Designer Ali Xeeshan has addressed the social media outrage that followed the debut of his latest campaign aimed at highlighting the culture of dowry.
Xeeshan’s collection, titled Numaish, created somewhat of a storm on social media after campaign pictures of a young bride pulling a cart loaded with dowry went viral. A collaboration with UN Women Pakistan’s ‘Jahez Khori Band Karo’ campaign, Xeeshan’s work was slammed for being hypocritical.
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Netizens pointed out how each of the designer’s ensemble is worth well over what many can afford, and so, branded him a hypocrite for aligning himself with the ‘anti-dowry’ cause. “Ali Xeeshan wants to highlight the dowry and wedding finance issues while selling lehengas worth 12 lakh. Okay,” wrote one user.
Addressing the criticism in an Independent Urdu video, Xeeshan said, “Many people say that you make expensive outfits, then why are you talking about this? These two are very different things – that (designing outfits) is my business and no one is compelled to buy them.”
“If you can afford my clothes please be my guests and if you can’t then don’t put yourself under the pressure,” he added.
He also shed light on his thought process while working on the campaign. “I was only looking into girls’ struggle but later I realized that dowry pressurizes the parents more. I remember last year a client’s wedding was called off because one of the demands from the groom’s side was to have a gold-plated shaving kit,” he recalled.
Xeeshan concluded his argument with a strong point: “Agar meray say koi poochay keh mere kapray khareeday ya beti ko education de, toh beti ko education day dein. Mein kapray baich loon ga. (If someone asks me whether they should buy my clothes or educate their daughter, I would tell them to educate their daughter. I can sell my clothes anyway).”
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