Today we are in conversation with Iqra Qadir Khan, she is a lawyer by profession, Entrepreneur and the founder of a modest clothing brand ”PAARCHA”, is one of the most powerful women who are self-made, she spoke to Pakistan journal about her journey with blogging and you tubing.
Can you tell our readers about yourself and your blog?
I am a 24-year-old non-practicing solicitor. Professionally I am working as a legal adviser in my father’s company. However, I always thought Pakistan needed more modest fashion influencers. Wearing a headscarf or dressing in a more modest way has always been considered as “backward” in our society. The norm is “You can be either stylish or religious”. My Instagram and YouTube are all about liberating girls who want to cover up yet stand out fashionably.
What inspired you to start your blog?
As soon as I started to dress up in a more modest way I was looking for girls like me to inspire me. I always saw international bloggers and you tubers but none from Pakistan. I thought I could change the stereotypes. With the passion and will in my heart, I gradually stepped into this community.
How do you manage time to run your blog efficiently?
Time management was the key to my mother’s grooming. I have always been doing a hundred things at one time. Yes, it gets difficult but I believe if you are passionate about something then nothing can really stop you. Also for something you are good at you don’t have to find time but time finds you.
What do you hope to accomplish through your blog?
As mentioned before I want all Muslim girls and girls, in general, to be confident in whatever they wear and howsoever they look. I want to be the advocate for every single girl out there who is told by others what to wear and how to wear. I want to let every girl out there to know that they are not the only ones fighting with the beauty norms and getting rated out of 10. We are all in the same boat and it is okay. I want every single person following my social media to love them self and be confident and not care about, what the world has to say about them.
Tell us what made you come up with “paarcha”? Do you design the clothes yourself?
UK is the leading country in growing modest fashion. Guess what? It’s not even a Muslim country. Pakistan is and there is not even a single modest fashion clothing line. That is why I came up with the idea of Paarcha. I design the clothes myself. It’s easy I just design something that I usually look for while I am shopping.
Tell me about your proudest achievement?
The proudest I feel is when I see that smile on the faces of my parents. I feel proud when they feel proud of me.
Who has impacted you most in blogging and how?
Dina Tokio has been a huge inspiration to me at the beginning. Well, she still is because the way she puts herself out there is beyond amazing. Also every single day I learn something from my sister Anna khan about the whole blogging experience.
What is your greatest achievement outside of blogging?
I have worked in a charity school owned by my mother. I started teaching there when I was 17. My students were older than me. They now have kids. While working there I started a campaign in rural areas of Pakistan against child abuse. I worked on it for three months. The amount of love I received for that work was truly magnificent. It’s something I am really happy that I did. That whole experience made me learn so much and was an aid to my own personality.
Can you name some of your favorite bloggers and explain why they are your favorites?
Saman Munir(Makeuphijab): one of the first person to acknowledge my work and support Paarcha. She is an all-rounder. I look at her and I am like wow. You can be a wife, a mother, a fashion icon, a fitness inspiration, beauty with brains and an absolute gem. We need more people like her.
Asoomijay: A cancer survivor who not only fought with an ugly disease but a toxic marriage. There she is standing so high today. So inspirational. I like how she doesn’t have any filter. She is the advocate for every single woman and victim of inhumane behavior out there.
Anna khan: Not most people know but she has been my fashion inspiration from childhood. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t know how to apply that wing eyeliner or would probably dress like a clown today. Long story short she is the reason behind Iqra Qadir Khan after Allah and my parents.
Dina Tokio: this woman was revolutionary for all us hijabi’s out there. Her content was and still is the most unusual. She is the game changer of modest fashion community in every way.
How would you describe your personal style and is there a person who is a fashion inspiration to you?
I don’t have a single fashion inspiration. I always get inspired by different elements and then combine them with my own. I am more into subtle yet trendy fashion. I like to keep all elements in my outfit minimal and subtle and then keep one very loud and crazy element. Also, I like keeping myself up to date with fashion even if it requires a bit of experimenting. But whether it’s dressing or makeup when I do it I like doing it right, top to bottom.
If you could offer any advice to 16-year-old self, what would it be?
Don’t worry about all that acne and facial hair. No, you don’t have to look like Kardashians. Be yourself. Love yourself. Enjoy that period in life when you look like a fashion disaster. Don’t apply societal norms of beauty on yourself right now. Teen years will never come back. Stay clean. Take care of your hygiene and that’s it. Go out play, scream loudly, have some pajama parties and just be yourself! (also listen to your mum)
What do you miss the most about Pakistan?
I miss talking in Urdu. I miss all the summer sales. I miss the call for prayer in the mosques. I miss Shazia making my bed and Pervaiz cooking biryani for me. I miss my mother’s hugs. The affordable medicines. The greenery and above all my dad constant looking out for me.
Do you think that a positive change can be achieved in Pakistan?
Positive change can be achieved if one brings out positivity in own self. Change is not when you change others. It begins with yourself. I have a firm belief if every Pakistani starts to change themselves and work towards a better “me” the change will be there and will be very positive. New Pakistan later, first new “me”.
What do you want more people to be discussing nowadays?
I want people to discuss “how not to be male chauvinist!!!”
What’s something you can’t do but really want to?
Very scandalous…. I would love to have my own dance academy.
If you could raid one women closet whose would it be?
Hands down Victoria Beckham, So trendy. Even as an advocate for modest fashion I know I can find plenty of stuff according to my taste in her wardrobe.
Looking10 years into future where would you like to be?
I want a verified Instagram and YouTube account. Have Paarcha in stores. Be a mother of two kids treating, them equally despite their gender. Bringing my mother and dad the most expensive gifts from my own pocket and being best friends with my life partner and going for crazy vacations with my best friends (Ayman & Saman).
Are there any lessons your work life has taught you?
My work life has taught me to never give up and work harder than yesterday. Being envious will not take you ahead. There is so much competition so the growth will be slow but it will be there. So never lose hope and keep going.
If you know every woman in Pakistan is reading this, is there any advice you can share?
To all women in Pakistan! Never doubt your strength. You all are way stronger than you think. Way beautiful than how the world looks at you. Drop the envy for each other. Let’s not judge each other. Let us Support each other and love each other. Life is too short to be hating on others. For one day don’t be a daughter, a wife, a mother or a sister just be a woman, just be yourself and everything will make sense. Much love to all of you.
Is there anything we could do better? Any advice for us?
I love the initiative you are taking. So beautiful so liberating. I like how you are supportive of struggling people. Your acknowledgment means a lot. Thanks for this opportunity. Wishing you and your team all the very best.