The rising prices have put a damper on the shopping craze of the female population, who in turn mourn non-affordability of suitable lawn, even on sale. With brands like Gul Ahmad, Warda, Lilac, Al Karam, Bareeze and Swiss Voile gracing the markets and their demanding prices, fashion has become almost sacred. Women countrywide continue to cry against this factor, saying lawn fabric lives one season only, and ‘we are rendered able to buy a minimum two to three suits to last the long, sizzling seven months.’ “What can we do,” they sorrowed.
On the other hand, shopkeepers lash out against the rather ‘pompous’ attitude of the women concerned, saying their mounting preferences towards branded fabrics ‘will push us all towards poverty.’
Cloth house owner Afzal Saeed, who has been in this business since the past 28 years, told The Post that eight years back, women would get in queues to get decent lawn. “Now there is a mushroom growth of cloth houses, here and there and everywhere,” he added.
He said a century back, one could get a Gul Ahmed three piece suit (4-1/2 meter) in Rs 63 and normal lawn for Rs 52. “Gul Ahmed had a fixed Rs 225 in peak summer season and Rs 190 in sale season,” he said, adding that Firdos, Crystal, Classic, Shumaila and Swiss lawn last year were out in Rs 1,755, but now at Rs 1,955. “The two hundred jump is drastic, to say the least. It has priced clothing astronomically high,” he added.
Imran from Shahib Jee on Mall Road said he had been in the fashion business since the last 10 years and had a shop in Anarkali. He said ten years back, all malls lining the provincial metropolis had few textile brands, of which Gul Ahmed, Al Karam, Jubilee, Al Farooq and Lakhani reigned, but now there is a variety in Vaneeza Lawn, Maria B, Bareeze and Circle among score others.
“There used to be a trend of general shops catering to the choice of the general public, but not any longer,” he said. “The market has shifted its trends,” he added. He said now the prices start from Rs 600 to reach a minimum at Rs 1,500, stretching far and farther.
However, he added that with private mills forging the designs of branded companies, the ‘brand, brand status has lost its charm, to an extent.’ “When one can get a per metre Gul Ahmed design for Rs 35 to Rs 150, why would one go for an original at Rs 1,000 onwards,” he said.
He blamed the rising inflation on women, who, he said, standardise everything according to the price value and not the material, texture or design. Ghulam Hyder said years ago, a branded suit was available at Rs 250 to Rs 300, adding that it all depends on one’s distinctive class level. ‘Those who can afford Gul Ahmed, buys Gul Ahmed. Our first stock has already ended,” he added.
Insari Market on Mall Road refused to enter into a discussion on this count, while other stores manage to lure in shoppers with a ‘Buy four, get one free.’
According to the existing market rates, Bareeze has a price range from Rs 4,500 and above, Gul Ahmed with its collections, Lawn a Rs 172 meter and Rs 1,290 for a three piece, Fragrance Lawn, Cotton Silk and Fusion Crochet Rs 200per meter and Rs 1500 for a three piece, embellished lawn and printed Chiffon Rs 250 per meter and Rs 1,875 for the whole, Swiss Voile Rs 1,920, embellished Chiffon Rs 1,995, FluerDe Chiffon Rs 2,160, Regalia Silk, Colorita Silk, Essenza De Silk and Diva De Silk for Rs 2,250.
Another old textile brand suits of Al Karam Shabnum Lawn, Classic Collection, Black and white yards dyed are available in Rs 1,125, Chiffon Collection Rs 1,525, Hand Embroidery Rs 1,500 to Rs 1,840, Shifly Collection Rs 1,600 to Rs 1,800, Shabnam Applic Duptatta Rs 2,300, Braso Broshia Rs 2,100, Machine Embroidery Rs 1,650, Swiss, Voile Print and Dyed Rs 1,500 and print and Fancy Chiffon Drop in Rs 2,100 and Rs 1,750, respectively.
Interviewing women in this regard, a teacher at Grammar School Fiaza Aamir told The Post that she managed to save a few for formal school functions, ‘otherwise I religiously avoid buying in peak season.’ ‘I wait for the sales to start,” she added, continuing that the escalating hike has tipped the shopping scale downwards.
She said as a Clothing and Textile student, ‘the texture of textile could be compromised on, but never the colour and the design, which actually makes the whole difference.’
Housewife Nusrat said a few years back, Rs 1,800 could buy a three piece grand suit, but now the rising trend has touched the clothing line too. “There is no going for reason. Everything is beyond the reach of a common woman,” she added.
Working women Aneela, Fakhra and Razia Batool among hundreds others maintained that they used to go on a spree every week, but now have curtailed their habit to once every three months. “The uncontrolled prices have made life non-pleasurable,’ they lamented.
Courtesy: The Post, 22/5/2008