As soon as the summers begin, the first thing that women think of getting their hands on is lawn. The unbearable weather, especially in Karachi, has urged ladies to dent their pockets and go an extra mile in order to purchase lawn that is actually comfortable to wear. However, the designer lawn craze comes as something entirely different from the needs. Designer lawns indeed have become more of a status symbol than a means of covering bodies with something resistant to weather. I remember the days when lawn used to be advertised on the basis of their quality and durability. The ads used to have descriptions regarding the stiffness of lawn, guarantees on the colours – indeed the entire lawn campaign was based on quality. However now, thanks to the designers, the lawn business needs to offer nothing like that in order to sell their stuff. A pretty model and highly charged prices work wonders for them under their established label.

The chaos that happened recently at the sale on outlets in Sapphire and Agha Noor this year triggered me – what is going to happen this year at lawn sales? However, I was schooled by the lovely ladies who initiated the black market business of lawn mafia by purchasing their desired hit codes on double the price. All I could figure out was this: when sellers saw a design being highly in demand, they simply limit its supply and then sell it in black in order to earn double the profits. The best example is the recent hit Elan code, which is being demanded almost on every buy and sell online platform, and is available at almost double the amount i.e. PKR 16,000. When I went to ask people as to what was so special about this piece that everyone is ready to invest Rs 16,000 on a three piece lawn, they said ‘it belongs to Elan’. The same case was with other brands too; just because it came from a designer brand, women now have started believing that it is worth investing fortunes in. Forget about the quality, the durability, all that the women these days need to know before buying a lawn is the name of designer brand. Indeed endorsing a suit that is already being sold in black at kitty parties is what high profile women have started taking as necessary to complement their standards.

There is a serious need at the moment for responsible authorities to look into the matter. The more the lawn is becoming a need, the more it is going out of the reach of common people. The designers in lust of raising their profit margins for the upcoming year have got into this new black business, making a three piece suit something to die for. Where women at times used to hesitate wearing the same prints and would often discard it if they saw someone else owing it too, the new trend is to get one’s hand on every hot seller of the season. From Zara Shah Jahan this year, followed by Elan and then the Sana Safinaz Muzlin collection, all the lawn hot sellers have either inculcated a feeling of superiority for those who can afford and a feeling of inferiority in those who cannot. It’s high time people understood that a piece of cloth should remain a piece of cloth only. Raising standards of mentally by earning some intelligence and value for money would be better than raising standards through designer labels. The harsh reality is that the looks will remain same, no matter if the person invests PKR 16,000 buying designer lawn from a black market, spends a day in queue to purchase it at the normal price or feeling content settling with the replica. However, the satisfaction of not running behind the brands might bring some extra glow on the faces of distressed ladies.