NEW YORK — India is all the rage in fashion, and now neighboring Pakistan is ready to give it some heady competition.

ARY Digital Network, one of the country’s main television channels, is organizing the first Pakistan Fashion Week in Lahore this October. IMG, which owns New York and Los Angeles Fashion Weeks, will serve as international consultant. IMG also has a similar role at Lakme India Fashion Week.

Though exact dates have yet to be confirmed, the four-day event will give 25 local designers, as well as five from India, the chance to showcase their collections in a unified way. The organizer expects about 16 shows to take place alongside designer exhibitions and business seminars. Over 12,000 buyers and press are projected to attend.

“It offers a great potential for both Pakistani and Indian designers,” Ravi Krishnan, managing director of IMG in South Asia, said. “People in both countries are very similar culturally, and both are growing. Retail is developing, and the opportunities for designers to establish themselves in those markets are very real.”

Fern Mallis, executive director of 7th on Sixth and vice president of IMG, added: “What goes on in that part of the world is fascinating. When I was in India [for fashion week], there were a lot of people from Pakistan, and they spend much money … .You meet people with so much style and so much taste.”

According to an ARY statement, Pakistan Fashion Week aims to encourage investments in local design talent while strengthening relations with suppliers and textile mills. In addition, it allows Indian designers to develop businesses in Pakistan.

“We expect this initiative to help grow and support the evolving fashion industry through a structured approach,” said Salman Iqbal, president and chief executive officer of ARY Digital Network, in the statement.

This story first appeared in the May 18, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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