Tailored dresses a hard sell in tough times

Many people opt for ready-to-wear, while others go for branded dresses

Ehtesham Mufti April 19, 2022
A man selects a dress for his child at a shop in the Saddar area of Karachi. Tailors claim they are losing business to readymade garments manufacturers. Photo: Jalal Qureshi/Express


The Ramazan and Eid seasons have not been so good for tailors in the past two years due to Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns across the country when consumers opted to buy ready-to-wear clothes especially shalwar kameez and kurtas.

Although SOP restriction have now been lifted this Ramazan, most people still avoid the trouble to get a tailor made dress, cloth vendors and tailor told The Express Tribune during a survey of tailoring shops.

Inflation is the reason people skip the hassle of buying cloth and getting it stitched from a tailor, when they can get a dress at a much lesser cost. Besides the cost of cloth the charges of tailors have also gone up, market people said.

A tailor, Rao Muhammad Younis, said that the volume of work is down by 70 per cent. He attributed loss of business to increase in prices of cloth, raw materials and labour charges.

Younis said that in the past, people used to get three to four shalwar suits stitched before Ramazan whereas tailors used to close the bookings by the 10th of Ramazan, but the booking in the current Ramazan is still on.

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He said that a skilled worker in a tailoring shop is capable of stitching five to seven suits in 12 to 14-hour shift in a day and is paid 40 per cent of the total charges. The worker is also paid for his meals on daily basis. Moreover, the trend of skilled tailors coming from various areas of Punjab to Karachi for Eid season is no more. Tailors in Punjab's small towns head to Lahore, Faisalabad and Sialkot to make quick bucks in Eid season, rather than coming to Karachi.

Younis said that to save time and labour on shalwar qameez suits, many tailors outsource stitching of shalwars to home-based women workers. The master tailor cuts the shalwar and sends pieces for stitching. Women working at homes can put together almost two dozen pre-cut shalwars, that too on competitive rates.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2022.


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