Gone are the days when lawn was just another type of cloth to be worn to beat the heat in Summers in Pakistan. Lawn today is a statement…it’s a representation of who you are and your class. Sad but true!
I remember somewhere in 2005 or was it 2006 when I was appearing for my O-level GCE examinations I came across a billboard for a lawn exhibition at the Pearl Continental Hotel and the best part it was on the day of my last exam. Since my mother used to pick and drop me, I convinced her to make a little stop at the Hotel to check it out. The turnout wasn’t great as the company hosting it wasn’t well known but a TV actress / model who had been titled the ambassador of the brand was also present. The designs were pretty amazing and I remember me buying a dress of Rs 2000 from the exhibition. It was a really fancy lawn dress…fully embroidered with laces and a chiffon dupatta…something that you won’t even get in Rs 6000 today, thanks to the sky rocketing prices of lawn in Pakistan.
The next thing I knew was that banners started coming up for different brands within a month or so…there was Gul Ahmed, Al Karam, Lakhani and god knows how many brands. And I got addicted to attending those exhibitions and checking their brands out. Years passed and one by one new brands keeping coming in…there was Asim Jofa, rumours about cat fights at an exhibition of Sana Safinaz…I wouldn’t have believed it had I not seen it for myself. It so happened to that one of my friend’s mother wanted to go to one of these exhibitions and since her car wasn’t available she requested my mother to come with her and I tagged along with them despite not being interested in that particular brand. And oh my…the exhibition hall was packed. There was a huge line of impatient ladies at the check-out counter and some were arguing at the last available pieces of their favourite designs. It was at that point I decided not to enter the hall. I feared my hair being pulled by those big aunties and convinced my mother to not to go in either. It was from that day that I avoided lawn exhibitions at all cost.
But unfortunately that didn’t stop me from checking out online catalogues or going to stores to check out the new arrivals. I was addicted to the lawn phenomenon that was slowly taking over Karachites in its grips and there was nothing I could do about it. I couldn’t stop myself from drooling over the lavish Asim Jofa designs or just hopping over to Dolmen Mall to check out Nishats sale. I was too deep in it and I knew it. I wanted to wear the best embroidered clothes to work. I am no makeup person and I’ve worked crazy hours and late nights so even if I looked like a massi from face I still wanted my clothes to be nice.
And then I moved to New Zealand and realised that the people here aren’t so bothered about what they are wearing. They would just put on simple pants and go to the mall. Yes dress code is pretty important in organisations and females here do put an effort to look good and groomed but it’s not a battle of who has the best clothes on here. Here they are more concerned about looking professional rather than concentrating on who looks the best. Eid came and went and I wasn’t worried about getting hold of the best Eid collection dress. I wasn’t spending hours checking out the Eid collection catalogues and being in a hurry to order them before they went out of stock.
This time when I came to Pakistan I didn’t spend thousands on just lawn clothes. My family had done a little shopping for me before I came and I bought a few dresses myself and decided to use all my old precious lawn clothes which had been lying in the cupboard for over a year since I couldn’t take them with me due to the luggage restrictions. I didn’t feel guilty about buying one expensive lawn suit as I hadn’t spent much on clothes ever since I had moved.
But yes I’ll be honest if I were living in Pakistan I probably would still be a part of the lawn war and would be enjoying going lawn shopping. I guess mainly because these lawn brands have given the Pakistani woman an activity they can enjoy. For some it’s about having the best clothes and looking the best at parties, for some it’s about a fashion statement, for some it’s just an activity and for others its mainly just an addiction. The harsh reality is that lawn brands will flourish and keep increasing their prices as long as there is demand from people like us…and from where I see it this demand isn’t going down…it’s increasing day by day!