STYLE: LAWN’S NEVERENDING LOVE AFFAIR – Newspaper


There is bling. A deluge of pastels. A motley collection of floral embroideries. Chikankari, eyelets, appliqué patterns, borders, flotsam, jetsam. And dupattas that float from afar à la Sri Devi waving her sari pallu atop a scenic mountain in Switzerland. Next, there is a photo of actor Fawad Khan. “Men’s Luxury Lawn,” says the caption under the Instagram image, and it immediately grabs attention.

Why should a wide selection of elaborate, unstitched luxury lawns be available for single women? Why should men deal with limited variations of latha and generic woven fabrics? Why wouldn’t they have the choice to choose from similar ranges of party wear?

The Hazure Luxury Lawn collection, an extension of SFK Bridals and of which Fawad Khan is the face, continues to list a number of options: kurtas worked with tonal silk thread embroidery etching paisleys and architectural details , light cotton jackets layered with kurtas and the piece de resistance, an embroidered shawl in raw silk.

Although similar patterns may be available in sewn options at menswear shops, designer Sadaf Fawad Khan realized that there was not much variety available in unsewn fabrics for men. “It struck me as odd, particularly because while women can still be grouped into different body types, men need to have a more tailored fit, depending on details such as shoulder width, height , the length of the arms”, she observes.

Pakistan has an unrelenting obsession with the lawn, and from comfort wear designed for the long hot desi summer, the lawn umbrella has expanded to include evening wear, party wear, and dress and up wear. to carry. a-wedding-dress

“And just as the women’s luxury lawn is often so formal that it can even be worn for a wedding or a dholki, this men’s lawn line also has options that can pass as wedding attire.” She adds: “We have offered the possibility of tailoring, especially for customers living abroad who do not have access to tailors.

The marketing potential of a luxury men’s turf line also appealed to Sadaf. “I wanted to do something that I would enjoy but that would also make noise. If there are five billboards in a popular market and four of them show a woman wearing a designer lawn, the fifth dedicated to men’s lawn is immediately noticed.

The small details of the lawn

Sania Maskatiya

Sadaf admits, however, that she plans to delve into the luxury lawn for women by next year. It’s a market that’s hard to resist for any designer or textile factory, where the lawn goes beyond its cotton roots to incorporate a dizzying mix of textures and embellishments.

Omar Saleem, director of Portia Fabrics, one of the country’s largest multi-brand stores, says about 12.5 million basic lawn suits were made this summer and 3.5 million luxury suits.

“The demand for unsewn turf has increased,” he says. “The pandemic has led to an increase in online lawn sales. Additionally, customers have become accustomed to reviewing collections on social media, comparing and contrasting designs and prices before making their purchases. »

The colossal number of brands present on the market indicates that the competition is fierce. For those who do manage to attract customers, the business can be hugely lucrative, with a constant demand for unstitched fabric in its many variations: basic three-piece voile, “luxury wear” that mixes turf with other textures like the netting of cotton, organza, silk and chiffon, and comes with a myriad of accessories and complete party wear that may qualify as “lawn” but is, in reality, budget wedding attire .

haze

“The demand for unsewn fabrics is unprecedented,” says Khaadi heavyweight CEO Shamoon Sultan. “Many women like to buy unsewn fabric and then design it according to their preferences and size. Yet we have seen a steady increase in the demand for ready-to-wear, not only because the sewn garment trend has taken hold, but also because people are traveling abroad less often and the rupee is s is devalued and imported clothes have become very expensive.

“Buying has become more localized,” continues Shamoon. “Nevertheless, there has been no decrease in demand for unstitched turf because of this. At Khaadi, we release three seasonal collections: Basic Lawn in Essential, the Signature Collection which is more formal, and Khaas which is entirely festive.

Khaadi also recently relaunched her menswear that she ditched three years ago. The Khaadi Man range is yet to expand into menswear – one of their most popular lines in the past – and is currently limited to unsewn menswear fabrics.

Mary B

“We have noticed that over the past few years many Pakistani men have moved from ready-to-wear to bespoke designs,” says Shamoon, “so we decided to come back to the market with an unsewn range and to release ready-to-wear some time later.

