As summer draws near in Pakistan, a fierce war over domestic cloth and garments markets is being waged all over the country.
In mega metropolises like Karachi and Lahore, huge roadside billboards of lawn brands dominate city skylines; evidence of the aggressive advertisement campaigns employed by major players to capture domestic markets. The textile, popular among women in the summer season, has suddenly become a ‘hot’ commodity.
Designer lawns produced by the likes of Deepak Parwani, HSY, Kayseria, etc are in huge demand in domestic markets, as well as affluent segments of overseas Pakistani communities in the Middle East, Europe and the Americas.
According to London-based Edbiz Consulting — who have an office in Islamabad — the estimated annual size of the lawn market in Pakistan is no less than Rs50 billion. This makes it one of the most demanded seasonal consumer items every year.
Given its immense popularity, the Pakistani lawn fabric can be developed as a major export item on the back of strong domestic consumption. The production of lawn can be used as an engine of growth for Pakistani textiles.
It would be a great help to the industry if the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) commissions a global campaign to identify summer fabrics in other parts of the world, for which the lawn can be substituted. In tropical countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, baju kurung for women is very similar to the Pakistani shalwar kameez.
Exploring these markets for exports will ensure continuous economic activity for lawn manufacturers in Pakistan whose products are merely a summer attraction. Edbiz Consulting projects that targeting three additional markets -Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam — can easily double the size of the market for Pakistani summer lawns.
Research should be sponsored and Pakistani lawns promoted in international trade. Major players in the market must contribute to a research and development fund set up under Aptma. Also, trade fairs and exhibitions showcasing the fabric must be organised in targeted countries, especially Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam.