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HOW THE DIGITAL FAST-FASHION PRACTICE IS DESTROYING THE HAND-CRAFTS OF OUR NATION

HOW THE DIGITAL FAST-FASHION PRACTICE IS DESTROYING THE HAND-CRAFTS OF OUR NATION

 The bandwagon of fast fashion that the brands are boarding to sell out every article as it is frequently consumed and resulting in increased production rate to provide for the masses with cheap prices is becoming costly for the environment itself. The trend of pret-wear in Pakistan has been a fashion revolution of recent times which benefitted all the local brands with their impressive profit sales and made the consumers more vigilant when looking for stylish wear that is trendy to keep up with. It has helped people to get free from the hassle of running to the tailors at the last moment to get something stitched. But the high production rate of these printing industries has directly affected us with their endless, seasonal collections of various brands that come out each year in Pakistan.

BIGGEST COMPETITION IS ABOUT THE FLAT SALES THESE BRANDS PUT UP TO ENTICE

Also with their short-lived garment production, the timeless quality of each garment is lost in the transition as it is only being made to be worn and then disposed of, without any attention for its care. We need to question ourselves now about how we can make our garments long-lived and treat them with care to make them last longer without ending in landfills where they remain for more than 200 years.

ALL THESE CLOTHES WILL REMAIN IN THE LAND FILL FOR MORE THAN 200 YEARS

The brands, therefore, have to keep up with their rapid sales as well, and produce more to satisfy their consumers, hence being one of the biggest and well-known fashion brands in Pakistan, some of them have clearly produced variations and downright come to this level that now they have made printed fabrics translating traditional crafts which are part of our heritage. Disappointingly, these fast fashion brands have neglected to identify the authentic, timeless quality of the hand-made fabric and started to mass-produce it, to flourish their so-called printing industry. They have blatantly printed the traditional patterns digitally and sold their articles.

Khais being a cultural craft of our nation is on the brink of extinction as people have stopped acknowledging the beauty of hand-crafted fabrics and began affection for machine-made products. This has resulted in the downfall of the artisans’ community who only strive based on providing their craft to the consumers, but as the digitally printed fabrics are comparatively cheaper in prices, people are not paying attention to these details.

KHAIS PATTERN PRINTED DIGITALLY

HAND-WOVEN KHAIS

GUL-AHMED’S WINTER MULTANI KHAIS COLLECTION 2020

These crafts belong to these local brands as much as they belong to anybody in this nation, but for those artisans who are the main reason behind providing us with these timeless pieces, it is all a destructive commotion. As to how are those brands taking inspiration from those same artisans and their crafts, but not acknowledging the consequences of their fast-fashion production which will affect the craftsmen? Because mainly their mass production will cater to the market at very cheap prices, compared to what the genuine worth of the craft is.

ARTISANS WORKING ON HAND-LOOMS FOR THEIR CRAFT

Another example is the craft Susi, which is also a traditional craft of our nation. The hand-made craft is nearly lost these days as people have stopped admiring the craftsmanship of these artisans who spend days just to produce one product and pay attention to all the intricate details which the fast-fashion models do not consider. They have even digitalized the Hurmich hand-embroidery which is done with immense hard work by the artisans. These crafts are the link to our roots and if we do not acknowledge their importance and appreciate them as an individual; we will lose the skills of these artisans and will only be left with image documentation of this work.

SUSI PATTERN PRINTED DIGITALLY

HAND-WOVEN SUSI FABRIC

GUL-AHMED’S WINTER SUSI COLLECTION 2020

DIGITALLY PRINTED HURMICH EMROIDERY MOTIFS

HURMICH HAND-EMROIDERY

GUL-AHMED’S WINTER SUSI COLLECTION 2020

Another craft that has been blatantly digitalized is the Kantha embroidery, which is also a timeless age-old craft part of our heritage that depicts the beauty of craft skill performed by human hands.

KANTHA EMBROIDERY DIGITALLY PRINTED

HAND-EMBROIDERED KANTHA STITCHES

GENERATION’S KAANTHA PRINTED TUNIC

Ikat is another age-old craft of our cultural identity that represents the hand skills of those artisans who have been practising this craft for ages and have learnt it from their elders. Below is another example of how brands have digitalized the design of Ikat on their articles just to sell the look at a cheap price compared to what the laborious craft is actually worth.

IKAT PATTERN DIGITALLY PRINTED

HAND-DYED AND WOVEN IKAT

KHAADI X ESRA COLLECTION 2020

Even though these crafts are there to inspire the people but we have stopped appreciating their true beauty in regards to what is being easily available to us by mass production. Therefore, in this modern age where everything is being relied upon by machines, we need to at least accept the responsibility as a nation to cater to those communities that still appreciate these crafts and want to carry on their legacy for their future generations and not let the craft die.

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