnibus, which is supposed to steer the industry to new heights, has stumbled down the hackneyed route of the run-of-the-mill.

Creative, awe-inspiring fashion moments are few and far between as the clothes begin to look the same, silhouettes lack finesse and the sound of untidily stitched sequins falling on to the runway as models walk resonate with fashion’s fall.
It wasn’t always like this

In its initial stages, local fashion was defined by bona fide creativity. Spearheading fashion was a small milieu with a love for original design.

“Everybody seems to be in a rush now to earn profits,” observes veteran Maheen Khan. “The market is dominated by customers who lack sophistication. They are willing to pay for pretty-but-generic clothing but true, cutting-edge fashion doesn’t appeal to them.

“In order to keep their businesses running, designers sometimes don’t have a choice. They don’t want to be left with unsold stock and so, they end up presenting clothes on the runway that are market-friendly, if not fashion forward.”

“It’s why fashion weeks now resemble an Abida Parveen concert where all she’s singing is ‘Damadum Mast Qalandar’ instead of any of her beautiful ghazals!” observes Maheen.
Maheen’s last show for her own label, ‘Maheen’, at FPW A/W 2014 – Photograph by Tapu Javeri

Sadly, most designers are unable to strike a balance between retail and high fashion aspirations. Fashion weeks, via social media and TV coverage, have now become veritable catalogues where customers can select favorite designs and order them as is.

Consequently, the local runway becomes an endless monologue of same-looking, blingy concoctions. There are hardly any collections that feature a mix of some retail-friendly clothes and some edgy. And hardly anyone dabbles with design that makes catwalk statements and can then be watered down for retail. What you see is what they’re selling… and what you see isn’t anything great.

It makes one yearn for fashion’s old guard, the veterans that heralded the industry when it was still teething and who are predominantly missing from the catwalk. One remembers Rizwan Beyg stealing the show in 2006’s Carnivale de Couture with his spectacular ‘Carnival’.

Faiza Samee’s exquisite amalgamation of subcontinental influences with the avant-garde West hasn’t been showcased locally for a while now. Umar Sayeed’s craftsmanship has, similarly, been missing from the spotlight and although Maheen Khan continues to be part of the Fashion Pakistan Council, her couture label ‘Maheen’ bid adieu to fashion weeks last year.

“There is an entire milieu of so-called critics who don’t care much for genuine critique. Since they’re already on designers’ payrolls, they laud even the most substandard work as ‘stunning’,” says Bunto Kazmi.

And one can only sigh longingly when visiting Bunto Kazmi’s atelier, where fashion blends into artistry. Bunto Apa has never been a fashion week regular but one wishes that true aficionados could get the chance to see her work on the runway, if not exhibited in a museum. Her ethos is exquisite, traversing fantastical realms in embroideries that are so minute that they resemble a painting. All other local ateliers simply fade in comparison.
Bunto Kazmi bridals have always been a source ofinspiration for many designers. Photo: Instagram

“When fashion weeks started out, all I ever heard was that bridal-wear did not signify as fashion,” says Bunto Kazmi.

By the end of 2016, almost half of the world’s population will be using the internet as mobile networks grow and prices fall, but their numbers will remain concentrated in the developed world, a United Nations (UN) agency said on Tuesday.

In the world’s developed countries about 80 per cent of the population use the internet. But only about 40pc in developing countries and less than 15pc in less-developed countries are online, according to a report by the UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

In several of Africa’s poorer and more fragile countries, only one person in 10 is on the internet. The offline population is female, elderly, less educated, poorer and lives in rural areas, said the union, a specialised agency for information and communication technologies.

Globally, 47pc of the world’s population is online, still far short of a UN target of 60pc by 2020. Some 3.9 billion people, more than half the world’s population, are not. ITU expects 3.5bn people to have access by the end of this year.

“In 2016, people no longer go online, they are online. The spread of 3G and 4G networks across the world had brought the internet to more and more people,” the report said.

Telecoms and internet companies are expanding as more affordable smartphones encourage consumers to browse the internet, causing demand to grow for data-heavy services. However, less-developed countries ─ LDCs ─ still trail the rest of the world.

“Internet penetration levels in LDCs today have reached the level enjoyed by developed countries in 1998, suggesting that the LDCs are lagging nearly 20 years behind the developed countries,” the report said.

It blamed the cost of services and of extending infrastructure to rural and remote customers and the high price of mobile cellular use.

Courtesy : Dawn News



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