Monday, June 28, 2010

Pakistan Handmade Fashion Show and Expo

It's been a few days since the fashion show, but the participants are still buzzing and I'm hoping on a high from it. I thought the event was impressive! The place was standing room only - how I can remember all of the events I've put on both here and in Botswana that no one showed up for! And every Pakistan media outlet covered it along with some international press. I think that's amazing!
The show warranted attention and the organizers should be very proud of themselves. I for one, had a great time and couldn't wait to meet women that were featured on the runway (and I'm not talking about the Victoria's Secret model!)
The fashion show was actually the first day we arrive in Pakistan. We did have a chance to check in (at 3.30 am!) and relax. Some of the buyers slept. I was too excited, so I emailed, tried to reach Peter and the kids and unpacked.
We met in the lobby and got to go to a couple of stores. We were taken to two wonderful dress shops that carried the shalwar kameez. At one shop, I had a few in my hands and was wondering which one to buy. One of our "guides" on this trip, Colvin said, You know, they're $35. Why don't you get them both? So I did.
I had to buy a very large, unflatteringly huge size. Too embarrassed to tell you - but I heard Sue, another of the coordinators say that the dresses run two sizes smaller. OK. I'll go with that.
Most of us went in order to buy the traditional clothing to fit in, but we were all glad when we turned up at the fashion show looking supportive of the culture - AND we looked fabulous!
We were seated waiting for the show to begin when we were asked to go to the exhibition hall to meet the US Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne W. Patterson. She was entering the booths and at times (probably when the woman could speak better English) she was spending a long time with each participant. I was very impressed that she showed genuine interest and tried so hard to make the Pakistani women feel that their efforts were noticed.
She finally got to our "delegation" (like the sound of that, don't you?) and shook our hands, asked our names, then was going to leave when someone prompted us to tell her about our businesses and why were were here. She stood and talked to us for quite some time. She did say, "It's all well and good what you people are doing, but I was up in Boston trying to convince big business to come here to Pakistan. " Well, that says a lot about our dedication to Fair Trade and in this case women's empowerment, doesn't it, making us the ambassadors to US market you truly want?
I hope Pakistan Handmade uses the press generated to really force businesses to see that if a few small/medium businesses were willing to "risk their lives" to help a country in crisis, then maybe they should/could also. Because let me tell you people - we are being totally taken care of and while security is high, we don't feel a bit of anger toward us. Of course, it's only our first day here...

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