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Friday, 29 March 2013

Lawn Wars - the story so far

Yes, a lot has been said on lawn and this is positively my last word on the subject this season. I stopped by Portia Fabrics for a quick survey on how this year's lawn offerings are doing. In case you somehow don't know, Portia Fabrics is one of the top stores for lawn in Karachi - one where almost everyone chooses to stock. It's almost April and well into lawn season here in the city by the sea. So who's hot and who's not?

Plenty of this design still available

Well surprisingly, considering we live in uncertain times, total sales are about the same as last year. So far at Portia this year's hottest sellers are Elan (few designs left), Sania Maskatiya (totally sold out) and Sana Safinaz who launched last of the three. Sana Safinaz, as always, have sold very well BUT haven't generated the same initial hysteria that they did last year. Three or four of their designs are sold out but there are a few pieces of most of the others available. Stacks of design 8 remain unsold but there's always one design that customers don't "get".

The key though with Sana Safinaz is that while people are still scrambling from pillar to post for "hot" designs like #11 below, sales of less popular designs remain steady and retailers know they will be sold out before long. 
Sana Safinaz designs 11a and 11b were hot sellers
This Farah Leghari design sold out - twice!


A surprise word of mouth hit is lawn newbie Farah Leghari, whose media launch is today. Her designs in collaboration with Gohar Textiles have been flying off the shelves.

Umar Sayeed has also sold steadily as have Zara Shahjehan and surprisingly Ittehad. At their exhibition, sales of Fahad Hussayn’s designs were nothing to write home about - apart from a few designs like this, which actually had to be taken off a dummy for an eager customer.

Since the exhibition however they’ve sold steadily in a retail setting. In fact this seems to be a trend for many designers. Customers are holding off on impulse buys at exhibitions and then buying at leisure from retailers. 

My favourite Nida Azwer lawn
The exceptions are of course fashion darlings Elan, Sania Maskatiya and Nida Azwer who saw mass sales at their exhibitions. Whilst my personal favourite was Sania Maskatiya, Nida’s collection was a disappointment because of the fabric. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Nida’s work and her lawn collection was fun, quirky and stylish. I adored the little “Nida Azwer” stamped buttons and the attention to detail on each outfit. The designs with lawn dupattas were sensibly priced at Rs3500 and the more elaborate outfits were reasonable at Rs5450. The colour palette was sophisticated and the overall look was great – except for the fabric. It just didn’t have that buttery sheen that the best lawn has and after dithering for ages over a blue Iznik pottery jora, I decided to pass. I am however in the minority. Overall the collection was a huge hit and Ensemble One at Dolmen had a mere handful of joras left yesterday from Nida’s lawn collection. If however I’d managed to get hold of a Phoenix Rust (design 6A) I would have bought in spite of the fabric because it was simply soooo pretty.

A lot of my friends claimed that they won’t be buying lawns this year for various reasons ranging from “I kept running into aunties wearing the same jora” to “Lawns have just got too busy and fussy”. I definitely disliked some lawn collections this year and yet it seems that there’s a market for even the most garish joras. And like every year, ladies are picking up five or six joras at a time. At an average of Rs5000 or more for designer lawn, we’re not talking peanuts. 

Unsold J.J.Valaya joras

Not everyone has sold well. J.J.Valaya was overpriced; Rs7,500 for some joras on the first day of the exhibition after which they reduced prices to Rs6,500. This may be the reason for the piles of unsold joras. Seems there is a limit to what the lawn buying public will swallow after all!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Pakistani Designer Lawn 2013 - What to expect from Lawn 2013

 Bring in Lawn

Published in the Sunday magazine of the Daily Times on 10th March 2013

Lawn – love it or loathe it, there’s no getting away from it come springtime. We haven’t even packed away our shawls but the lawn billboards have festooned the cities and designers have already started having launch exhibitions.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Calling all "friends of friends"

So the Zamzama Cafe story apparently has wings. The latest rumour on the circuit is that one of the "kidnapped" girls has been shot. My sister-in-law heard it at a salon, a friend heard mothers discussing it school and its been doing the rounds of bbm groups. I've been assured by a trusted friend that one of her clients knows the family but is being very tight-lipped about the whole thing.

The comment from my very trusted friend was enough to shake my confidence that this story is a hoax. But consider the facts. There was one very dodgy incident at Dolmen Mall that may or may not have been a kidnapping attempt. There were reporters all over the place in minutes. The story was on every channel and in every paper. Eye-witnesses talked freely to the press. CCTV footage of the incident has been all over Facebook for days. So how could an incident have happened at a cafe like Butler's, on a street like Zamzama, and remained unreported?

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Rumour Epidemic

Have you heard? There's a rumour epidemic in town. Yesterday, when random firing broke out all over the city the rumour mill went into overdrive. As the afternoon progressed we saw petrol pumps and shops closing, firing around the city and tales of an indefinite strike. There were traffic jams as people rushed to get home and grocery stores were packed due to panic buying. This was all fact. What caused it all was something of a mystery. SMS, phone lines, whatsapp, twitter and facebook were abuzz . Sure people wanted to make sure loved ones were safe and warn friends to stay safe but suddenly all sorts of stories floating were floating around - most of which were pure nonsense.

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