Designer Jattinn Kochhar’s hopes of bridging the gap between India and Pakistan through his fashion collection have been shot down literally before they could take flight.
Kochhar had been invited by Pakistan’s Ministry of Textile to showcase his collection at the Grand Finale Show of the Karachi Fashion Week, to be held from January 31-February 3. At the last moment, however, his visa was denied, leaving the designer, who had especially created outfits reflecting an amalgamation of Indian and Pakistani influences, furious.
“It’s childish and weird. Why would they not want a cultural exchange to happen? Whatever happens on the political front shouldn’t affect common people like us,” says Kochhar, who also met Pakistan’s ambassador to India for help, but to no avail. “He told me, ‘It’s this whole IPL issue. Until I get clearance from the Home Ministry, I cannot help.’ I put in money, energy and months of hard work, it’s not a joke,” he adds.
Designer Ashish Pandey and choreographer Lisa Verma, who were also invited for the event, faced a similar predicament. Says Verma, “I lost out on business. The IPL cost me heavily. Pakistan’s High Commission flatly refused the visa.”
The fashion fraternity clearly isn’t pleased. Designer Varun Bahl says, “It’s unfortunate and shouldn’t have happened.”
Designer Vijay Arora concurs, “Whatever the political mess it is, why should people like us suffer?” Designer Shantanu Mehra says, “It’s ridiculous. I think Jattinn shouldn’t even go there.”