Pakistan prepares for 'lawn wars’
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With new designer lawn brands mushrooming around the country at the lightening speed, the women are going deeper and deeper into a frenzy of getting their hands on the absolute latest.
From Bollywood mega-stars to the toasts of local cinema and television, lawn’s a star-studded business.
March through October, when Pakistan enjoys a long summer and women turn to lawn as their staple fabric, ‘designer lawn’ is all they would talk about.
From the word go, the textile industry is now about imagination amount of money being spent and of course, extracted back from the buyer who has been convinced that her life is meaningless without her lawn suits and she can be happy with a wardrobe brimming with many prints.
When finally the lawn has been designed, the challenge brand has to face is getting the photoshoot done for the ad campaigns.
Fashion designers and factory owners are collaborating with each other to produce designer lawns. In most cases, the brands hire top fashion designers to design their range of lawn.
In other cases, designers are having their stocks processed by mills and selling under their own names in the market. Both the owners of the mills and the designers collaborate to share profits in certain situations.
The entry of young fashion designers has also helped transform the lawn market and have significantly contributed to its growth and expansion by reacting to the demand of brand (quality) conscious urban middle-class consumers.
Housewife Kanza Mansab says for her, the lawn fabric is comfortable and easy to wear in summer. But she laments the fact that she now has to pay more than Rs8,000 for a decent outfit because the prices have risen with the increasing demand for quality cloth.
She further adds, “The cheaper ones are poor in quality and not as comfortable. But instead of prices dropping with the competition, they have actually risen.”
Talking to 24 News, Designer Zahid Khan said: “Most lawn brands do not feel the need to venture into the export market because domestic sales returns are significantly higher and demand is growing every day.”
“The bigger houses set the trends and the smaller mills then make cheaper copies. So it’s all about continuing to beat the competition by innovating and re-inventing.”
Designer Cheena Chhapra said: “Lawn has become a trendsetter for the elite class. There was a time when lawn was for every class but now it is limited to certain social groups.
"We have destroyed our culture ourselves because lawn used to be a source of income for the rural areas women who used to make handmade designs. Now we are dependent on China.
"How can a teacher earning Rs20,000 per month afford a lawn suit of Rs8,000 - that’s the reason they have to buy a copied version from the market at a cheaper price."
She added: “The original term “lawn” was used for fine linen fabric with an open texture and that is still called linen lawn. Over the years, especially in the Subcontinent with its abundance of good cotton, lawn moved from linen to cotton. The fact that it’s a breathable fabric made it gain popularity due to the extreme summer conditions in the region.”
Designer Ahmed Bilal said: “Plagiarism has been rearing its ugly head, with everyone from top-notch design houses to emerging designers being accused of using international design influences in their work.
He added: “In Liberty Market, you will see many copied designs of big fashion houses but there is no law to stop them.
"The government should take strict action against these people and the big fashion houses should also design clothes at prices that are affordable to all.”