Tuesday, February 15, 2011

They’re armed, dangerous and crazy about lawn!

Winter is nearly over in Karachi and I can already see billboards of Iman Ali modeling for lawn.

This is just the beginning of the lawn madness in Karachi.

Every year, designers hold exhibitions selling overpriced lawn where mobs of women claw and push each other to get the best pieces.

Even if the prints are a big disappointment, women will still wait in long lines at exhibition venues.

Aunties gone wild

I made the mistake of attending one Gul Ahmed lawn exhibition. While I was standing at the counter, a middle-aged aunty came and pushed me from behind because I had asked the salesman to take out a piece that she liked. I yelped in pain as the counter’s edge jabbed into my stomach, and the piece dropped from my clutches. The aunty proceeded to snatch it saying it was hers.

At the Sana Safinaz exhibition last year, women started gathering outside the venue before the gates opened so they could be the first in line. My colleagues had actually taken the day off so they could be among the first few to buy the prints.

Shop till you drop – literally

I have heard stories about women who make their maids stand in line at payment counters while they select prints; there was even an incident where the organisers had to arrange for first aid due to claustrophobia and lack of oxygen.

At the Sana Safinaz exhibition, prints were sold out by 5pm on the first day; some women had bought three pieces of the same design and even asked salesmen for their cell phone numbers to check if new stock might arrive the next day.

Eye witnesses have told me that when the gates at the exhibition venue eventually closed, women banged their fists and tried to break down the gate. Eventually, a police mobile had to be called in to control the mob.

Such behaviour is shocking, especially when it comes from educated women who are probably in their late 40′s. Women who come back disappointed and agitated vouch never to go to an exhibition again. But one such lady confessed that when she learnt that fresh stock had arrived, she sheepishly went back and returned victorious, with a new purchase.

What are we paying for?

To me, some brands look like they are promoting the model and makeup artist rather than the fabric (Iman Ali’s provocative poses, anyone?)

This year, high end brands like HSY, Nomi Ansari and Nadya Hussain will be holding exhibitions. If poor quality fabric can cause a riot at the Marriot just because of a sexy billboard, I wonder how many women will flock to these exhibitions that promise the best quality.

When I look at women at these exhibitions, I wonder how people can say that Pakistan is a poor country. Let’s see how many ambulances, cat fight and first aid kits this year’s lawn exhibitions bring to us.

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