From working on campaigns that portray controversial societal issues to collaborating with German designer Miro Craemer and showcasing at Neonyt – founder of Nasheman, Waqar J Khan has worked on several projects in and out of Pakistan that have not only helped him gain exposure in the industry but have also given him the skills required to run his own brand.
Nasheman has been working with the Olive Ridley Project since 2018, an organisation that protects marine life in the Indian Ocean through the removal of ghost nets (more commonly known as fishing nets). If left in our seas, they would not only harm sea creatures, but also affect the ecosystem of fisheries and impact our shorelines. Abdul Rehman Goth, a centuries-old fishing village locally known as “Bhuleji” is where we work with the fishermen’s wives in upcycling these ghost nets into colorful accessories. Waqar J Khan also works with ORP as a design consultant for its dog leashes made of upcycled ghost nets.
Waqar J Khan was one of the selected brands for the Neonyt show during Berlin Fashion Week in July 2019, alongside other renowned sustainable fashion designers from around the world. The most popular Nasheman pieces at the show were organic cotton flared pants, handwoven and hand embroidered Balochi kaftan, hand-painted clutch and sunglasses in Jundri work and a beaded necklace made by Kalashi women artisans from Pakistan. Being the only Pakistani designer, it was a great honor to represent his home country on an international platform like Neonyt.
During a 1 month period with The Do School in Berlin, Waqar J Khan was chosen as 1 of the 20 participants out of 1,200 applicants from around the world to study fashion technology and social entrepreneurship for the Connected Fashion Challenge by H&M. Through a collaborative effort in a group of 4 from various backgrounds, they were able to present a high-end sustainable garment that was infused with technology.
WWF-Pakistan presented the Green Innovation Challenge, a competition that was aimed at empowering the next generation of social entrepreneurs by providing a platform to transform their ideas into ventures with a strong potential to reduce or eliminate plastic waste in Pakistan. Waqar J Khan made a coat and clutch out of upcycled plastic bori (rice sack) and interweaved it with embroidery by female home-based workers of Sindh, Pakistan.
Miro Craemer is a fashion designer that has worked as an independent designer for various labels. Since 2015, he has been conceiving and curating various projects which explore the interrelationship between art, fashion and textiles, staging performative works, hosting workshops and exhibiting in a variety of spaces. In 2016, the journey between Miro and Waqar J Khan began. It explored the exchange of different cultural influences in Germany and Pakistan, and the power of fashion as an expression of social change and cultural exchange.
This campaign was based on the poetry of Muhammad Iqbal, who also studied in Munich for a while, and his theme of the hawk as a sign of self-consciousness and self-overcoming. It is about a clear position for a sensual, but also strong femininity in a combination of oriental and western style elements.
This was the first collection between the German and Pakistani designers. Enshrined in the idea of this collection is the interweaving of cultural aesthetics and craftsmanship of women home-based workers from different rural areas of Pakistan, with the aim of common trademark which is subject to the rules of fair production and fair trade – unique in the combination of two textile oriented countries.
In this campaign, Waqar J Khan wanted to portray the challenges that the youth of Pakistan faces as a result of child marriages. The photoshoot features three girls, portrayed as submissive child brides on one hand, but contrasted with confident sport players on the other that have courage to face the world. This seeks to highlight how early marriage can not only take away a girl’s right to education, but ruin her chances of building a future overall.
Families from these poverty-stricken areas wish to get rid of their girls as early as possible in order to reduce their financial burden, and so get them married at the first opportunity. However, parents of these girls let them continue training after seeing them perform. For example, 12-year-old boxer Suman, studying in Grade 8, is the first girl from her family to participate in outdoor activities. The other two girls featured are: footballer Esha who is 10 years old and studies in Grade 5; and cricketer Areeba who is 8 years old, studying in Grade 4.
Learn more about the campaign here.
In November 2016, the Pakistani fashion community welcomed the first transgender model, Kami Sid, in a powerful photoshoot styled by Waqar J Khan, with makeup by Depilex’s Nighat Misbah and photography by Haseeb Siddiqui. In a country where transgender violence is a common occurrence, Kami Sid is a social activist that is known for being vocal about transgender rights in the Pakistani society. The campaign breaks barriers in the transgender community and celebrates their beauty while assuring others that they are no less than us. Since fashion is all about setting trends, Waqar wanted to set the trend of acceptance so they can get equal rights – in the fashion industry and beyond.
Learn more about the campaign here.