ARBAQAN CHANGEZI - STYLIST
We were lucky enough to speak with fashion savvy stylist Arbaqan Changezi, who has worked his charm styling over 85+ brands since late 2019, about his journey, fashion sense, what his ideal muse looks like and much more. Read on...
Hi Arbaqan! Tell us about your journey as a fashion stylist – how did you start, your first campaign etc.
My journey in the fashion fraternity started off as a model in 2018 while I still hadn’t graduated from fashion school. Even though I do enjoy modelling, I always knew I wanted to be an image architect and help photographers and designers create imagery that adheres to their aesthetic or transforms it into something magical and surreal.
While I did style campaigns exclusively for a renowned fashion brand where I also worked as a marketing and brand manager. I was fascinated and always inclined to making styling a career. I styled my first campaign as a credited stylist only during the last bits of 2019 while working on a bridal campaign with and for my friend and makeup maven Fatima Nasir. I have freelanced ever since and have worked for over 85+ brands as an image consultant and stylist.
How would you describe your fashion sense and what do you think sets you apart from your competitors?
I am quite self-critical as an artist and honestly only see myself as competition. Knowing fully well that there are other fellow stylists in the market, I’ve always acknowledged them as my peers and have always applauded for them as a friend and supporter.
My strength as a stylist is probably my originality, I do believe in taking inspiration from others work but always make sure it has my flair to it and doesn’t look like a circus act in the name of ‘standing out’ and ‘looking different’ or a whole lot like something someone, somewhere has already done.
I’ve always been a fan of understated and sophisticated glamour and like to think that my work exudes and embodies that
From where did you get inspiration for most of your shoots? How do you stay innovative?
Inspiration, to me can come from anywhere; Nature, humans, experiences, art, characters etc. I generally prefer exploring an idea to the max capacity and brain storming, sketching it out and adding-subtracting as needed. I am someone that likes to build around an idea rather than going a thousand ways and creating confusion. I am someone that constantly looks for ways to improve my set of skills and produce work that represents my taste and resonates with its targeted audience. I am mostly inspired by my mother and other strong and resilient women like her.
As a fashion stylist, what challenges do you face in the industry and hope to overcome?
Of the things that make our work difficult, being constantly compared to others has to come on top. Like other artists, we stylists are also individuals that have our own set of skills and flaws, appreciating us for our art doesn’t come without comparison. While people in fashion have realized the importance of stylists on-set,
I believe we still do not get the same level of respect, loyalty and importance as maybe a photographer or a model that is working with us on the same set
and it is high time that changes so the aspiring stylists do not have to go trough what my peers and I did.
What does your ideal muse look like?
My ideal muse is a woman of strength, confidence and charisma. She’s comfortable in her own skin and is a well-rounded personality that knows how to carry herself in any garment. Someone that embodies grace and adds opulence and elegance to any look she’s wearing.
What has been the most memorable moment of your career, so far?
Every person has highs and lows during their lifespan and career. I cannot put a finger on a particular event and call it most memorable but every time I see a look I created being recreated by the masses or other artists I get the validation of how I succeeded in my job and that of course becomes memorable.
If there was one celebrity you could dress up, local or international, who would that be and why?
Locally my dear friend and muse Ayesha Omar has been someone I’ve admired and always loved styling. Internationally I would absolutely love to style Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sonam Kapoor, Jessica Wang, Soo Joo and Lilly Collins.
In your opinion, what are your thoughts on the Pakistani fashion industry?
Our fashion industry is one of the fastest developing industries currently. While our focus has shifted to commercially fit collections, I do not enjoy how fashion has just been restricted to generic imagery with little to no innovation.
Our industry needs a responsible council where each year new people are given the opportunity to put their taste out to the world without being forced to make sales driven designs
We need more innovative designers that push boundaries and genuinely make an effort to put our name in the global fashion scene like other developing nations have and see things beyond bridals, formals and lawn.
What advice do you have for emerging stylists that are looking to break into the fashion industry?
I’d advise them to be strong and resilient, there will be many a times where people will make you doubt yourself and your capabilities, always remember you’re bigger than that. Trust your gut, do your best and work hard. Styling is not for the weak hearted so you’ll need to learn how to step a foot down when needed.
INTERVIEW: SAFA ADNAN
PHOTOS: COURTESY ARBAQAN CHANGEZI