“Previously A Challenge, The Industry Now Embraces The Art Of Fashion” Hassan Riaz

Hassan Riaz needs no introduction. His brand GOGI has made waves on the local and international fashion scene with his pioneering of creating art in fashion through unconventional concepts and bringing odds together. In an exclusive conversation with Fashion Times Magazine, maverick Hassan Gogi talks about his journey, design philosophy, fashion, style, future endeavors and much more. Read on…

Fashion Times Magazine (FTM): What excites you about fashion? 

Hassan Gogi (HG): Fashion is very dynamic. It is an expression of one’s personality. It’s a cultural identity of a society’s creative imagination; and self-expression of the soul. It is a signature of individuality, a present that shapes you as a complete example to be followed. It is important to understand, that fashion is that stretch that beautifully expands life. Fashion is a form of art, philosophy and human poetry, so all these things excite me about fashion.

(FTM): What is your design philosophy?

(HG): The design philosophy of my brand is very simple and clear. It is about the live examples that we see every day; their strength and power, hardness and softness of the society. My philosophy is a combination and balances both. For instance, one of our collections would consist of every single element, both hard and soft. Brand GOGI isn’t just about flowing clothes and glamour. So, the philosophy at its core is about empowerment, strength, positivity, beauty, and belief. It’s different, new and unique. We have built the brand with unconventional materials, fabric, and different methods. We believe in making you stand out in the public.

(FTM): What were the initial challenges of the fashion industry when you started? 

(HG): The journey was a bit difficult in the beginning. I studied and graduated in Pakistan, and then went abroad to Paris to complete my master’s. After being one of the brightest students in Paris, I was handpicked by one of the most appreciated brands in the world, through a company called Eclat. It was a different scenario, I was in a Western world and later on I had to come back to Pakistan as my father wasn’t well and later passed away. I decided to stay back and be a part of the Pakistan fashion industry. I felt like an alien because whenever I showcased my collection on the ramp, the industry bashed my work like an enemy. I had a tough time, it was very difficult for people to digest my work, I believe in very unconventional concepts, bringing odds together and creating an art of fashion.

However, with time one keeps on building and improving their product. Against the demand, I made people realize that the need for the brand GOGI is there. If you don’t taste failures early on, you can’t be successful. Failure is the first step behind your progress. We as a brand believe in this theory. Subsequently, the same industry that once said that there was no space for my craft, later on, started liking and praising it. Time flies, we have completed a decade in the business. We will soon be celebrating this milestone with an exciting collection and solo fashion show. The art of fashion was a challenge when I started out but now it is accepted in our industry.

(FTM): Name one model and one actress whom you think looks best in your creations?

(HG): That’s a difficult one. Our collection is all about women, we believe in making women beautiful. Every woman is beautiful in her own way. I can’t take anyone’s name, but yes it is important to mention that it is always an honor for us when we work with models who have helped and devoted themselves in building the fashion industry. To name a few, Nadia Hussain, Sunita Marshall, Mehreen Syed, Cybil J. Chowdhry and Noor Bhatti are among the pioneers of the industry. Ditto for the actresses, each one of them unique in their own way. Saba Qamar, Ayesha Omar, Nimra Khan, Sajal Aly and Maya Ali carry outfits beautifully and bring something new to society. They not only contribute to the entertainment industry but also make the fashion industry a beautiful place.

(FTM): What sort of growth opportunities do you see in the international market?

(HG): Every economy is built on textile or the fashion sector. In Pakistan, we have to understand that there are ample international opportunities through which we can create very top-class products and export them. This will not only help in building the brand and serve masses but will contribute in booming our own economy. Opportunities are always there in the international market, it is important to understand how you hit and target them with the right research and approach. It is also important to build our own industry and then seep international market to make Pakistan a better-developed fashion place.

(FTM): Any advice for aspiring fashion designers?

(HG): You are all very amazing, full of skill and talent, but be yourself. You will built the society and people will like you. Don’t copy others, be inspired by your seniors and learn from their work and experience. I got inspired by designers like Omar Saeed, Bunto Kazmi, Nilofer Shahid and Rizwan Beyg. I have taken my guidance from them to build myself. Come up with your own signature style so people can identify your name and brand. Don’t become a follower, be a trendsetter.

(FTM): Lastly, can you tell us about your future endeavors?

(HG): We are planning a grand solo show to celebrate ten years of the brand GOGI. The show will be all about women empowerment. The collection will be created by women around us. It would be a representation of women all around the world, from all industries and sectors. Being a creative director and consultant all around the world, we have some major exciting projects coming up that would be a true representation of the hidden treasures of Pakistan. Another project we are working on is our initial welfare of training women and villager girls. We are extending our work all across Pakistan. So in the future, they will be one of the designers, and participators in building the economy of Pakistan.

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