HSY gets bigger
When a designer known for bridals collaborates with a fabric
manufacturer and retailer as huge as Bareeze to create ready to
wear, we know the industry is finally on the right track. Size
does matter, and no one knows that better than Hassan Sheheryar
Yasin By Sonya Rehman
fashion has an energy. The most dynamic designers world over are on
a perpetual quest for the next frontier. In Pakistan, while the most
established names in fashion are by and large on a mission to make
the most expensive bridal, it is the younger lot of designers who
are breaking new ground. Hassan Sheheryar Yasin, better known as HSY,
has been on a continuous trip of expansion ever since he stepped into
the world of Pakistani fashion and his recent merge with an extremely
popular local cloth house has set the standard of what Pakistani designers
should be aiming for.
Scooping up a medium-sized booklet and handing it over, "HSY",
the designer says with utmost suspense, "is going to be merging
with Bareeze! The label is called 'B HSY' (the 'B' standing for Bareeze)
and is a ready-to-wear line which will only be available at HSY and
Bareeze outlets". Interesting, I thought going through the booklet
as Hassan continued, "we're targeting everyone really, every
age group that would like to dress with sophistication". What
I gathered was that each outfit - made of the characteristic Bareeze
material (silks and embroidered chikan) - had the definite HSY stamp
on it. Hassan sure knows how to pack the 'p' back in 'punch'
In his sleek, minimalist, two-storey, stark white (save the splashes
of colour that his creation's make rack after rack) studio where we
meet to discuss this landmark, the designer sits comfortably on a
couch, leaning forward every now and then to answer a question of
interest. And as he talks about his huge achievements, he unravels
fragments of his life that lead him into the business of fashion years
The catalyst of change for Hassan (before he ventured out into the
field of fashion) was a severe car accident that left him with absolutely
no visibility for months on end. "I'd hate for this to sound
melodramatic", he tells me assertively, "but it really changed
my life around". In a nutshell, Hassan began his career as a
fashion choreographer in the early nineties, and it was only until
he graduated from the Pakistan School of Fashion Design, that the
'HSY' brand persona took flight and tornadoed headlong into the fashion
industry. Like a bull in a china shop, with years of choreographing
behind him (which aided somewhat in the establishment of his name),
Hassan launched his career with a meager Rs. 2,500 in the kitty and
two old-fashioned sewing machines.
That seems a lifetime ago. Those foundation years are long gone and
today the designer seems to be taking one revolutionary step after
another to elevate fashion in Pakistan to higher levels. He has managed
to corporatize the trade and this merger with Bareeze has set the
perfect example for the industry to follow.
As we meet to discuss this scoop, Hassan also talks about the CARE
fashion show he is holding at the Governor House in Lahore next week.
Switching on his laptop and making me hear a song or two he excitedly
runs me through each segment. From his choreographing to his music
selection and like a stickler for detail, it is no wonder that HSY
is doing so well. His shows are immaculate - a majority of local fashion
shows often lack finesse in terms of the music and all it really takes
is one bad number to cut a designer's outfit down to sorry little
shreds. And more than anything, he has the perfect acumen as to how
to run a business.
Apart from his new 'B HSY' label with Bareeze, Hassan is also working
on 'HSY Arabia' - a line intended for the Middle Eastern market that
primarily focuses on the traditional abaya.
Hassan continues to speak of venturing into "new-age-homely"
furniture which is "a good eight to nine months in the pipeline",
the fact that he had long before "stopped looking for people's
approval", his exciting "I could almost cut into the energy"
experience at the New York Fashion Week, how his love for dancing
led him to prance around the studio to a Madonna number (in front
of one of his scandalized burqa-clad clients), the upcoming Dubai
Fashion Week (out of which 30 international designers - HSY is one),
and his love for travel ("because in another country when people
don't recognize you, you realize you're just another average Joe").
Without a self-protective facade, arrogant hang-ups or snooty inhibitions,
Hassan, I gather is just a very hardworking, on the ball and focused
individual who leaves no time for small talk and social politics.
Speaking of the Pakistan Fashion Week (PFW), which is due to be held
in Lahore this November, Hassan states that he wanted HSY to be a
"step ahead for it", "Because in volume the buyers
will want and expect creativity" he concludes resolutely. Had
he thought about what sort of fabrics, cuts and colours HSY, the brand,
would be working with for PFW? "Not really, it's too early to
say anything right now. All I can say however is that the line we'll
be showing is prêt."
With regard to the much hyped rift between the Lahore/Karachi fashion
councils, he diplomatically states, "I really don't see a rift
between the two."
Hassan's aura is incredibly active, animated and rather spirited -
the kind that rubs off onto you. Walking out of the HSY studio I am
convinced that fashion, like music, has an energy of its own. It is
corporeal and, addictive.
A sneak peak at HSY's debut B-HSY collection can be seen on Style
Watch this space next week for a review of the HSY CARE show…