Shahzad Raza talks about modelling and fashion week overkill

KARACHI: The Ather-Shahzad name has become synonymous with modelling in Lahore. Photographer and stylist Shahzad Raza, who has almost two decades of experience, talks to The Express Tribune about the state of modelling.

What does it take to become a model?
Keeping international standards in mind, girls should be tall and have an attitude.

Raza walks the runway at PFDC Fashion Week. PHOTO: FAISAL FAROOQUI/TAPU JAVERI

How are models discovered?
Girls sometimes call us directly for a shoot (since they want to be photographed). Some are chaperoned by their mothers, and come to us and you can then find a pretty face. But there are other options too – if you notice a girl somewhere you can approach her to become a model, but we have never done this.

People associated with the industry say Ather-Shahzad models only work with them. Does the duo restrict models?
No, we don’t have a contract with models. A girl of today is educated and smart and it is all about the comfort level one gets while working in a team. If they feel comfortable with us, then they will work with us. This is what is happening worldwide in how agencies work with models.

Lahore has very quickly become a hub for fashion. Does the rapid expansion have any disadvantages?
Not really. In 1993 (when Ather-Shahzad started), there were no fashion journalists, designers, models or photographers in Lahore. Today, even if nothing new is being done, at least there is still work. Initially there will be mistakes and a lot of issues will arise, but this will surely be a platform for more professional and better people to come forward and work.

How is Ather-Shahzad planning to expand?
We have been planning things such as opening up branches of our salon and studio. But I am a perfectionist to the core and since I believe in that philosophy, it is a little hard to go about doing stuff. In the end, the loss is ours but at least things are under my control. But Inshallah you will soon see something new from our side.

Who is your current favourite model?
Nadia Ali is a supermodel; she is the queen of the catwalk. Cybil (Chowdhry) is another good model. She is out of this world. Mehreen Syed is a thoroughly professional person and dedicated to her work. All of these girls are a ‘complete package’ and they are all-rounders.

There are a number of fashion weeks organised in Pakistan every year. Do you feel they should be unified?
I believe one fashion week should be held every season. We should join hands and there shouldn’t be separate fashion weeks in Karachi and Lahore. We should stand united. At the international level, we are known as Pakistanis (not Lahoris and Karachiites) and that is how we should work. If we unite and work, we will do wonders.

Source The Express Tribune


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