A flurry of colors were splayed out on a picturesque garden by the sea at Karachi’s Beach Luxury hotel. Lawn launch parties do tend to be colorful affairs. Speaking from the experience of someone who has been attending lawn launch events for years and years, the events seem to herald the coming of spring. Off go the shawls, the jackets, the boots and out comes the lawn, in varied hues, layered with swathes of embroideries, coupled with silk or chiffon, sometimes both.
At Ansab Jahangir’s debut lawn launch event, the difference lay within the crowd in attendance. There was the usual smattering of celebrities and media personnel but there was also an enthusiastic constant flow of long-term clients, women who regularly purchased pret and luxury pret from the label and were now making a beeline for the lawn.
Pre-booking for the suits had started and evidently, the collection was already all sold out.
“We did make a lot of quantity but just did not expect this sort of response,” Ansab Jahangir told me, beaming.
This meant that all of us wearing suits from the collection at the launch, were wearing limited edition, sold-out suits. That’s the kind of information that usually just hypes up demand for a lawn brand. While researching the market for lawn for the countless analytical stories that I have written on the topic, shopkeepers have often told me that customers demand the ‘hit’ suit, the one that’s out of stock. They’re even willing to pay extra for it.
But the market is very competitive and it isn’t easy to sell out completely. The fact that Ansab Jahangir has managed to sell well, with her very first luxury lawn line, is quite an achievement. The lawn suits came with all the many pieces encompassing the lawn jigsaw puzzle: great fabric, embroideries, formal chiffon and silk dupattas. The Ansab Jahangir ‘touch’ was also visibly there, hitherto only available in the designer’s pret and formal-wear ranges: a light pink with a lacy border running through it, organza panels worked with pretty florals, a white shirt with pink florals gloriously tapering down its length, a classic white on white and a range of deeper hues; magentas, blues and a black, twinkling with sequins.
The suits could all be seen at the launch, worn by Ansab as well as many of the guests. Some of them were also set up for display on mannequins placed at the very center of the garden.
The All Girl Band played live music and adding an extra spurt of excitement was the presence of Ayeza Khan, the brand’s longtime muse. Dressed in a pretty yellow lawn suit, Ayeza was perpetually surrounded by fans wanting to take pictures with her. Rivaling her in popularity was Sheheryar Munawar – not wearing the lawn, of course! – who had come to extend his support to Ansab, an old family friend.
Celebrity attendance, however, can be observed at most launch events. Customers won’t invest into designs that they don’t like, regardless of whether a hugely popular actress is wearing them. And while Ansab Jahangir’s brand owes a lot of its mileage to celebrity collaborations, there is much more to her ongoing success story. Starting off merely six years ago with an online presence, the brand has consistently built its market with regular seasonal collections and participation in exhibits. Foregoing the typical fashion week route, Ansab has chosen to make the Internet her billboard and invest in regular marketing. Slowly, surely, her business has grown to now, this crowded, exuberant lawn launch, attended not just by media but by actual regular customers and with the collection quickly selling out.
What next? With Ramzan slotted for April this year, shopping season is in full swing already. A luxury pret Ramzan and Eid collection is currently in the works. Ansab once said to me that she chose to run her business at a pace that she could manage, operating according to a roadmap that she had earmarked for herself. The route, it seems, is spiraling upwards!
Sheheryar Munawar and us twinning (tripling?) in matching lawn! That’s me, with Alizeh Pasha and Mushk Kaleem