The best of Pakistan's fashion industry comprising big fashion houses and retailers of footwear, jewellery and highly coveted textiles and dress materials such as lawn fabrics among others are showcasing their products in a first ever lifestyle exhibition in India.
Over 100 Pakistani top brands and designers from fashion textiles, jewellery, designer furniture and leather goods are showcasing their items at the four day exhibition that will conclude here on April 15.
This is a collaborative exhibition of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) and India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO).
While big fashion houses from the neighbouring country are excited about entering the Indian market with pret-wear to cater to local masses while looking forward to taking back designs and fabrics to sell back home, individual designers say their focus would be to solely showcase authentic Pakistani style.
Lahore-based group Safeem, one of the biggest fashion houses in Pakistan which retails garments, and ready-mades for children and working women plans to enter the Indian market with a dynamic product range of creative designer dress materials and ready to wear range.
"The India fashion industry is rapidly growing, thereby offering Indian and foreign retailers a huge business opportunity. Owing to demand for Pakistani dress material in India and given the strong potential of this market, we are looking to significantly strengthen our presence in the country," Zain Aziz, International Business Head, Sefam told PTI.
"For our popular brand Bareez, we are looking at both franchise model and brand stores to be available across more than 200 brand stores in Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh and Ludhiana by 2015," said Aziz.
The group, he told, is also planning to set up an Indian Fashion house which would create products based on Indian fabrics and designs and sell it in Pakistan.
"Pakistani cuts and designs are very much liked by the Indian customers. I had a private fashion exhibit before the fair and all my clothes are sold out," says individual designer Goodu who goes by the label Suzan Khar .
During the opening day Goodu says his designs were greeted with apprehension by customers to his stall.
"We have extremely long kurtas and some of the designs are not Indian enough but customers were delighted on the stunning results they got after trying out some outfits," says Goodu.
Smaller fashion houses like Ensemble Pakistan re-sell designer brands like Sabyasacchi, Satya Paul, Tarun Tahiliani and others.
"We retail both Indian and Pakistani designer outfits in Pakistan. It is a part of people to people contact. It has been now 10 years we have been organising fashion shows of both Indian and Pakistani designers. We would first like to exhibit more in India and then can think about having outlets in India," says Pakistani designer Shezray Husain.
Faiza Samee, a top designer who shot into prominence in the global fashion world for designing the late Benazir Bhutto's wedding and reception outfits says she does not believe in the concept of stores.
She does not have a store in Pakistan and works out of her studio that opens only for two hours every day where customers have to obtain a prior appointment.
"Thinking about setting up a store in India is out of the question. If some franchise or store contacts me then we can supply our outfits. People buy my outfits because of the unique designs. So changing my designs for the Indian customers is not possible," says Samee.
Shafaq Habib, who is considered to be a pioneer in jewellery designing in Pakistan and owns a shop on New York's fashionable 5th Avenue says that she does have a lot of Indian customers abroad.
"This is the first time I am exhibiting in India and after seeing the response here then only I will open a store here," says Shafaq whose clients comprise socialites and upmarket customers as well as the diplomats and delegates including the wife of Prime Minister Yousf Raza Gilani and relatives of President Zardari.
Other designers from Pakistan who are showcasing here are Sahar Atif with her Pareesa by ChenOne, Honey Waqar, who is a regular participant of Bridal Asia exhibitions in India, Rizwan Beyg, Asim Jofa and Maria Bilal.