YASSER DAR - STYLIST
Many a times we study what we eventually want to pursue as a career. Sometimes it’s the opposite for many, they just happen to land themselves a career they probably never thought about and some term that as fate, good timing or luck. This is the story of our very own ace stylist Yasser who started his career as a fresh graduate in Computer Sciences working night shifts at call centers in the tech world to coincidently working as a graphic designer for a renowned fashion designer to becoming the stylist he is today. And just like that out of sheer luck and hard work, Yasser Dar has made a name in the fashion industry.
Hi Yasser thanks for taking time out from your busy schedule and doing this for us! Tell us about your journey as a fashion stylist – how did you start, your first campaign etc.
Hello! Well, I have a very twisting journey towards being a stylist because it actually proves that you can be whoever you want to be in your life if you work hard towards it. Because for me, it started as a software engineer and lead towards a fashion stylist. Interesting right?
Back in 2014 after when I graduated in Computer Sciences, I came to Lahore to find a job in the relative field. When I left Gujrat and came to Lahore I decided to never go back. Since I had no job at that time and was still searching, I joined a call center. Renowned photographer and friend Alee Hassan moved to Lahore months before me. I modelled for his thesis previously. We found a room in the same house where he had his first ever studio. So, I used to spend a lot of time there. At his studio, I met many designers and became friends with a few. One of Alee’s friends had a friend in Finland, studying Fashion, who happened to be the head designer at Republic by Omer Farooq, approached me to do a graphic design project for him. Since, I also studied graphic design as minor in my Bachelors, I was good at it. When he got back to Pakistan, he offered me a project for Republic for a collection that they were going to showcase in Woolmark India. I did that project. Their show was a hit. Once they got back from India, Omer Farooq offered me the job. That was the switch in my life. I left the call center and started working at Republic as a Graphic Designer.
At that time, Fawad Khan was Republic’s Brand Ambassador and was at the peak of his career and Republic used to do all his wardrobe for every appearance and TVCs etc. Omer asked me to assist him in styling since it was a lot of work and he wanted to share some responsibilities. It was a great opportunity and I felt lucky. I started taking care of that department too. And during that time, I did a lot of TVCs with Fawad Khan under Omer. Republic’s design head left and Joined Sana Safinaz’s Lahore office as Design Head and offered me a job there. That’s how I switched from Republic to Sana Safinaz. I worked at Republic for one and a half years and at Sana Safinaz I worked for almost a year. At SS, I was offering three things - Graphic Design, In- house Stylist and Concept Artist. During my time at SS. I styled a few shoots at my own too for Grazia Magazine. I also started getting offers from different brands as a stylist. I decided to leave SS and start freelancing. It was a big risk but my guts told me that I could do it. So, I resigned. My first ever client was Maria. B and second was Khaadi. From that point onward, I kept getting more work and worked hard to make my space in industry. It wasn’t easy but I was determined. So that’s how I became a fashion stylist. I wish I could sum it up in a few words but I think my journey can be inspiring for many talented kids out there. So, I shared it in detail.
How would you describe your fashion sense and what do you think sets you apart from your competitors?
It actually is never constant...because I believe that the only thing which is constant is change. So yeah, it is seasonal but
if I look at myself through someone else’s perspective, I think I am very loud in my expression of fashion. I take risks when it comes to my personal looks
considering what worse can happen than a failure but I won’t die from it (laughs). So yeah, I think what sets me apart from others is that I encourage my style and own it and that reflects in every way.
From where did you get inspiration for most of your shoots? How do you stay innovative?
Honestly, I take my inspiration from a lot of things. Things that surround us – the normal and ordinary, things you might not even notice. I believe that inspiration should come from authenticity. So majorly, it is from different cultures, their lifestyle. Nature, art and of course movies too. But honestly, it is knowledge and I believe that you can grab knowledge from where ever you want to and still it is never enough. Like Iris Apfel says: ‘I feel like I go through life like a sponge. Absorbing everything and then squeezing them out.’
As a fashion stylist, what challenges do you face in the industry and hope to overcome?
Major problem that we have with most of the brands is that they don’t have their own identity and they are constantly trying to be someone else.
One day they want to be north and the other day south. I mean, completely opposite. And then they expect a stylist to give them an identity when they are not ever sure and ready to take it from someone else. This problem can be overcome if a brand translates their sensibility of design in a form of a girl and then define her - as who she is; where did she come from; what does she look like. Once they get a clear image of that girl, only then they would know what their identity is and how their girl will look like. That will make it original for them and easy for us to provide that originality.
What does your ideal muse look like?
My ideal muse looks like, if I may define her figuratively, water. You add whatever colour to it and it becomes that - fluid. Whatever directions, no matter how crazy they are, she understands. I have a lot of favourite models but the girls who actually fall in my muse category are Rubab Ali and Eman Suleman.
What has been the most memorable moment of your career, so far?
It can be none other than my first ever win as an Emerging Fashion Stylist in 2018.
If there was one celebrity you could dress up, local or international, who would that be and why?
I think locally I have worked with all of my favourite celebrity girls already. Internationally I would definitely do Lady Gaga. She is and has been a fashion Icon for years. I mean I remember all of her iconic looks and even have a massive book of her backstage pictures with crazy outfits. She is one fearless girl for me. And I wish to work with her once at least.
Talk to us about your muse. How does she represent your style?
If you see my editorial work, I choose my characters very specifically for certain looks. My work always revolves around strong women. Fearless, strong in their expression of style and fashion. If you look deep in the pictures of my work, you will see all these things. Their eyes, choice of clothing, expressions. Over all body language. And I believe that you can easily tell that they are styled by me if you know me in person because you will see my reflection in them.
In your opinion, what are your thoughts on the Pakistani fashion industry?
I think it is growing beautifully. A lot of young designers are coming and producing great work. There is breathe of fresh air around. Their choice of colour and the cuts, I mean you take Hussain Rehar as an example, isn’t his work just so beautiful, young and fresh? Some brilliant photographers as well. I would name Shayan Sherwani and Farhan Sherwani. Who are doing the best work ever. New young photographers and models - I think it is growing even faster than ever and I am all up for it.
What advice do you have for emerging stylists that are looking to break into the fashion industry?
My first and fore most advice to them is to be original.
Originality is what is going to distinct you from others. Find your own style of work. And also, be humble in the professional environment.
Only talent won’t lead you anywhere if you are not humble and good at your communication. That’s all.
INTERVIEW: SAFA ADNAN
PHOTOS: COURTESY YASSER DAR