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Umair Tabani shares some priceless wisdom with Nadia Elahi. Hejab Zafar, Amna Aqeel and Owais (not in picture but in room) during one of our classes.

The ninth session of Fashion Media 101 ended and registrations for the tenth began today. The TENTH session, I can’t believe how far we’ve come with more than sixty people passing through the course in two years and benefitting from it, I like to think.

Naturally, not all people walk away with the same kind of education. But when I look back, I’d say some of Fashion Media’s biggest success stories, ie students who took it seriously enough to change the laid back course they were on and turn it to professional, were Ibrahim Hanif (who opened a R2W shop on Zamzama and showed at Fashion Week), Mona J (who started taking her publicity seriously and eventually participated in Karachi Fashion Week), Arsalaan Yahseer (who recently showed at FPW), Maha Burney, Sanam Chaudhri, the people at Stoneage and Bonanza, Rizwana Khan, Nida Ali, Kashif Rashif and many more.

There were others who sauntered in for the first class and never came back. There were even a few who registered and never turned up. Perhaps they felt they were pleasing me by signing up. Quite the contrary, when they didn’t take the class seriously.

It’s a serious course. For people who want to be in fashion as serious professionals. And for all of you wondering what it’s all about…

1. It’s about being thoroughly well informed about world fashion and the rise of our own industry. As Rizwan Beyg (one of our guest instructors) said, “If you don’t read then I feel very sorry for you. It’s vital to be informed about the field you’re in.”

2. It’s about building networks, the right networks, to operate within.

3. It’s about thinking of yourself as a brand as opposed to a small time business person. It’s about having a vision for yourself; a five year plan at least. Umair Tabani told the class that at Sania Maskatiya they preferred to invest in a professional PR company like Lotus than invest in billboards and expensive ads.

4. The workshop is about planning your shoots, your ads and planning your debut in the industry. One of the most informative classes was conducted by Sonya Battla who told students the basics of planning shoots and ads.

5. It’s about taking your own image seriously.

6. And last but not least, it’s about knowing and understanding the importance of media in carving an identity for yourself.

That’s what Fashion Media 101 is about. The classes are small and intimate, because each course is customized to suit the students. A class with stylists will get to meet Nabila and hold her as example. Upcoming designers have been to Maheen Khan’s factory/studio to see how she works and she’s been very inspirational. Rizwan Beyg has been generous and insightful. Zahir Rahimtoola has spoken to many sessions about the inner dynamics of fashion retailing effectively and Umair Tabani shared the Sania Maskatiya business module with our students. That’s all very priceless information, I feel!

I am looking forward to meeting the next batch on August 25 because no matter how much I teach, there’s always a lot to be learnt in return too!

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