A growing demand for ethical fashion has birthed new brands that are reinventing the traditional model for sustainable Pakistani fashion.
Wedding wear and seasonal ready-to-wear collections have long dominated the Pakistani fashion industry. With a recent shift in the global consumer mindset around ethical fashion practices, these five brands have forged their own paths for their brand identity and the production process.
Additionally, each of these brands has pursued sustainability in different forms while also reimagining what it means to be Pakistani in an increasingly globalized world.
5 Sustainable Pakistani Fashion Brands
Here are the five Pakistani brands reinventing sustainability within the fashion industry:
Cousins Zain, Ismail, and Adnan Ahmed launched Rastah in 2018. It is now considered the first luxury streetwear brand in Pakistani fashion.
Following Zain Ahmed’s creative direction, Rastah has distinguished itself by creating a dialogue between South Asian heritage through quality artisanship and ambitious western design.
Rastah’s layered sustainability affords it an unparalleled place in Pakistani fashion. Each collection piece belies quality over quantity, each capsule has a limited number of pieces, and certain garments are unique in their creation as upcycled couture.
Altogether, Rastah’s commitment to ensuring craft sustainability has also ensured a sustainable living for their artisans. Hand embroidery, hand carved blocks for printing, and hand painted motifs are all included in Rastah’s creative repertoire.
Rastah has been a trailblazer for many Pakistani fashion brands aiming to find an international audience. They have been featured in Forbes, Hypebae, Vice, and most recently in Vogue.
As a brand, Rastah is always evolving. It has made a conscious decision to make its garments a political statement on what it means to be Pakistani in all its various forms.
Their latest collection was the 2023 July Capsule. It offered limited quantities of their ambitious pleated leather pants and multi-paneled jacket, created with Pakistani hand dyeing techniques.
Headed by Parishae Adnan, the brand launched in 2022 with its first collection Un-Gaze. Inspired by female armor and warrior garb silhouettes, the collection is a redefinition of eastern femininity. A wide variety of reclaimed vintage wedding couture served as the source fabric for each piece.
Parishae also went on to launch their ready-to-wear line, Awami, in 2023, while simultaneously unveiling their perfume collection and shoes.
Parishae embraces sustainability in many ways. They ethically source all their materials to ensure garment longevity, slow consumption, and close the fashion loop.
The reversible lehenga showcased in their Fall 2022 collection, Un-Gaze, is the best representation of what Parishae stands for. The lehenga is a statement piece on reducing consumption, capable of being worn as two different outfits while being sourced from retired sherwanis.
Simple silhouettes and a focus on proper fitting define Parishae’s design. It is unique in its approach with an impressive 22 stitches per square inch as opposed to the industry standard of 12 stitches, thus ensuring long-term sustainability.
Parishae has also pushed their commitment to sustainability to the very end of the spectrum. Because of this, their glass bottles are 100% recycled, their shoe soles are hand crafted from 100% recycled rubber, and their packaging is made of recycled cardboard.
Parishae welcomed 2023 with the opening of “Ahankara”, described as the evolution of ego. The collection uses flowy chiffon outfits juxtaposed with recycled plastic embellishments.
“Anatomy of Power”, Parishae’s most recent collection, was created using textile waste, ocean plastic, and recycled steel for accessories. Each outfit contrasts straight lines with fitted innerwear inspired by western style waistcoats.
Launched in late 2022, AOMI is another Pakistani fashion brand serving the international market with western inspired casual wear reinterpreted through a South Asian lens.
Led by the husband-wife duo, Omer Farooq and Anusheh Omer, AOMI takes conceptual inspiration from the unique history of Karachi and design ingenuity from artisanal practices across Pakistan.
AOMI’s emphasis on quality fabric and strong silhouettes have ensured their dedication to craftsmanship. The brand aims to showcase how such fusion based garments can relate to concepts of identity in a globalized world.
Karachi’s history, including its political turmoil, has inspired the collection. Accordingly, to bring this history into conversation with the garment, AOMI has beautifully utilized traditional Sindhi techniques of Ralli and Kantha.
AOMI espouses a strong dedication towards continuing traditional artisan practices. Concurrently, all AOMI collections are available in limited pieces. Furthermore, AOMI is proudly designed, sourced, and created in Pakistan.
Bazazi launched in late 2020 with a focus on handcrafted garments offering both ease of access and comfort in wearing.
Their journey has seen them evolve from minimalistic embellishments on eastern and western cuts. The brand now creates their own stylistic narrative through silhouette manipulation.
Also at the forefront of their mission statement as a Pakistani fashion brand is the desire to empower communities through the power of storytelling in fashion.
Bazazi has dedicated itself to ensuring the continuity of artisanal heritage practices within Pakistan through sustainable creation.
Bazazi’s garments are either fully or partially recycled. Their ‘No Waste’ T-shirt is a work of art, created with clean fabric waste, fresh cotton waste, and reclaimed thread and buttons.
Alongside their commitment to working with recycled materials and restricting textile waste, Bazazi also offers a straightforward option of introducing sustainably sourced clothing to one’s closet.
5. Shahkaar by Adila
Based in Lahore, Shahkaar by Adila has retained the made-to-order ideals popular within South Asia while ensuring ethical and sustainable fashion practices from the start to the end of their process.
Additionally, the brand offers a variety of garments in both Eastern and Western formal and casual wear with the added option of customer personalization.
As a Pakistani fashion brand, Shahkaar by Adila places ethical fashion practices at the core of their design. Fresh textile waster and slow produced fabric serves as the base for each garment. Above all, each item is made-to-order with a chance for personalization.
The brand is paving the way for changes within the Pakistani fashion industry. It has given customers a say in the creation of the garment and have ensured the quality of the fabric for longevity to lessen consumption.
Additionally, Shahkaar by Adila is also one of the few brands taking a stand for fair wages for artisans conducting heritage based craftswork.
Customer satisfaction has afforded Shahkaar by Adila an organic method of expanding their market niche. From working primarily with women’s fashion, the brand has simultaneously moved into men’s fashion and children’s formal wear.
Their latest foray has been the launch of their home goods section, also containing hand painted items and hand carved block prints.
They are also currently planning an exhibition for their bridal section, created with similar sustainable techniques.
To read more about sustainability focused startups in Pakistan, click here for a list of ten companies changing the sustainability landscape. To know more about creative entrepreneurs in Pakistan, click here!