Dissecting UnGaze - Parishae Adnan’s Debut Fashion Show

Dissecting UnGaze - Parishae Adnan’s Debut Fashion Show


The early winter air carried with it the weight of expectation and exhilaration. It wasn’t just the fact that Pakistan was playing against England in the World Cup final, as was evident by the group of people crowding the large television screen at District19. In fact, the entire reason why the space was filled - with Dr. Hassan Mallick’s musical testing as Nirvana Principle in the background doubling as the perfect score for the evening - was because Parishae Adnan was making her full-fledged debut as a designer with a fashion show that would become one for the books.

Oftentimes, in Pakistan, when one pays tribute to femininity, it is done through the male gaze. After all, with centuries of the patriarchal order defining the status quo, even women struggle to shed the same lens that rears its mighty head time and again. However, Parishae managed to arrange a fashion show of such great significance, that the entire concept was left gasping for air amongst the deafening applause in the aftermath of the entire ordeal. 

The UnGaze collection is markedly significant for a plethora of reasons. Disruptive at its very core, with 25 staggeringly powerful looks overpowering the makeshift runway at the venue, this spellbinding ode to femininity is nuanced and symbolic. It places female sexuality and presentation at its very center, taking womanhood out of its abashed state and placing it into the spotlight in complete magnanimity. Diverse - with women in niqabs, transgender women, to women of all body types walking the show - the collection calls upon women to awaken their inner warrior.

The collection holds a sword to the neck of the male gaze, with reclamation as its central theme. Revisiting tales as old as time itself, UnGaze rewrites the very pages of history, stamping femininity in spaces where it was eradicated. It is both a collection and an exercise in the art of unlearning - peeling off 

layers of masculine influence to place women on the pedestal that was always rightfully theirs.

On the surface, the name of the collection simply translates to lowering one’s gaze - the forgotten respect ascribed to women through ancient teachings. Time, and the patriarchy, morphed these values and constructed womanhood through a gaze that objectifies womankind, and places women in a tier far lower than men within the existing hierarchy.

However, the Urdu meaning of the same, ‘Angez’, is synonymous with excitement, and action. The collection combines these two meanings to create a new one: the female form is now an active one - in complete possession of itself, with no human master, and one worthy of commanding unwavering awe. In addition to this, the phrase, ‘of love and armor’ combines the divine nurturer and the ferocious warrior - both of whom reside in every woman. 

Parishae’s desire to breathe life into a collection as game-changing as this stemmed from her losing patience with the idea of men defining femininity. Her work is an outright rejection of what the male order states women should be, and she aligns herself with the moment that is to come: one where the future is as female as it is male.

Furthermore, the collection places sustainability at the forefront. Every single article had been upcycled from Amir Adnan’s sherwanis that were decades old. Doubling as a tribute to her father’s work, Parishae carries on her family legacy of design and creation in ways that are innovative, but also environmentally friendly.

“All pieces in this capsule couture collection,” states Parishae, “are made from vintage pieces that were initially designed by my father roughly 15-20 years ago. I don’t believe in fast fashion. I think pieces are meant to be cherished - they’re meant to last.”

“In a world where waste should define our currency and circularity must be the million-dollar question, I take the basis of a man's wardrobe to redefine feminine power, providing a democratic dress code that ultimately delivers freedom, equality, and understated classicism.” 

Witnessing a unique blend of womenfolk parading the collection with unmatched grace and untethered vigor, one takes in just how monumental that moment was. It is evident that the younger generation does not believe in ripples. They create disruptive waves, the force of which is felt even after extended periods of time. With a thoroughly promising beginning, one can only wait with bated breath to experience what Parishae Adnan has to offer next.

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