Yawn at lawn?

The Express Tribune explores why some designers steer clear of exploring the popular textile.

Saadia Qamar February 21, 2015
Designers, such as Faraz Manan, have opted for Bollywood celebrities to be the face of their lawn. PHOTO: PUBLICITY


Although lawn has drawn the attention of many designers over the years, some continue to steer clear of exploring the popular textile. With those who have tried their hand at lawn considering it as a lucrative business, it’s interesting to see how many designer heavyweights have wilfully kept away from coming up with lawn collections. The Express Tribune talks to a few such designers and other stakeholders to find out why they haven’t jumped, or continued to stay on the lawn bandwagon.

For Shehla Chatoor, who has been involved in the local fashion scene for the past two decades, taking up lawn may hamper her host of other projects. “Although I was and still am offered lawn projects, I shy away from them, as I do not want to neglect my other lines.” The designer, who also makes shoes and accessories, recently came up with a line of semi-precious jewellery. “I think lawn and prêt are an amazing way to reach out to the masses and I have always been interested in them,” she says, adding, “I wanted to have a strong team before I take up another project, as I don’t want to neglect my bridals, trousseau and luxury prêt lines.”

Wanting to control design aspects at her time, pace and terms, she states, “I have always understood that lawn and prêt have their practical limitations and, to do something unique, one has to give it a lot of time, which I did not have.” On whether her fans and clients urge her to tap into the lawn market, she says, “My clients always ask me, but they don’t push me. They come to me to get something exclusive, intricate and detailed. I do a lot of cottons and prints for my luxury prêt and have done that for years.”

Collaborations between designers and textile giants for lawn manufacturing have become common in Pakistan. “There are a lot of textile giants in Pakistan but I have never thought about who will be a good fit for my brand. I guess, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it,” says Chatoor about whether she has considered joining hands with a textile brand.

Designer Kamiar Rokni, who has tried his hand at lawn once, shares, “We collaborated with Bonanza three years ago, so we have been in the business once.” Today, he finds the market overdone by designers, “The market seems saturated and we have not found the right partner.” He adds, “Our clientele is mostly for bridal and trousseau. We are [still] open to working with any textile giant with financial and business acumen who offers the right deal.”

Farrukh Mian, CEO of Textile Links, who provides consultancy on business to various firms, believes, “There has been uncertainty in the fashion scene for the past two months, mainly since December 2014. Winter, coupled with uncertainty, led to even lesser designers opting for lawn this year.” Mian is of the opinion, “The lawn business has been filtered. Investors switch the designers who don’t work on their asserted model (of designing).” He adds, “Previously, we saw that 108 lawn brands brought forth their lawn collections in Pakistan. However, today things are different. Lawn will not begin pouring in the market before mid-February or early March this year.” According to Mian, around 30 designer lawn brands will be churned out this time around.

Designers coming up with lawn collections this year include SanaSafinaz, Asim Jofa, Nadia Hussain, Umar Sayeed, Deepak Perwani, Karma, Sania Maskatiya and Zainab Chhotani from Karachi. From Lahore, HSY, Mehdi and Ali Xeeshan are among the notable designers releasing their lawn collections. The textile mills that will put forth lawn are Gul Ahmed, Orient, al Karam and Lala, among others.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 22nd, 2015.

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