Lawn Fever

12440629_1739689572927931_3811211954775163078_oIts that time of year where we are lurking around the corner to see who has the best lawn suit, unstitched or stitched.  Pakistan has come a long way in the retail business.  So many different brands, so many different colors, but, they seem to be all copying each other.  I love the digital prints, but everyones designs seem to be blending together.  They almost all look the same.  Then you have the “zoo” obsession as one of my close friends from New York stated a few days ago in our whatsapp chat.  I like many others, prefer not to wear anything with eyes on it.  Some of the kurtas look amazing.

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I’ve almost stopped breathing because I’m so excited to have found an amazing kurta, when low and behold, my eyes start to focus again, and there butterflies, flamingos, oriental people, parrots, birds, beetles, etc on it.  Then I put it back with a heavy heart because I won’t wear anything that won’t allow me to pray wearing it. That means, “NO FACES PEOPLE!!!”  They are everywhere!  One has to be very careful in thoroughly searching the ENTIRE kurta/loose material, because you may not see it at first, but more than 75% of the time, SOMETHING IS LOOKING BACK AT YOU!  I feel its best to bring someone along, since at first glance you over look it and get excited.  You need someone to burst that bubble and bring you back to reality.

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My post this week is about the lawn exhibitions.  The private launches, the pre-launches.  I feel depressed about this whole trend that seems to have caught on to every designer/textile house.  When did it become okay to make us women act like animals grabbing suits like there was no tomorrow? When did it become okay to make us crazy with anticipation on getting to the shop early so we could run in and take hold of an outfit that we will happily wear only 1 season.  What happened to printing out suits for the masses.  We all wore them.  Gul Ahmed, Al-Karam!  They printed a design, sometimes in a few colours.  One would be able go to Saleem Fabrics and decide which color and bring it home to shrink it and decide on how to get it stitched.  You see, back then, we could have had the same design, but we always got it stitched differently.  We were unique.  

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Now, the designs are printed once in bulk, laces, and millions of pieces are sold with it, but there is a catch. If you want to look amazing, you will have to put all those pieces together to copy the picture on the packet.  We all look like copies of one another.  Where is the fun in that.  To top that off, they are costing a ridiculously steep price.  Most women in Pakistan won’t be caught dead wearing it the following spring/summer season.  It usually ends up going to the maid or worn when doing household chores that make you sweat.  

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I wish the designers would stop making us look like fools.  They say we do it to ourselves.  Yes, we do.  But we are not only to blame.  Everyone wants a nice outfit, everyone wants something different.  The long lines at pre-launches is embarrassing. The salesmen won’t even show you the booklet until it’s your turn to buy.  If you are going to the launch,  most of the designers, friends of designers, bloggers, fashionistas and magazine reporters all are wearing their outfits of choice.  

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While the rest are waiting in line to get their fingers on one as well. I wish they would stop making us feel like if we don’t have that particular designer’s lawn outfit our wardrobe is not complete for the season.  Abroad, its only couture which is not mass produced, which people hardly buy everyday.  People are civilized when they are shopping for the new season.  But here, it’s a different story.

Maybe it’s time we stopped this trend ourselves.  

Maasi Saba

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Shopping Day!

By Maasi Saba

A couple of weeks before Eid, I was able to go to a trunk show by Ummaima Mustafa.  She is a Karachi based designer whose style I really liked. I had been following her for several months on FB and Instagram, and was disappointed to learn that they didn’t take orders out of Karachi.  I was so depressed. So I had gotten in touch with a relative living in the city, and badgered her to go and have a look at her clothes. Were they as nice as they looked in the pictures, because usually, looks are deceiving. You see some designers’ pictures of work and think. “Wow! I think I’m in love! I have to have that!” (You know you have had those moments many times, don’t be shy). Since she was busy moving, she wasn’t able to check out the boutique, but luckily for Instagram, I found out that they were having another trunk show at Nishat Hotel and this was my chance.

I dragged a friend to go with me. Sometimes, you are so obsessed with certain items, you can overlook the flaws, so I needed help. I wasn’t sure that the cape that I wanted was actually worth it. We get to the trunk show and many women are already there. It looked very nice. We both felt out of place with everyone dressed to impress, and here we looked like loser mothers. I immediately saw the jacket/cape that I wanted and grabbed it. There was another one I liked, but my friend said that white wouldn’t look so good on my abaya. (That’s how I wanted to wear this item. On top of my abaya as a jacket to change the look a bit.) There were some ladies who were eyeing me, so I clutched my cape tighter and walked to the side to try it on. There wasn’t any full-length mirror near us so I asked my friend to see if I would look good in it. And she said yes! That made me smile, and smile big. The material wasn’t what I was expecting, but it was cute with tassels and a chain going around. The color was nice as well. But there were two other women who were holding onto a printed cape, and I so wanted to try it on. We both were waiting around for someone to put it back, but no, not while we were there. We also were too shy to ask if there were other pieces available in that style.  They weren’t adding any new items to the racks, and most of the racks were bare when we got there. So I tried the jacket on, and my friend said to get it. And I did. I also bought a dress that I saw. It was also cute. And I loved the fact that they were giving sleeves for those who wanted to add it. Which I will once I get the material for its lining.  Everyone who has seen the dress hanging in my closest wants it, and I just laugh it off. Well, I can’t possibly give my new thing to someone before wearing it myself. 

