Thirty-three students participated in the conception and creation of the film that showcases their work and pays homage to creative people everywhere.
I don’t design clothes, said designer Ralph Lauren. “I design dreams.” But what happens when one does both? Students at Iqra University’s Asian Institute of Fashion Design (AIFD) certainly have. In their new fashion film – touted as the first of its kind in Pakistan – they have combined high-fashion designs, a dream-like concept and an abundance of young talent.
The film, conceptualized by AIFD Creative Director Faizan Dar, may have been shot by Darang Production, but the core of it was all student-led. Thirty-three students participated in the creation of the film, from its set to the costumes featured in it.
The film is titled ‘The Enchanted Odyssey’ – and it is enchanting, filled with dreamy visuals, flowing designs and beautiful patterns draped in colorful pieces of cloth. It was released in early December.
The process lasted a year and a half. Dar, now the creative director of the school, was approached by AIFD CEO Maheen Lakhani Ahmer to be part of her mission to steer the school on a new course. According to Dar, she recently returned to Pakistan after studying in London on a mission to take the school on a new course – she wanted to introduce the same curriculum as international organizations. she wanted the school to take a “turn around”.
“Fashion and textile [teaching] the scene in Pakistan is not comparable to what is happening in the international scene, or even in India,” said Dar. They needed a makeover on an international scale and a makeover is what they got.
Last year, the students collaborated on a music video featuring the very talented Maria Unera. This year, they spent 10 months on the Enchanted Odyssey.
The project was carried out by students of the secondary class of AIFD. Seniors have to do two theses in their senior year and were given the opportunity to do this project in lieu of their second thesis—of course, everyone wanted to participate. Thirty-three students were selected and began working on the project with Dari.
To create the “total fashion movie,” students researched, made mood boards, color charts, and prints. The prints, said Dar images, they were first made by hand and later turned into digital prints. The blocks and screens were created by hand and the team worked on the silhouettes according to individual themes.
The students even participated in the scenography process and were assisted by the Craft Studio. First they came up with the idea, then the theme. And then they started working on the story.
“They recycled a lot in the process and used scraps and scraps,” Dar said, adding that they also bought materials at discounted prices because the school didn’t have an unlimited budget for the project. They collaborated with some well-known pros on the project — like Rhyan Thomas for hair and makeup — but the pros followed the students’ mood boards and ideas.
Through this project, Dar believes that students are taught skills that no other school teaches. When I was in the industry, I realized that many designers were not able to push outside the box, he said, adding that even a basic kurta can be elevated. But he found little or no experimentation. He believes that designers need to prepare themselves mentally and schools are not doing that.
But the AIFD project is not the only controversial one. To meet the challenge that this video was too ‘conceptual’ and not practical, they are creating a ready-to-wear line based on the collection. It will feature both eastern and western casual and semi-formal wear. In the first look, there will be nine looks, including five blouses from the psychedelic bliss section and two unstitched pieces – a sari and a velvet scarf.
Their brand, AIFD Prints, will be available at a pop-up shop on campus and online. There are also plans for a clothing exhibition. Production will be completed in January.
Dar says they are showing the strength of their students through the film because not everyone wants to be just a fashion designer. But regardless of where they envision themselves after graduation, all students are incredibly passionate about their work. “It’s different for designers. They don’t get the same respect as say doctors or engineers. I asked them [the students] why are they choosing this field and they said they could have chosen another field and gotten more respect but they chose this because they are passionate about it,” he explained.
Through the film, they are honoring creative individuals – artists, fellow designers and everyone else. The film itself is told through the eyes of a young girl and shows the journey of all creative individuals, Dar explained. The movie says that your imagination can be as wild and crazy as you want it to be.
According to Dar, it is also conveying “a designer’s intent” and the diversity of AIFD and Iqra’s student body. He said that they have students from different countries and different backgrounds. “We wanted to translate their mental stresses into a video,” he explained.
This is not a single thing. Next time they will make a collection and video, but it might be completely different.
But isn’t that the beauty of fashion and art – the ability to reinvent yourself and present something entirely new?