HSY celebrates 20 years in the Pakistani Fashion industry

 HSY - Hassan Sheheryar Yasin
Hassan Sheheryar Yasin aka HSY

He’s the guy who’ll walk down the catwalk with his own face plastered all over his jacket. He always seems larger than life, theatrical and even egotistical, but Hassan Shehryar Yasin is very different from what you would expect from a self-styled “Couture King”.


Tapu Javeris Fashion Pakistan Week collection inspired by HSY
Tapu Javeri’s FPW S2014 collection was inspired by HSY and featured prints with Hassan’s face and model Vaneeza’s eyes

As anyone who’s ever worked with him will tell you, Yasin is hard-working, professional, driven and surprisingly down-to-earth. The only part of his image that holds true is his passion for fashion. This year he celebrates 20 years in fashion and he has arguably been one of the key players in Pakistan’s fashion industry for much of his career.

His label HSY is one of Pakistan’s premier fashion brands and is also one of the brands most favored by expat Pakistanis. He is one of the top choreographers of fashion shows in the country and his backstage management has made him the choreographer of choice for every fashion week of note. Not content with that, he runs an event management company and is the Pakistan brand ambassador for international brands such as ToyWatch, Ponds and Porsche. His brand HSY has also formed cross collaborations with local brands such as Stoneage, Bareeze and YOCA.

HSY wearing a ToyWatch
Brand ambassador for ToyWatch

This sort of success doesn’t come without a great deal of hard work. In Karachi for Fashion Pakistan Week, Yasin spoke about choreographing large numbers of shows for fashion week.

PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week 2013
HSY at PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week 2013

“It’s difficult to explain the incredible amount of effort that we all put in for those few moments on the ramp. From the conceptualization, to the music, to the rehearsal – we all put in hours and hours of hard work. It’s great to see the end result but the level of exhaustion is intense.”

Yasin’s drive is unsurprising given his background. As a child of a single parent family, Yasin always worked from a young age. Although he hails from family of politicians, Yasin’s mother made great sacrifices to keep him, holding down up to four jobs at a time. Yasin himself was planning a career in law when, aged eighteen, a car crash cost him his sight. When he miraculously regained his sight, his outlook had changed. A chance visit to a fashion show convinced him that this was what he wanted to do. He pestered Nilofer Shahid into letting him choreograph a show for her and he has never looked back.

Fashion Pakistan Week Spring 2014 - HSY's Venom collection
HSY’s Venom collection at FPW S2014

From the first, Yasin has maintained a very professional setup. Even in his early days, he was known for keeping an assistant to note order details, liaise with clients and follow up on production. As his reputation and set-up grew, so did his team.

“I have always treated my work like a proper business. My mother was very insistent on this when I chose fashion as a career – she did not want me to go into fashion in the way bored housewives and failed lawyers would do. On her advice, I went to fashion school and ever since I have run my label on the most professional lines possible, including the manufacturing and quality control aspects.”

There is a perception that since Yasin has a design team, not all of his designs are actually his own. He is glad of the chance to clarify, stating

“I have a team to assist but all my designs are my own. I am absolutely passionate about design. No matter where I am or what I am doing, I will be conceptualizing outfits and sketching. I can be inspired by anything – a specific colour I see somewhere or a henna design on someone’s hand. I give my team precise instructions and while they may execute my vision, I am particular about maintaining control of the design aspect.”

Yasin’s team members tend to stay with him for between three to six years. If they want to move on or even set up on their own, he is always encouraging. He has been a mentor to many former staff including Meesha Shafi, Zara Shahjahan and Deena Rehman.

Yasin explains he started this year with his collection Venom, inspired by snakeskin because snakes shed their skin and are rejuvenated. Yasin is treating this anniversary year as a new lease of life. He is opening his first ever retail outlet, H by HSY, in Galleria Mall in Lahore. The store will stock a distinct line of its own, rather than diluting the line at the studio, which will continue to offer couture and bespoke outfits. With two floors for women and one for men, H by HSY will stock mainly evening wear as cottons are really not part of the repertoire of the luxury brand.

Pakistani Fashion designer HSY - Hassan Sheheryar Yasin
HSY’s show will apparently be nothing like Koffee with Karan

Yasin is also about to start filming a TV show, which will be a chat show with a difference. Given Yasin’s talent for putting a unique twist on everything he touches, expect an entertaining experience. With 20 years under his belt, Yasin is not about to slow down any time soon. Here’s to the next 20 years.

First published in Karachista’s regular column in the Express Tribune on March 2, 2014

Copyright 2015 Karachista. All rights reserved
Salima Feerasta
Salima Feerastahttps://karachista.com
Salima Feerasta is chief editor of Karachista.com and one of Pakistan's top fashion and lifestyle journalists.

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