Grazing in the lawnArchive
KARACHI: Advertisements, brand catalogues, exhibitions, crazed shoppers, rip-offs, races to tailors … yes, it is that time of the year when markets are flooded with lawn fabric. No matter how many suits or shirt pieces with or without dupatta you buy for yourself, it is not enough.
Every woman goes shopping for lawn. The markets from lavish halls of hotels, malls to home shopping networks and Sunday and Friday bazaars all are flooded with prints just like out in the gardens there is a burst of colours in the shape of seasonal flowers. And the designs on the fabric can be as many as a kaleidoscope can show with each turn. Some may look like block prints though that is not really the case. Some may carry embroidery, some lace on the borders or sleeves. Some may have all the design on the dupatta, some may not even come with one.
Just as there is no limit to the lawn variety, there is also no limit to the kind of customers who buy them. There are some who will not wear anything that says or suggests ‘last year’. It has to be new. So last year’s leftover prints available at slightly cheaper prices are things they stay away from. Someone once heard a tailor complaining of getting damp lawn from a client to stitch because she just couldn’t wait for it to dry completely after shrinking it in a bucketful of water. She was in such a rush to show off her new lawn jora, which happened to be a designer label of course. Speaking of designer lawns, they may range from anything in the vicinity of Rs4,000 to Rs12,000.
Surely, not everyone can afford those so there is the smart buyer who may reach out to feel the fabric from those piled up in the corner from last year. “Who is going to remember that this was last year’s design?” laughs one customer as she selects a polka dot design with another pattern inside the dots. It was available in three colours and the customer got one suit in each colour. “For my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law,” she winks. “They can’t tell the year anyway because they live in Australia.”
Then there is the sensible buyer, who may head to the Sunday or Friday bazaars to shop for lawn. “This year I came here to this Juma Market early so I’m going to pick something or the other from among the factory rejects being sold here as cut pieces. If I wait two weeks more, they will also be selling rip-offs of the branded lawns. And the material isn’t that bad either,” says one customer.
“We sell lawn all 12 months in Karachi as it suits the weather here,” says Mohammad Kamran, showing the variety he has to offer to the customer.
Lawns at the Sunday and Friday bazaars in the city range from Rs550 to Rs1,500. There are women with crying babies, women with boys in tow carrying baskets full of vegetables and bags of karahi-cut chicken for them, unable to resist the lawns hanging from strings and fluttering in the air as they beckon them. And then starts the bargaining, walking off from one shop then returning to it on being called back with the earlier quoted price brought slightly down. “Look, once it is stitched, who would be able to tell that I am wearing a factory reject?” says another customer, looking through the mountains and molehills of lawns on the floor until she finds something that she likes. “There is also matching lace available right here. I can mix and match to create something very pretty and smart,” she adds.
Abid Mirza, another salesman there, has put up signs which read ‘Buy one suit, get one free for Rs1,500’. “This way I am selling two suits of Rs500 each for a total sum of Rs1,500,” he laughs.
Published in Dawn, March 12th, 2017