Friday, March 9, 2012

And Then There Was Lawn

It is that time of the year.

The time when outdoor signage companies, lace sellers, tailors and dyers make a lot of money.

Yes, it is that time of the year.

The time when women all over the country go into frenzy over lawn suits which, at the end of the day, is mere cloth. Nothing is more important than the acquisition of this mere cloth and  mind you, buying it is no ordinary matter. It requires courage (to make way through throngs of women), physical strength (for pushing others), good voice projection (to make yourself heard at the counter), and consistency (to display the same physical and mental prowess in each exhibition).

Step outside your house and your eyes will feast on (besides the usual trash in Karachi) beauties on all shapes, sizes and manner of billboards. Each beauty, local and foreign, is trying to exude charm, style, sensuality, originality and a solution to all life’s problems. Their awkward and some very suggestive poses have made lawn suits the equivalent of Victoria’s Secret. The prints, too, are mind boggling. A lot of them can be used for camouflage, especially against bathroom tiles. Others can merge effortlessly with minibuses. Some remind me of Lollywood films; a bit of everything and still not worth it.

The prices of these suits is another story altogether. This item of everyday wear is priced exorbitantly, prices range from Rs. 2k to Rs.5k, and yet there is no dearth of buyers. Is this need fulfilment or are these exhibitions fuelling the monster of materialism? Women want more variety, more brands, and more clothes in their wardrobe.  Inability to buy or wear a particular designer print earlier than others leaves them bereft. If an alien species landed on this part of the planet to study human behaviour, they won’t have much to write about the majority of women in Pakistan. Show me a woman who doesn’t love clothes – I, too, love adding to my wardrobe but there must be a balance between need and desire. Over the past few years this balance is tipping, at an alarming rate might I add, which speaks volumes about the nature of our society.

But my grievance doesn’t end here. This influx of designer lawn is also the death of creativity. They have assumed the role of Big Brother (and here I’m referring to Orwell’s 1984) and dictate the details of the dress to the last stitch. With the shirts come inadequate yards of ugly lace or satin strips. Unlike the West, where one can buy separate pieces of an outfit in a catalogue, here the whole three piece suit is a mandatory buy. The nightmare actually begins once the outfit is bought, stitched and ready to wear. Women live in perpetual fear of spotting a clone once they step out of the house in their so called ‘exclusive’ lawn outfit. Oh, the irony of it all!

There is no doubt that lawn is a must for surviving the searing, sweaty heat of the summer months.  And as more and more designers and textile mill owners step into the game each year, this lawn phenomenon is only going to get bigger, wilder, and crazier. Expect lawn prints based on television dramas (I can’t believe nobody has come out with a Humsafar theme yet!), truck art, city themes, Mughal art and wild animals. And if anybody decides to do that, I’d like some lawn designs inspired from literature, both English and Urdu please. A lawn print inspired by Tilsm Hoshruba – now that will be worth every penny!

P.S: Don’t stifle your individuality by following the herd even if it is that time of the year.