Designer Focus: Ali Xeeshan


It’s pretty difficult being a blogger. There are so many books I have read, places I have traveled, and designers I know that I forget to include them in my blog posts. I was painfully reminded of one Pakistani designer I missed out in my previous posts and for that I apologize wholeheartedly. The purpose of this blog is to impart knowledge and shed light on all the talented authors and designers in the world. I hope the team at Ali Xeeshan can forgive me as I make it up to them.

I am a pretty regular viewer of Nida Yasir’s Good Morning Pakistan on ARY. She does an excellent job keeping her viewers posted about the new trends in fashion and beauty and teaches us all about established and upcoming designers. I am a great fan of her shows that deal with fashion, so it was no surprise that when Ali Xeeshan was featured, along with some other upcoming talent, I was all ears.

I am not sure why I didn’t hear about Ali Xeeshan before. Maybe because I was developing myself as a fashionista and knew of only handful of designers such as Bunto Kazmi, Sana Sanfinaz, and Umar Saeed. But what struck me first about him was his appearance and demeanor. I am a different soul that way. I am more curious about the artist and his life than his/her art itself. It’s fun to know what influences a painting or in this case an outfit and seek it out in your own mind as you view the piece. Anyways, his appearance was quite unique than the other Pakistani designers. It was grand, avant-guard, edgy, and daring like  Versace or Alexander McQueen. He had on an all black outfit with giant, black spectacles that Sylvia Weinstock’s is known for. I believe he had a cane and earrings too (????).

Raised in United States, his appearance didn’t turn me off, but rather intrigued me. I couldn’t put my finger on his sexuality, but, he was so well-dressed, I thought he was gay. And a gay man can dress me any day because they know how to make a woman feel special and the aesthetics of dressing. Sorry Ali Xeeshan if you are not, I am a progressive girl who is a little blunt at times.

Once we moved on to the clothes, I was even more impressed. His work reflects the most ornate Mughal fashion. His models, the jewelry they had on, and of course the clothes reminded me of some coronation party of a Mughal prince or princess. So is he different and if he is, how is he different than the great Bunto Kazmi, who specializes in Mughal designs?

In our humble opinion, he is different, but not in a better or worse way. Bunto Kazmi’s embroidery is superb, but she sticks to rather traditional cuts in her designs. Her embroidery is bar none, but the originality in her work lies in her embroidery and her embroidery designs, not her cuts. Ali Xeeshan’s genius lies in how he incorporates traditional embroidery in more edgy cuts. He designs tiered ghararas (an original idea), lenghas with modern cholis, tiered peshwas, and everything in between including worked shawls and chaaders. His bold designs and color combinations are for those fashionistas who know how to make an impression on their admirers.

I am happy to say that like other Pakistani designers, he always has a social message in his runway shows. So besides learning all about the trending clothes, you get to inform yourself of what social issues are important to the designer. Highly creative incorporation in my opinion. Just last year, he highlights the important issue of child marriages through his line “Khaamoshi”. A good cause mixed with his work- a noble man indeed.

His embroidery is another amazing facet about his clothes. He revives a lot of traditional work much like Bunto. You can find pearls, stones, tilla work, thread work intricately woven in high quality fabric. His designs are unique and bold too. A big lotus here, a bird there, there is a story delineated in his pieces.

Like Bunto and other hard working production design houses, he doesn’t come cheap. Expect to pay a minimum of Rs. 3.5+. However, if you love Ali Xeeshan as a person (I do!) and want to look different during any event, add his work in your designer collection. You will stand out from the crowd.


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