nce upon a time, you could buy a three piece fabric yardage for about PKR 300; (Back in the good old days of 2005-8, you could still buy a three piece suit for PKR 600 till 2009-10; mind you, from Raja Center and Liberty market stalls if memory serves me correctly).
This seems like an old legend now. Now you won’t be able to even swing fabric for your Kameez (top) for this amount. You would need minimum of PKR 735 if its Alkaram Studio fabric, and PKR 840 if it’s Gul Ahmed. A three piece suit would cost you minimum of PKR 3000 plus – and I don’t mean designer labels. These would cost you considerably more than PKR 5000 plus.
Raja Center, Liberty market stalls and other cheap venues don’t sell fabric suits for less than PKR 1000-1200. So for generic non designer cheap printed lawn yardage you would still have to fork out PKR 1000-1200 minimum.
The tailors also have started charging a lot. You would have to shell out at least PKR 800 to 1000 to get this stitched so a cheap three piece basic shalwar suit would still cost you somewhere around PKR 2400 to 3000 when it’s finished. If you want to embellish it by adding a lace trim or fancy piping, or embroidery or some interesting finish, you might have to fork out more cash; you might end up paying PKR 3500 to 4000.
It makes me wonder how women are managing to clothe themselves in this country.
The other day, a colleague of mine told me he wished he had a relationship with Gul Ahmed (the fabric mill) so he could get some of the action for free for his wife. I advised him to start looking at the utility of separates – invest in a few good sturdy materials for the bottoms which could be worn with lots of tops for the day wear and only buy the suits for the evening wear… alternatively he could invest in Bareeze for evening wear because at least, they use good material and you could have some durable fabric to work with which might last for about good eight seasons. However, he considers Bareeze to be very expensive.
Most of these fabric yardages do not endure beyond one summer – they wear out too quickly – they might not even last ten washes. This is why a ready to wear trouser or top or woven button down shirt from an international brand feels like a bargain now. The other day, a senior colleague purchased a very nice embellished woven top from Mango for about PKR 3000 at full price while we were browsing the malls – I told her to go for it as the price seemed reasonable to me. Mango is a high street brand in UK – know what I mean?