If you’re a shopaholic red-blooded woman, there’s a good chance that you’ve lately been bamboozled quite a bit by nifty marketing.
Even before temperatures soared, billboards popped up within your periphery, urging you to stock up on lightweight lawn fabric in preparation for the sweltering summer that was sure to follow. Off you went, wrapping your shawl around you, shivering in the icy winter wind while you rationed up on your future wardrobe.
Then, as the heat rose, the lawn imagery assailed you full-throttle. On billboards and TV adverts, magazines and social media’s expansive platform, you grew dizzy with the extensive variety on offer. You felt duty-bound to buy a certain collection because it tended to go ‘sold out’ and then there were the prints that were created by your favorite designer and a few more just because they looked so good in those (many) photo shoots with the desert backdrops. They were bound to stand out just as well in the dusty, arid climes of your city – reason enough to crank up the bank account again!
And now, just when you thought you were done with your shopping, out came the advertisements again, pitching an all-new key word to entice you: ‘Eid’!
But Eid is more than a month away. The fasting month of Ramadan is yet to begin and you’re still happily gorging on three meals a day (albeit not too much because you want to continue fitting into that summer wardrobe you’ve amassed so diligently). Nevertheless, Eid exhibits and collections are quite the ‘it’ things right now, drawing in crowds and a healthy bit of shoving and pushing all the way to the sales till.
“It takes time for unstitched fabric to get stitched by tailors,” points out CEO of Khaadi, Shamoon Sultan. “This is actually the ideal time to launch an unstitched Eid collection.” He says this while standing in the colossal Khaadi outlet in Karachi’s Dolmen City while masses of women stream through the unstitched fabric section. The Eid line of embroidered chiffon has just launched that morning and it is apparently a huge hit. The price is steeper than Khaadi’s lawn range, teetering at around Rs 8000, but it hasn’t deterred the avid shopper. Most of the designs have already flown off the racks, leaving them bare, to be restocked in a few days’ time. “We’ve delved into an unstitched chiffon line for the first time and it makes sense. Eid-wear tends to be more formal,” says Shamoon.
The other Eid collection of unstitched fabric to have been launched that very day has been by Sana Safinaz and it, too, has strayed away from lawn’s much-hackneyed dominion. Instead, the fabric of choice is poly net and cotton net, worked with heavy embroideries and following a quintessentially sophisticated palette. The prices range between Rs 8000 and Rs 10000 – not a problem for the designer duo’s many fans who have ensured that some of the suits are already ‘out of stock’.
“The fabric adds in a luxe element,” explains Safinaz, “so that the clothes can be worn in the evening, on Eid, at a big dinner or even at events leading to a wedding.”
It’s a clever marketing decision. Lawn designs, even the most embellished ones, are now nothing new to the market. Eid collections in more formal fabric, meanwhile, manage to immediately catch women’s attention – especially since they are also ideal for the wedding season that immediately follows Eid.
Designer Maria B. can be credited for more or less pioneering this concept. Two and a half years ago, her design house launched the first M-Broidered collection before Eid and observed sales rolling in. “We also have an Eid lawn line which has its own market but there is a definite strata that wants to wear heavier clothing on Eid day or at weddings that follow. Our M-Broidered suits are absolute evening-wear, using luxe fabric like woven jacquard, digitally printed silk, tissue and velvet trimmings, nets, embroideries and Swarovski details. We started off with one collection but it has now become so popular that we have four M-Broidered line-ups, released during key sales periods throughout the course of the year.”
There are also festive lines that have just been launched by textile bigshots Al-Karam and Gul Ahmed, high-street maverick Sapphire and many more are sure to follow. Oh well, the more the merrier.
Shopping … on a full stomach
But would designers – and textile mills - benefit more were they to release collections a bit later, cashing in on the pre-Eid hype, when the nation at large fasts all day and then treats itself with shopping splurges?
Apparently, the pre-Eid hype has already begun.
Maliha Aziz, brand manager at Farah Talib Aziz, whose brand’s recent Eid exhibit of ready-to-wear in Karachi was quite a success, testifies to this. “Our customers actually prefer shopping right now, when they aren’t fasting,” she observes. “It also makes things easy for us. We aren’t fasting either and have much more energy. Our exhibit also featured evening formals that could be created on order and our craftsmen have started working on them immediately. It’s going to be a hot fasting season and we know that everything will just slow down. Even our workmen’s hours will shrink, ending well before sunset.” Following the Karachi event this past weekend, Farah Talib Aziz will be exhibiting prêt in Dubai, followed by Lahore and then, Islamabad.
And therefore, even though the festival is still more than a month away, it’s Eid shopping season. If you’re the red-blooded shopaholic woman that you claim to be, you’ve probably already stocked on some of those Eid designs that had long been tempting you on Instagram.
Beware, though: as they usually do, more embellished options are likely to crawl out of the woodworks in the next few weeks, luring you, cajoling you, to just spend another 10 grand or so. Off you’ll go, to the mall again. Like we said, the more the merrier – or is it?