6f91f959a1411c2d721b6f7e05853be8At home, I tried the cape on and it was irritating me. It’s some imported linen material, which gives the cape structure, but I guess it’s too hot for me to wear it yet. I’m also having a bit of a problem dealing with the hooks at the ends. You see, it’s a long cape, and the designer has added hooks to bring up the corners however I want it to look. It looked so simple when she was explaining it to me. But now that I look at it, and I have tried it on many, many, times in my bathroom, I’m confused. And to tell you the truth, no one really liked the cape. So I keep thinking, maybe I wasted my money on impulse shopping again. (I’ll admit it, it happens at times with me). Or maybe one would call it obsessive shopping, since I have been obsessed over it for a while now and just had to have it. Either way, I own it now. I will figure out what the heck to do with the bottom.  On Instagram later that day, I saw the model Mehreen Syed wearing the same one in black. And she looked perfect! Models! Hmm, I will have to study that picture or wear really high heels because two ends are dragging on the floor when I wear them.  Something needs to be changed, I’ll figure it out eventually. 

 But the dress, its adorable.  I found a pic of someone wearing it and I’ve included that because I cannot wear it yet. I need to attach sleeves with lining before that is possible. But I do have a scarf that goes so well with it. I’m excited. Let’s just hope I get it to the tailor in time before another function, or I’ll miss out on wearing it again and again. 

BTW, my friend and I were wondering on the car ride there what the different was between a trunk show and an exhibition. When I sat down to write this blog, I decided to do some research online. Here is what I found:

A trunk show is an event in which vendors present merchandise directly to store personnel or customers at a retail location or another venue such as a hotel room. In many cases it allows store personnel to preview and/or purchase merchandise before it is made available to the public. (By Wikipedia)

An exhibition, in the most general sense, is an organized presentation and display of a selection of items. In practice, exhibitions usually occur within museums, galleries and exhibition halls, and World’s Fairs. (By Wikipedia)

To me, when it comes to our clothing exhibitions, they both seem the same, no? Maybe it’s the new way of stating an exhibition because up until recently, everyone was having exhibitions, with or without taking orders. Now its all about trunk shows. 

 Do check out Ummaima Mustafa’s designs. I like them. I wish she was around when I was still in high school because some of the things she is making now, were things I wanted my mom to get made for us from here, but alas, all good things come on their own pace.  Better late than never.  

Royalty Cards

By Maasi Saba

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One of the most exciting things about shopping for me these days is being able to use my royalty cards. I have a few from some of my favorite shops like Kayseria, Nishat Linen, Khaadi, and Crossstitch. They are beloved items in my wallet. Since my hubby won’t let me have any credit cards, these shiny cards do the trick. I shop, I add the points, I save them up, and eventually, I CAN BUY SOMETHING REALLY CHEAP, OR FOR FREEEEE!!! It’s truly an amazing feeling. Those items then become my favorite pieces because they were free, or next to nothing. (I know many of you are smiling right now because you feel the same!)

And the best part of them?! THEY ARE HUSBAND FRIENDLY! No bill, no trail to be left for him to find out! The cashier just asks if you would like to add the points or use them. And voila! It’s a done transaction. There are benefits of shopping. ACCUMULATE POINTS! GET SOMETHING FOR NEXT TO NOTHING. Doesn’t it make you happy? I know it makes me smile as I leave the shop. I wish more brands would take part in this.

Clothing Tags- Part 1

By Maasi Saba

Its summer time, and with schools finally closed for the school year, I finally have time to shop. There are sales everywhere these days, but only the people who are always out and about, profit from them. I, on the other hand, usually end up going when all the good items have been sold. It’s just my luck. I guess I am not a shopaholic. For the past few years, I have noticed some changes from our local amazing brands, such as Khaadi, Kayseria, Outfitters, ChenOne, etc. If any of you had noticed, their tags have changed. It not only says “Dry Clean ONLY.” I usually hate those words. I only like to read them on my formal outfits, not my everyday, or “going out” outfits. Who wants to dry clean their clothes on a daily basis? And who, reading this post, has a good dry cleaner who hasn’t ruined any item of theirs. I have gotten some things back from the dry cleaners and wonder what it had originally looked like. Because it looks different, in size, shape, and color. So I avoid them like the plague. Someone recommend a good dry cleaner in Lahore please. 

Anyway, my point here is that the tags on many clothing items have become informative, and more to cater to our needs. Things like how to wash them, how they were made, and a cute/interesting tag. I like these things. I remember when I had my first child and buying baby clothing was an amazing feeling. The tags and the adorable hangers or little accessory they added was an added bonus. Maybe it’s the artsy person inside that looks for these little things. A while back, I had bought my little one a few things from Outfitters. Their tags didn’t just have the price on it, it told me that I could wash these items in the machine if I was just careful to mind dark colors to be washed separately, and to not dry in direct sunlight. As a new mother many years ago, sometimes my brain wasn’t working properly and I would just throw things in the machine because you can never have enough clean clothes for a baby/toddler. 

The reason why I bring this up, is because living abroad, many don’t hand wash their clothes, it either goes in the washing machine and then into the dryer, or it goes directly to the dry cleaners. Having given gifts to many people, I would occasionally hear about items getting ruined after first wash. Our colors are more strong and permanent, and our stitching and embellishments are stitched to perfection.  I truly believe that our products could give major top designers a run for their money! Inshallah very soon “Made in Pakistan” will be a desired item for many.