Zainab Chottani vs Sanam Chottani: Do textile mills invent designers to boost sales?

Published 09 Jan, 2016 02:58pm

Maliha Rehman

Looking at Pakistan's lawn landscape, it appears that the designer unstitched lawn market is inundated by Chottanis!

Since Zainab Chottani switched to Lakhany Silk Mills in 2015 (left), her former collaborators Shariq Textiles appear to have roped in a series of Chottani designers, including one Sanam Chottani (right)
Since Zainab Chottani switched to Lakhany Silk Mills in 2015 (left), her former collaborators Shariq Textiles appear to have roped in a series of Chottani designers, including one Sanam Chottani (right)

Looking at Pakistan's lawn landscape, it appears that the designer unstitched lawn market is inundated by Chottanis – and they have a predilection for working in collaboration with Shariq Textiles.

There is, of course, designer Zainab Chottani who created prints for Shariq Textiles in 2013 and 2014 before switching to Lakhany Silk Mills (LSM) last year.

Shortly afterwards more of her sisterhood crawled out of the woodworks: Ayesha Chottani who created unstitched lines for Shariq Textiles last year and now, Sanam Chottani, whose embroidered collection is just about to release into the market.

Are all the Chottani women obsessed with designing lawn?

Who is Ayesha Chottani, we wonder
Who is Ayesha Chottani, we wonder

“I don’t know any Ayesha or Sanam Chottani!” says Zainab Chottani. “I switched from Shariq Textiles to LSM and suddenly, there were these unknown Chottani women releasing lawn collections. My father actually received calls from lawn distributors congratulating him that his other daughter had also entered the business. But I don’t have any sisters by these names. As far as I know, they’re completely fictitious.”

Zainab Chottani switched from Shariq Textiles to Lakhany Silk Mills last year
Zainab Chottani switched from Shariq Textiles to Lakhany Silk Mills last year

And yet, their names have frequented billboards and TV hoardings – often in fonts very similar to that used by Zainab Chottani for LSM, possibly managing to confuse customers. Are there any real Chottani designers working for Shariq Textiles at all? Or is the surname being applied to in-house designs strategically, in order to attract customers who prefer lawn that is linked to a designer brand?

Shariq was unavailable for comment despite repeated attempts to reach out to the textile house. Previously, the brand had consumers miffed when it release its ‘Libas’ lines, with the title written the same way as it is written on the cover of ‘Libas’ magazine. And then there was also a ‘Maheen Hussain’ collection launched in 2014; a name that can easily be mixed up with that of accessory designer Mahin Hussain.


In another turn of events, an Aasia Chottani line of prints also floated into the market last year, irking longstanding LSM textile house with their genuine designer, Zainab Chottani.


This kind of branding might generate short-term sales but won't it diminish brand credibility in the long run? It's worth noting that Shariq Textiles has plenty of bona fide designers to its credit: Wardha Saleem, Mina Hasan and only this year, Shehla Chatoor, who debuts her first unstitched fabric line in collaboration with the textile house.

Why then concoct murky Chottani lines and imitate fonts?

Shariq Textiles also features bona fide designers, such as Mina Hasan, so its alleged invention of fictitious designers is puzzling
Shariq Textiles also features bona fide designers, such as Mina Hasan, so its alleged invention of fictitious designers is puzzling

In another turn of events, an Aasia Chottani line of prints also floated into the market last year, allegedly in collaboration with an LLSM textiles.

This certainly irked the longstanding LSM textile house with their genuine designer, Zainab Chottani. “It was an inferior product line created under a fictitious name in order to confuse our customers,” said a spokesperson at LSM. “We have been manufacturing garments and fabric since 1952 and these things do happen. We served a legal notice to them.”

It’s the ridiculous side to the lawn wars and as more of her namesakes creep out of the shadows, Zainab Chottani should feel flattered. Apparently her surname sells well.