If there’s one thing I’ve learned about handsome, sophisticated Pashtun men — it’s that they love walking in their traditional Peshawari chappal — with a shawl on shoulders to pass the vibe check.
Sure, we all love the colourful and classy Pashtun attire; but what we often don’t realize is the effort behind each product. The craftsmen who make these products are often under-appreciated and the efforts they put into their art doesn’t get enough recognition.
Aimal Khan Khattak, a musician from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, shared the same belief and decided to launch Taarkash — a brand that aims to revive the traditional artisan culture and provide better opportunities to craftsmen to utilize their art.
Taarkash: a fashion brand with an aim to revive the dying art of artisanship
Aimal Khan Khattak is a Pashtun musician who recently rose to fame with his debut with emerging Pashto musicians Saf. K and Alizeh Khan. Originally from Mardan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Aimal is a rababist, musician and philanthropist by heart. He raised to fame recently after his song ‘Meena Oor De Zargiya’ topped the Pashto music charts within a week of its release.
One fine day, the moment of epiphany to start a modern and comfortable fashion line dawned upon Aimal when Aimal visited a local shop in Peshawar selling musical instruments.
Aimal found that all the instruments were completely handmade and beautifully crafted. The quality of each product showed the amount of hard work and passion the craftsmen must have put into making them. Yet, he realized that they have almost no exposure to the mainstream and international market. Their work needs to be seen and appreciated more.
Aimal eventually met Muhsin, who shared the same belief and felt the need for reviving the dying art of craftsmanship. The two later found out that it’s not only the art of making traditional musical instruments but other traditional wear products too. Tout de suite, the two deliberated to work their thought into a reality.
That’s when the two decided to join hands and laid down the foundation of “Taarkash”.
The first celebrity-owned fashion brand in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Taarkash is the first celebrity fashion brand originated from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which sells affordable apparel and accessories through its online eCommerce platform. Targeted at both local and international markets, the brand makes a wide range of waistcoats, Peshawari chappals, Quetta Norozi chappals and the traditional panjadar chappals.
With pop culture and art being the main influence for most fashion brands, it is not shocking to hear that a pop artist would start his own fashion brand and what’s more is that the founders brand it as a ‘fusion between traditional wear and modern attire’.
According to Aimal, the co-founder, they started “Taarkash” intending to promote traditional crafts and empower the artisans involved in making them. The idea of their brand is to fuse modern fashion trends with traditional wear to promote cultural diversity and traditional craft.
Their flagship products were launched earlier this month and have already sold out. Two months since its launch, the brand’s Facebook page has also gained a massive fan following. Talking about the support from his fans, Aimal expressed his appreciation for the opportunities that have come his way through the support people have shown.
More about the founders
Taarkash is the brain-child of Muhsin Alam and Aimal Khan Khattak. While Aimal comes from a musical background, Muhsin is a designer at core. However, what bonds them together is their love for their culture and their efforts for integrating local craftsmanship with the evolving market practices.
Emerging from the city of Malakand, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Muhsin is an Electrical Engineer currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Engineering. He is also working with a multinational company as a Production Engineer.
Muhsin Alam is a strong devotee of integrating the notion of cultural promotion with the evolving market practices. He believes that, by doing so, they will not only revive traditional craftsmanship but also help the artisans to get more exposure and earn more from their craft.
Muhsin has also a background in working with local organizations to promote Pashtun culture across the country. With Taarkash, he aims to collaborate with international markets to introduce traditional artisans and their crafts to the global market.
Aimal Khan Khattak
Aimal Khan Khattak is nationally known as an emerging musician, Rubab player, and entrepreneur. Hailing from the city of Mardan, Aimal is a strong advocate for promoting art and celebrating cultural diversity.
Over the past few years, he has regularly collaborated with different government and not-for-profit organizations to represent Pashtun culture in his performances. His music band “ProZac” has also been actively organizing gigs that mostly plays Pashto instrumentals.
Driven by his love for cultural diversity, Aimal has collaborated with international musicians in an effort to promote Rubab by fusing it with modern music and choruses. Using Taarkash, he is aiming to do the same by working with international brands to introduce traditional Pashtun wear to the global market.
If you have followed him at all you know he wears shalwar kameez with fancy Peshawari chappal all the time, so it will be interesting to see what special clothing item if any, his own clothing line provides.
Taarkash’s products are now available at www.taarkash.com
An earlier version of this post was published two days ago with minor mistakes.