Thursday, 5 May 2011

Lawn Lunacy...

 If you've been in Pakistan since the beginning of this summer, you would not have missed (even if you wanted to) the huge billboard advertisements for the numerous and ever growing branded lawn exhibitions. For me this was the first summer after many years that I spent in Pakistan and this whole 'Lawn Prints' phenomenon, as I like to call it, came as a surprise to me.  I have never felt as much rush and excitement in the city's female population on any other national, cultural or social event as the 'Lawn Exhibition Season'. These least expensive of these three piece lawn suits (with some extra frills and laces) costs around Rs.4000 and the upper end goes up to more than Rs.7000. But you still cant wear it until your 'dear tailor' who is now as costly as a designer stitches it and he/she would not take less than Rs.1000-Rs.1500 for a suit that even has the slightest designing to it. Now these days it would be a sin to wear a simple shalwar kameez ; you must have some cuts and pieces at the borders or a panel in the middle if you don't want to end up looking from another era. So the minimum, a ready to wear lawn suit would cost you is Rs. 6000 (including the price of the suit, additional laces and tailoring). The tragedy is - that even after spending so much money, time (at exhibitions) and effort (to look different in the print that almost every women is ultimately going to have in her wardrobe) you end up with a 'casual suit' which you cannot wear at a dinner party. The other tragedy is the never ending series of 'copies' that have already entered the market for those who could not afforded branded lawn; so that makes your 'very expensive' supposedly 'unique' lawn suit, even more common.

But that's not the real problem - the real problem is the shallowness attached to this 'lawn lunacy'  if I may call it. What I hear about these exhibitions (which I boycotted) from my friends and family is that they were like a 'mad house' of ladies jumping over each other, pushing each other just to grab that piece of cloth done by 'sana safinaz' or 'vaneeza'. Some ladies even came back disappointed saying that it was so suffocated and ruthless that by the time they reached the stall, no more prints were left.
So piece of cloth can make us so called sophisticated elite women turn into 'mad cats'.
The other disappointment comes from the supplier end in two ways. One is the quality of the lawn; it is becoming so thin and 'see through' that now men more than women are looking forward to these prints coming out to the market. Especially in summers when the sun is so bright you can hardly hide your legs in such 'crape paper' like lawn. Second - are the designs and trends being endorsed by the top designers. The designers have no idea how easily they can lead a whole nation to indecency. There was a time when we just saw 'sleeveless' and we thought... Alright, thats perhaps the most we can do to look modern and stylish . But now its about 'back less' and 'shoulder less' and you've already seen the 'capri'. Sometimes you wonder if western wear is actually more decent than our latest lawn shalwar kameezes. I do respect that everyone has a right to wear what they please - whether it be covering or uncovering, western or eastern, but what I don't like is using the 'traditional pakistani' form i.e. shalwar kameez (which also happens to be our national dress) as a vehicle to promote fashion that is totally out of sync with our culture. The western media is doing us enough favour already in terms of exposing us to options to western wear and we need our designers to design according to our culture rather than the French culture. This indecency was all over the place on billboards across cities in Pakistan (barring Junaid Jamshed who chose a very graphical ad and avoided using women as tools of advertisement) .
So all said and done you might be thinking "well its easy to criticize, but thats what it is, a decent lawn suit today Does in fact cost you Rs.4000 and we have to live with it". Well, not really. I've done some research of the market and I found some very good looking prints from Lala Classic Lawns and the like for Rs.750 - Rs.1000. And if you wish to spend a bit more and look a bit more formal, I think you are better off wearing a ready made Khadi kurta (worth Rs.3000) with your ever lasting pair of jeans or standard white/black cotton pants. At least you are relieved of the effort on the laces and cuts and the extra money at the tailor; and you're still wearing something unique and stylish. If however you aren't very brand conscious (like me) and would like to play it smart than I can tell you of a Khaadi look alike (and it literally looks alike) shop in Defence Phase 4 market (Karachi); they weave their own cloth like Khaadi does, but they sell it at about Rs.1300 for a 3 piece suit and shirt pieces range from Rs.350 to Rs.700.
Just to give you a sense of the equation, I actually bought myself 8 pieces of cloth at this Khaadi look alike shop and in about Rs.6000 (including designing, stitching and frills) I have now 8 suits that are actually unique and easily mistaken for actual "Khaadi".

I can bet no one will be wearing a copy of what I wear this summer :).

P.S (I've also discovered a tailor in today's world who charges Rs.350 for a suit with designs including panels and pleats)

1 comment:

  1. Just read this!
    Yes its a madhouse and ive never bought any of it for one thing its see through and i refuse to wear a slip! Secondly i had no tailor for about 6 years and third, once its washed it just looks scrappy anyway and im sorry but i CANNOT wear stiff starched clothes and if thats what it takes to make them look new again...forget it....
    But fizz you forgot to mention one thing....The MAIN thing in my book of OBSCENE things i have seen [and im talking from my own point of view which has nothing to do with culture, religion etc as you know]......The SLITS in dresses that go upto their bras!!!!!!!! Literally!!! Not only do we get the horrific sight of a whole fat thigh in see through cloth , but often get undone belt buttons showing even more....and keep going because it doesnt stp there! We see the edge of a bra as well........THAT is more than enough, thank you!!
    This woman came into a cloth shop with a very tight scarf bound round her head and since she had that on she seemed quite unconcerned with the rest....Her slits were UP there...she was see though and a fan was blowing her dress up on both sides. Shopkeepers were getting a FULL view from the back and my mother and i had a quick conference. She should be told! So my mother went and told her and very gently suggested that she should tell her tailor to make the slits longer next time.........The woman beat a hasty retreat after thanking my mother in great confusion.......But the truth is very few of them would bother about the advice as they would be going against FASHION!!!!
    Seems to me following fashion to that extent is as bad as following an extremist lynch mob.....Both followers are brain-dead for the duration....