Afghan models stage rare fashion show to empower women
By Meena Haseeb - Sat Feb 09 2013, 11:44 am
A rare fashion show was organized in capital Kabul on Friday by Afghan group in yet another big idea with a small production to empower women by breaking down barriers in this highly conservative Muslim society.
The show was organized in a restaurant off a muddy street in capital Kabul as the men and women watched a group of Afghan models parading down a candle-lined catwalk, Associated Press reported.
Shahar Banoo Zeerak, the designer whose clothes were featured in the show told Associated Press, “The situation always gets tougher and tougher every day by day, but we should not back down. We are here to move on and move forward, so I think if women step up and they show up in this field, I think they will do a good job.”
Despite a decade passes after the US assault to topple down the Taliban regime in 2001 however the idea of women on display remains mostly taboo in Afghanistan.
Violence against women still continues in parts of the country and in some cases women put themselves on fire to escape domestic violence while women still don’t go outside without wearing blue burqas that cover them from head to toe.
Women are still facing tragic violence in remote parts of the country with reports of women being stoned, executed in public or imprisoned for having affairs with men.
However Young Women for Change, an independent, nonprofit Afghan organization organized the show on Friday in a bid to empower Afghan women and improve their lives.
A group of ten models including three young men appeared in the show displaying 33 designs including colorful short-sleeved dresses, jeans, tunics and more traditional outfits.
A teenager participant of the show, the 7-year-old Farkhonda Taheri, had never even seen a fashion show before and she was being supported by her family however her grandmother was not happy with her job.
Farkhunda told Associated Press, “The biggest challenge for us that we cannot do these things in Afghanistan because people do not like it. I was excited because I felt I am going to bring a change.”
She also called on other Afghan youths take risks to bring change as the country struggles to achieve a semblance of normalcy, with international combat forces preparing to withdraw by the end of 2014.
“Who will bring the peace? We are going to bring it. Afghans. The new generation,” she said.
Similar fashion shows have been organized in Afghanistan however the audience of such shows are mostly international people and eldom featured Afghan women or a mixed Afghan audience.
The fashion show according to the organizers was staged with two aims including raising money for the advocacy group and the other was to gradually change attitudes toward women.
Mohammad Zafar Salehi a spokesman for the advocacy group said they earned more than $1,000 from the show, which sold tickets and drew mostly group members and friends.
“We want to change the mindset of the people but at the same time I worry about the security of the girls,” he told Associated Press.
He also emphasized, “I believe in a change that can be slow.”