We’ve always had Generation. Even when prêt wasn’t all the rage, ready-to-wear outlets weren’t dotting every nook and cranny and we were still making routine visits to our no-good dilly-dallying tailors, there was always the one store where a girl could go and just buy clothes, right off the rack, in Small, Medium or Large, however you pleased.
Thirty odd years ago, Generation nailed the market for ready-to-wear with its steady flow of stock in multiple sizes and easy-breezy designs. It’s been there ever since – and right about now, it’s getting very, very interesting.
For somewhere along the line, as fashion rocketed to new heights, enterprising, young designers entered the fray, fashion weeks started setting seasonal trends and the average woman became more fashion-savvy, Generation had slipped towards the mundane. In an effort to remain retail-friendly, the designs had become far too run-of-the-mill and while some of the brand’s regular clientele built over the years kept drifting in, many lurked elsewhere.
Yes, the clothes were pretty enough, but they weren’t really pushing that all-important fashion envelope. From pioneering fashion many years ago, Generation had dwindled to retailing comfortable day-wear that hardly ever sizzled or turned heads.
Desperately, the brand needed to get back on track – and it has.
Winding through the many racks that are part of any one of the sizable eight Generation stores dotted about the country, one sees myriad sartorial options. The embroidered three-pieces in cotton, net and silk are still there, for these ‘Classics’ remain a huge hit with many of the brand’s customers, but nudging shoulders with them are bright pops of fascinating fashion.
There are digitally printed splashes or colour and scenery, delicate Persian florals, bright geometric weaves, quirky odes to the 1980s music icon Nazia Hassan and even cotton tunics dotted with images of chip brand ‘Top Pops’.
An entire range is constructed with lightweight denim, embellished with a pocket or zips or just a tiny smattering of embroidery.
Lengths vary, hems dip and dive and options run the gamut from basic tunics to cigarette pants, wraps, blazers, flappers and separate shawls and dupattas. At prices flitting about or below Rs5,000, it’s all very affordable.
“We wanted to create designs that young women could wear casually during the day as well as dress up for the evening,” says Alizay Awan, Generation’s Marketing Executive.
“Our funkier designs are part of the ‘Generation Flo’ line where we’ve diverted from our quintessential embroideries and focused on silhouettes and cuts. We’re planning to innovate further with the line and we’ll also be showcasing at the Spring/Summer edition of the PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week,” says Alizay.
This will be Generation’s second tryst at a PFDC fashion week, although it hasn’t yet established itself as a brand synonymous with catwalk glamour.
“That’s going to change this year when we bring a new line of formals at the PSFW,” says Alizay.
Does this mean that the brand will be veering towards the risqué gowns and Western-wear that is always rampant on the Pakistani runway?
“Not really; our forte has always been in creating innovative designs while sticking to our traditions,” says Alizay. “Besides, our focus is mainly on retail and we want to show designs that bring in sales and not just fashion week accolades.”
Generation, after all, has always dressed the masses, whereas the demand for Western-wear is limited to a very niche market. Creating Western-wear is not every atelier’s ballgame and it makes sense that Generation rolls with what it does best.
But as it gathers pace, the brand needs to keep its focus on fashion, where it has gained an edge again and after a long time.
In Pakistan, where the baggy long shirt continues to be in demand and insufferable, fake designer logos are worn rampantly, it’s easy for a retail brand to slip towards creating clothes that only sell well rather than set new trends and to trundle down into the florals and paisley rut set in by Khaadi and replicated by so many others.
Generation has resurfaced with lineups that are refreshing, fun and fashion-forward – let’s hope it stays that way.