A rare interview with Pakistan’s pret wear revolutionary

“I did not invent Shalwar Qameez – I made it fashionable,” says Tanveer Jamshed, widely regarded as the pioneer of pret wear in Pakistan, and better known by his brand name, TeeJays.

Over three decades, he popularised the ‘national dress’, creating wardrobes for iconic television dramas such as Tanhaiyan and Kiran Kahani, and public figures, including Ziaul Haque.

Watch this video to hear about the story of the shalwar kameez as we know it (0:15), TeeJays’ association with television (1:15), the role of his mentor (3:57), doing business as an artist (6:46), innovation in marketing (8:25), the future of pret wear in Pakistan (10:15), and his advice to the people watching (11:23).

Born in a military family, the 73-year-old credits his father as a mentor both for being exceptionally well-dressed and also for allowing him to go on a tangent in pursuing his passion.

His expose into designing wardrobes for the TV screen came with Shireen Khan’s ‘Kiran Kahani’ in 1973, and his take on shalwar kameez became an overnight sensation, gaining popularity among the elite classes of society and becoming fashionable wear at clubs and parties.

The founder of a retail brand launched about 50 years ago, TeeJay considers fashion an integral part of the nation’s economy and regrets that it’s limited to the few who can afford it. His advice for his daughter, Feeha, who has followed in her father’s footsteps, is to make reasonable material at reasonable costs so that more people can wear these clothes.

While having grown a successful business, TeeJay considers himself more of an artist than a businessman, putting his entrepreneurial experience down to miracle rather than practice.

For his services to design and his contribution to fashion, Tanveer Jamshed was awarded the Sitara-e-Imtiaz in 2007.

For more on this charismatic visionary, watch the above interview and subscribe to our Youtube channel.