Shehnaz Basit, Chief Operating Officer at Gul Ahmed, comments: “The basic lawn suit is a summer essential, and while many brands have completely shifted to luxury apparel, many of our customers appreciate a basic, clean, good. quality lawn suit. Party wear has its own demand but shalwar-kameez-dupatta is part of every Pakistani woman’s day wear.

“Over a period of 70 years in the market, we have observed that customers particularly rely on us for good quality fabric as well as design – basic needs, such as the fabric should not be transparent, are particularly Innovative ideas are also attracting attention, such as one of our recent lines, inspired by the culture of the four provinces of Pakistan.

At Maria B., another major player on the high street, lawn collections are constantly on parade: basic collections then festive lines at different prices. “Customers still want the designer lawn to be luxurious, but there are different categories – the less formal collections amplified by good fabrics, schiffli embroidery but not too much bling and very formal lines,” says Maria.

Doing well in the turf business comes with her learnings and Maria proceeds to tell their story. “These are literally unwritten rules that you learn over time! Most women don’t want to have animals or birds in the design because they feel they won’t be able to pray in the clothes, so we decided a long time ago not to incorporate them. There is no point in alienating a large portion of your customer base.

“In addition, the palette of unsewn fabrics should be created according to the season. Summer collections tend to have more pastel tones and with Eid taking place in the summer, festive lines consistently feature lots of whites – they still sell extremely well, although customers are demanding variations. If there was a white chikankari outfit in the last collection, there must be another type of white next time.

The niche of creators

Beyond the realm of big brands with multiple branches, efficient online stores and a loyal mass clientele, there are hundreds of “designer” lawns surfacing every year, investing in billboards, social media advertising, celebrities as models, and parties where guests dress up. in the lawn and be photographed.

The collections are sold in the thousands of unsewn fabric retail stores scattered across the country, but many don’t make a big splash, simply because each collection looks alike.

Designer Nomi Ansari, who has already hit the turf and released exceptional collections, explains: “Investors always approach me, but they want the collection to be designed in a certain way, replicating an international trend or whatever is popular in the local market. There are a lot of really nice prints on the market, some pushed like designer lawns, but there’s nothing distinctive about them. As an artist, I can’t curb my creativity and copy someone else’s work.

There are other designers who have tried to find a solution by avoiding mass market aspirations. Many years ago, the likes of Sana Safinaz, Rizwan Beyg and Shamaeel Ansari had pioneered lawn design by collaborating with large factories and creating collections that truly reflected their high-end ethos.

Today, an equally distinctive aesthetic has resurfaced with exclusive “limited edition” ranges that actually appear to have been created by a designer rather than a marketing team that simply offers what’s “in”.

Sania Maskatiya, for example, launched her eponymous lawn line this year, sold only through her standalone and online stores. Prices for most luxury lawn suits for women range between Rs 8,000 and Rs 12,000 – Sania’s collection, meanwhile, cost between Rs 12,500 and Rs 17,500. According to the designer, production costs were higher because the models were made in more limited numbers and quality control took priority. The designs, which resonated with Sania’s luxury clothing aesthetic, fared very well.

Similarly, designer Nida Azwer launched her Lawn last year, selling it in her stores and online. Other designers sell through multi-brand stores as well as on their own: Zainab Chottani with her classic luxury ‘Chikankari’ lawn and the less formal Tahra range, Zara Shahjahan, Farah Talib Aziz, Elan and the Crimson x Saira Shakira lines. On the high street, Image fabrics stick to their signature chikan fabric, retailed in their own stores.

Walking at his own pace, Fahad Husayn tends to give the lawn his personal and eccentric touch, engraving rainbows, flora and fauna on luminous canvases and selling the stitched lawn online and rambling from the Fahad Husayn Print Museum.

Fahad Hussayn’s latest lawn collection is titled ‘Lawndemic’ – the designer has always had a knack for turning words around – and no better phrase could truly describe Pakistan’s relentless obsession with lawns.

Comfort wear designed for the long hot desi summer, the Lawn Umbrella has expanded to include evening wear, party wear, and dress up and wear for a wedding. The designs get repetitive and yet each year the Lawn moves in new, slightly new directions – like the Lawn for Men this year and the more exclusive and curated designer collections.

Customers may shift their loyalty from one brand to another, but the demand never stops, regardless of a pandemic, inflation or political upheaval. The lawn never stops.

Posted in Dawn, ICON, April 10, 2022

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