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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Pakistan’s transgender fashion designer launches her clothing line

News Desk |

2018 is shaping up to be a huge year for the Trans community, who seem to be making strides in all fields. Earlier this year, the first transgender Pakistani anchor was seen on Koheenor News. More recently, the inclusion of transgender singers, Naghma and Lucky, in the lineup of the latest Coke Studio season has also impressed many.

Now, Pakistan’s first transgender designer aims to make her mark and represent her community, with the release of her first luxury ready-to-wear clothing line. Maya Zaman, the designer in question, recently spoke to The Express Tribune about her journey. Zaman, who was kicked out of her home when she 17, struggled to find a place to live for quite some time.

She revealed that it had been hard for her to find accommodation due to her status as a transgender woman, “The time I moved to Islamabad was a time of transition for me. It was a big challenge to find a suitable, a secure shelter for myself. You see, because I am a trans-woman, I wasn’t accepted in male or female hostels,”.

Read more: Hoping against hope, Pakistan’s transgender candidates launch election bid

After finding herself a home amongst familiar personalities, she proceeded to enroll herself in a private university and despite being faced with taunts and ridicule, managed to complete her diploma in a year and half. She stated, “that was also a tough time for me as I completely lost my self-belief and confidence. For a long time, I felt being a transgender in Pakistani society was a curse; something to be shameful for”.

After finishing her BBA degree, Zaman decided to step into the world of fashion by working for a degree in fashion designing. There, she met a housewife Fouzia, and the two have now become the founders of the new pret fashion line, ‘Surkhaabi’. The clothing line which goes to XL size, is focused on body positivity and inclusion.

“It is basically a newly-formed partnership of cisgender and transgender women. The unique thing about Surkhaabi is that it’s for women of all ages and sizes. The idea behind it, is to promote body positivity and diversity and discourage body shaming. This is a moment of pride for the transgender community, which is proving that they will not be left behind. All we need is acceptance, opportunity and trust.” Zaman stated.

Read more: Why Pakistan’s first-ever Transgender School won’t be enough

The 24-year-old entrepreneur is also an activist and with her initiative, she has not only made great strides in representation and inclusion but has allowed transgender individuals to step behind the scenes of everything, from graphics designing and stitching to photographing and exhibiting the clothes. Maya Zaman’s success is only the latest in the positive changes that have recently taken place for the trans community.

Though transgender assault cases and deaths are still a huge problem in Pakistan, the recent Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2017, has enabled the transgender community to attain basic rights such as protection and the ability to choose their own genders. The Bill has also called for equal rights for the transgender community and is a monumental step in empowering the transgender community of Pakistan.