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An interview with Shazia Waqar of AMI — Iqra University

By Faraz Siddique
Jun 12 - 18, 2000

Shazia Waqar is a qualified fashion designer, having obtained her degree in Haute Couture from Les Ecoles de la Chambre Syndicale Parisienne Paris, France. On her return to Pakistan she worked as a consultant to the Export Promotion Bureau, where she was responsible for setting up the Pakistan School of Fashion Design Lahore, affiliated to La Chambre Syndicale. She was also visiting member at PSFD Lahore. After a brief stint at Textile Institute of Pakistan last year, she joined Iqra University to start the Faculty of Fashion Design, currently located at Clifton Campus. Following are the excerpts of the interview.

PAGE: Would you like to mention the aims and objects of your Institute.

Shazia: The Iqra University has setup the faculty of Fashion Design with the aim to produce qualified professionals who are geared to comprehend and implement the growing changes of international market , locally in the garment industry of Pakistan. We intend to produce designers who are technically sound in all aspects of industrial garment manufacturing. The object is to produce trained manpower who can help our industry to make a shift from being a manufacturing base into one producing value added garments. We are talking in terms of applied fashion designing, the industrial application of creativity.

PAGE: How your school is different from other school of fashion designing?

Shazia: Firstly there aren't many school offering this discipline at a degree level. We are the only Chartered University in Pakistan offering this course at a degree level. We have worked out a four year bachelors degree in fashion design. The first year is the foundation year, where students study history of art, drawing design principles etc. The second year is the progression of the first year by the end of which the students can earn a diploma. The third year constitutes advance level studies where we apply the academies to the industrial application. The final year is a specialization year when we offer specialization in Menswear, Womenswear, childerenswear and Fashion marketing and merchandising.

PAGE:What prospects we have in Pakistan regarding Fashion Designing?

Shazia: In my view the possibilities are immense considering the potential of the local and export market, but in my opinion it is the export market that we should tap as the need of the hour is value addition in the exports of garments from Pakistan.

PAGE. What can we do to promote fashion education in Pakistan?

Shazia: Well first and foremost it has to be taken seriously. Fashion education is not about education as one would expect. I often tell my students that behind the scene it is all hard work. The glamour is only when we talk about fashion shows and fashion shoots. Fashion sounds very simple as we see everyone involved in designing clothes per say, at the mercy of their tailors. But a professional designer is one who can perceive an idea, sketch it on a paper, make a pattern of that design and then be able to execute himself or herself. So basically an awareness has to be created about what fashion education is. Secondly people have to be made aware of the immense possibilities of careers that a fashion graduate can undertake. Making clothes is just one of them , accessories, shoes, bags, textile designs etc.

PAGE: How fashion designing education can help the society?

Shazia: This is very interesting question, for one it will bring employment for people. Another aspect is to create and innovate ideas and designs. One of our aim is to help the cottage industry in Pakistan, improve their designs and make them exportable. We would like to grow together starting at the grass root level.

PAGE: Would you like to give any message to the readers?

Shazia: The practice of fashion designing has been acknowledged as a profession. It is also a growing market and many people has started to become aware of the importance of fashion designing. So my message to the readers is that here is an opportunity in Karachi to avail high quality education of international repute and I would like to invite prospective students to come forward and visit our Clifton Campus to experience the difference.