Designing clothes for public figures is a tiresome task as the process needs to be impeccable and the outcome should go well with their public persona.
However, for the ace luxury couturier, Yaqub Pechi, it is a hassle-free job as he has experience of years of working with prominent politicians, corporate executives, and army men.
The man knows how to make his clients look presentable and classy. The luxury designer sits down with MAG to share his experience of working with living legends like tennis player Jehangir Khan and Ex-President of Pakistan General Pervez Musharaff.
Tell me about yourself and your career so far, how did you become a wardrobe stylist?
My ancestors are from Rajasthan and Ahmedabad which was known as a textile hub. So textiles run in our blood. I started my career with textile giants Yunus Brothers, the owner of various textile mills. After working with him for quite some time I started my luxury brand Cotton & Cotton in collaboration with a friend. It later turned out to be the most recognized luxury menswear brand in Pakistan.
We were also the largest exporter of shirts from top international brands. Unfortunately, I had to part ways in 2013 due to some personal reasons. Later, I launched my own brand Pechi. I also do wardrobe styling for many celebrities including top-notch politicians, bureaucrats, army officers, showbiz personalities, and many other socialites.
When you are styling or consulting a celebrity about their image, do they tell you beforehand how they want to look, or do they leave everything to you?
It is my practice to have a nice talk with my clients before suggesting anything to them. It gives me an idea about their personality and what they like and don’t like. I then decide what will look best on them according to their personality.
Who was your first celebrity client?
The renowned actor Rahat Kazmi was the first celebrity I did the styling for. I did his entire wardrobe for the drama serial Nangay Paon. My clientele includes politicians, army men, bureaucrats, top executives at banks, and multinational firms. and but I can’t mention their names due to certain policies.
You have been the wardrobe stylist of politician General Pervez Musharraf during his reigning tenure. What are the things you keep in mind while designing his outfits?
I had the privilege of doing our honorable Ex-President General Pervez Musharraf styling for quite some time. He was very particular about his look and used to choose outfits depending on the occasion. He used to get involved in everything – from choosing the color of suits, shirts, and even ties, etc. However, it was his humble attitude that he used to accept my suggestions too. He was a super fit man so making clothes for him was a hassle-free job as I didn’t have to put too much effort to set the contours and make adjustments.
You have also styled tennis player Jahangir khan. Tell us about the experience of working with him.
JK is a living legend and it has been an honor to do his outfits. He has always been very humble and down-to-earth. He always accepts my choice for his outfits although he gives his inputs here and there but gives me full liberty to work.
What has been the most memorable moment of your career, so far?
I received the reputed Export Performance Award from the President of Pakistan in 1998-99 for exporting handmade shirts. It was the most memorable moment in my life it and a huge recognition for my work.
What advice would you give to aspiring fashion stylist?
The most important thing is attention to detail you have to work hard and should never compromise on achieving the best. Don’t seek fame and create something that’s cherished even when you're gone. Don’t follow trends blindly and be creative with what you have. You're not always going to be right, but follow up and accept the consequences.
One thing I have noticed in the young generation is that they are afraid of failure. I can’t think of one famous person that hasn’t failed or has taken a wrong decision in life. A person should learn from his experience and move on with the flow of life.
What challenges do you have as a stylist?
Normally the clients are very cooperative and they demand to look good and classy. However, there are times when a few of them create problems and insist to do things that don’t go well with their personalities.
How do you choose what looks work for each client?
I study the customer’s profession, and the people he meets on the day to day basis. The physical appearance of the client, his body movement, and the way he presents himself also matters to me. I want my clients to look impressive at the first sight.
How would you describe your style?
Adaptable. There are times when I wear a plain Shalwar Kameez and people come to me asking where I get it. I believe it is not important what you wear, what matter is how you wear it.
What is your favorite item in your closet?
You style a lot of people in the public eye, do you consider yourself to be a trendsetter?
I have changed a lot of things in the business of garments. I have trained hundreds of people who are now important assets in the textile industry. I wouldn’t say that I am a trendsetter but yes, people look up to me for the way I carry myself.
Describe a time early in your career when you felt you could say, 'I made it.
I am constantly evolving with time. I still feel there is a lot that can be done. The proudest moment of my life was one when my dad introduced himself as my father instead of calling his name first.
Any celebrity you would like to style?
The veteran actor Waheed Murad – I would love to do his styling. Unfortunately, it is not possible now.
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