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Q&A with Mehreen Syed

Q&A with Mehreen Syed

Mehreen Syed is one of Pakistan’s top supermodels who has set national, regional and international fashion runways ablaze with her show stopping poise and confidence. She continues to grace the pages of local and international magazines and is among Pakistan’s most sought after supermodels. An entrepreneur, Mehreen has most recently launched the International Fashion Academy Pakistan [IFAP] where she combines her expertise in fashion with her business acumen to lead the institute with a passion to succeed and indeed contribute positively to institutionalising and organising the fashion industry in Pakistan today. Indeed through IFAP Mehreen has sought to establish a platform that allows the next generation of fashion industry professionals, specifically stylists, models, makeup artists and photographers, to study their field in a professional environment, equipping aspiring specialists with the technical know-how and exposure enabling such students to be able to pursue such studies as a viable career.

As model, Mehreen has also achieved numerous accolades which to her credit include the International Model of the Year award in 2005, Face of the Yearaward in 2007, Glamorous Entrepreneur award in 2010 and was ranked 16th in the Hottest 50 Asian Women in the World 2009 survey.

Claiming a right for a multi-faceted beauty over a standardised or perfect beauty, L’Oréal Paris, the world’s leading beauty brand, and its international ambassadors have always been influential personalities from the world of arts, fashion and beauty; Penelope Cruz, Aishwarya Rai, Eva Longoria, Beyonce Knowles, Jane Fonda and Patrick Dempsey are a few amongst the many who have come to represent a cross section of age, morphology and ethnic origin – all illustrative of the brands’ beauty philosophy.

L’Oréal Paris Pakistan’s spokespeople share the same brand philosophy and in December 2011, the brand proudly introduced glamorous model and media personality Mehreen Syed as a Spokesperson in Pakistan.

What prompted you to set up the International Fashion Academy Pakistan (IFAP)?

Mehreen Syed: “My own journey as a model is what triggered my passion to set up the International Fashion Academy Pakistan (IFAP). I feel the need to give back to the industry which I am a part of and I wanted to contribute to the careers of young, talented youth who like me are faced with many odds to make their mark in this industry. All they need is a platform to help them flourish as fashion professionals. There was also a need to institutionalise and organise the fashion industry, and thus with these objectives in mind we launched IFAP.”

Where will the institute be set up and what courses will it offer?

MS: “The institute has been set up in Lahore and it will offer specific courses for models, makeup artists, stylists and photographers that will equip these aspiring specialists with the technical know-how and exposure, enabling such students to be able to pursue such studies as a viable career.”

You started out as a model, ventured into jewelry designing with your jewelry line and have now set up a fashion institute in Pakistan. How did these transitions come about?

MS: “I began my career as a model out of sheer passion for the work. I was very sure about what I wanted and gave it all my heart and energy to achieve this status. I can identify with the struggles of the younger generation trying to make their mark in the fashion industry because I went through similar struggles initially. Since, I am in the position to help the youth now, I have taken up the responsibility to make my contribution. IFAP is my endeavour to do this.”

What developments have you seen in the fashion industry of Pakistan in recent years and what changes do you wish to see in the future?

MS: “I have seen some major developments and changes in the Pakistan Fashion Industry in recent years. As witnessed with the recent trend of Fashion and Bridal weeks, the industry is progressing. The changing trend of fashion in Pakistan with every passing day has proved Pakistani designers are unbeatable which is why we are seeing major corporations investing resources to promote fashion locally and abroad. In future I want to see more of these large scale Fashion Shows ensuring the industry continues to grow while nurturing our upcoming talent.”

You won the International Model of the Year award in 2007 and was crowned Indigo-Sunday Face of the Year 2007. Who do you attribute your success to and who has been your inspiration throughout your career?

MS: “Ather Shahzad is my mentor and inspiration.”

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