Skilled trainees from across Pakistan Gather to put up a high profile Fashion event


International Labour Organization (ILO) hosted a talent show under the title, Gender Equality for Decent Employment (GE4DE) at the Avari Towers, Karachi on June 20, 2014 to showcase the work of artisans from eight different areas of Pakistan.

As implied by the name, this talent exhibition showcased skills and competencies of trainees who have graduated under the Curriculum Based Training Approach CBTA curricula facilitated by respective training institutions and local NGO partners of GE4DE. The GE4DE fashion show primarily focused on the rural communities and the training given to low income groups whilst showcasing the tremendous talent existing in our Villages and Peri Rural Communities. The GE4DE talent show celebrated cohesion and practicality of all GE4DE projects and their participants.

The main highlight of ILO’s GE4DE fashion show was the full participation of the trainees and respective implementing partners in 360 degree coverage of this event that included aesthetic set designing, creating theme based outfits, crafting marketing material (logo, invitation cards), tasty snacks & refreshments and personalized catering to individual guests. As the trainees belong to the less privileged population, due and fair chances were given to them to eliminate limitations; this gesture was appreciated by all the attendees.

“Synchronizing ILO – GE4DE’s efforts with the emerging fashion industry of Pakistan is a huge breakthrough, and a dream come true for me.Almost everything you have seen here today has been put together by the trainees of GE4DE skills development projects.The most unique aspect of this talent exhibition was that for the first time in Pakistan the marginalized class of worker was directly linked with the international and national buyers without the traditional middle person. This has only been made possible purely due to the high standard of training and post training efforts of GE4DE.” Hiba Siddiqui, Programme Officerpromoting GE4DE.

The talent show had two main sessions: The Red Carpet; hors d’oeuvreprepared by the graduates of culinary plus course were served to the guests, while the graduates of tourism guide training gave the guests a tour of the event and the fashion Show; the beautifully designed U-shaped ramp by the graduates of SOHB Educational Welfare Society was the main attraction of the event. To make it more appealing, three exquisite marble mosaic pieces were also installed on the ramp. Fashion collections, designed and prepared by the graduates of fashion designing, industrial and fancy stitching, fancy embroidery and knitting were showcased on the ramp. Each segment was backed by a two-three minute documentary that took the viewers through the entire process of creating their collections, the chosen theme and why they chose that certain alphabet from GE4DE that depicts their work.

The first segment was presented by the graduates of Fashion Apparel Design & Training Institute chose the alphabet ‘E’ from GE4DE to develop the theme of ‘empowerment’. The entire collection was made by ILO graduates of fashion design, fancy stitching and lingerie making. The entire collection explained the importance of strategic management and fighting against all offs and not letting any hindrance obstructs your path to success. Handicraft pieces were modified into head gears in the shape of turbans from Punjab, Baluchistan and KPK. Very strong essence of Kailaash in the head gears was seen along with cross stitches from Gilgit Baltistan.

Pakistan Knitwear Training Institute’s (PKTI) graduates chose the ‘E’ from GE4DE to develop their collection around the theme of ‘Elements’ of Pakistan. Graduates of the fancy stitching course worked to present their collection depicting regional cultures including Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi, Pukhtun and Kashmiri. The collection complimented handmade accessories from another GE4DE project ‘Sughar’ implemented by Pakistan Development Initiative (PDI).

Pakistan Readymade Garments Technical Training Institute’s “Knitting” was the next segment to follow. PRGTTI’s graduates took the alphabet ‘G’ from ‘GE4DE’ to develop their collection around the theme; ‘GLAMOUR’. The Inspiration for the collection was taken from Hazara and Mangol tribes, depicting a combination of eastern and western style. A total of 15 outfits were presented on the ramp, truly showcasing the talent existing in our rural communities. PRGTTI’s collection incorporated the work of graduates from two other training partners, Baltistan Culture Development Foundation BCDF and SOHB Educational Welfare Society. BCDF provided hand woven woolen shawls that were incorporated in the outfits while SOHB supplied marble mosaic pieces that were used in preparing accessories, such as necklaces and belts.

The last segment of the night “Fashion Designing” was presented by fashion designer Shaiyanne Malik. Her trainees, the skilled trainees of Dera Jutta chose the alphabet ‘D’ from GE4DE to develop the theme ‘dreams’. Shaiyanne Malik’s Samanzar gave these girls the courage to dream of a better future through their hard work. Shaiyanne was also the management lead for both the Red Carpet and the Fashion Show .Her iconic style and grace has resulted in the most influential collection of people in the event, and is expected to directly benefit the marginalized women and men.

Makeup and styling for the entire fashion show was done by the graduates of Depilex Smile Again Foundation’s ‘Pro-Beautician Plus’ course. The students identified and shortlisted most realistic and artistic styling options for hair and make-up. The letter ‘D’ from the ‘GE4DE’ was strategically picked to symbolize with the theme of the event; ‘Development’ symbolizing skills development of the trainees for decent employment in the society.

The talent show was attended by the top-most personalities of the fashion industry, government officials, donors, partners, editors and celebrities who appreciated ILO and its partners for providing aspiring trainees a chance to showcase their talents. The fact that despite belonging to less privilege households all the participants displayed amazing pieces was appreciated by all and highlighted the fact that if provided with opportunities and proper training, the skills of these less privileged individuals can be polished and they can not only support their families but can also play their part in the economic growth of the country.

International Labour Organization: International Labour Organization (ILO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations and works with a unique, tripartite structure of workers, employers and governments. Pakistan has remained an important member of the ILO since its establishment in 1947 and has also ratified 36 conventions including all fundamental conventions. Initiated in 2010, Gender Equality for Decent Employment (GE4DE) is ILO’s five years project funded by DFATD (previously known as CIDA). Its three core areas are strengthening governance structures, enhancing skills & employability and capacitating media for equal opportunities for women. Under the objective 2; ‘Enhancing skills and employability of poor women in rural and urban areas of selected districts’ the GE4DE project is mandated to get 6,300 women and men trained in demand driven trades and support them in securing formal and informal employment. Many short and long termed skills development sub-projects (following competency based approach) have been completed by GE4DE. To date now under these programmes, well above 4,000 women and men (80% women) have acquired viable skills and employment.


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