Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 120: Jeans for Pakistan

OYLPA Day 120: Jeans for Pakistan, originally uploaded by klodhie.
With the date of departure for Pakistan set, I immediately hit preparations mode today. It's been just over 6 years since my last visit, which is far too long a time not to see family and the motherland; therefore, I am extremely excited =)

Part of the excitement of going to Pakistan, for me, used to be looking forward to wearing comfortable shalwar kameezes all the time and everywhere, because everyone else would be wearing them too. This time around, though, the cultural climate has changed drastically, and I haven't figured out whether I think it's for the worse (actually, in a way I do think it's for the worse). From all that I've been hearing from family living there and from friends who have recently visited, wearing the traditional shalwar kameez in Lahore or Karachi would be like wearing a t-shirt of wolves howling at the moon, mom jeans, and a fanny pack here. No no.

But not only has everyday-wear fashion in Pakistan taken up the "no shalwar" rule, but even "desi pants/pajamas" would label you as "behind the times." Folks, it's apparently all jeans, jeans jeans! That, and if you absolutely must, wear circus tent-sized trousers underneath a circus tent of a kameez - well, I'd call it a sack really - and further yet, I believe they've surpassed even that fad and have taken away pants altogether, so that you go around in just the floor-length circus tent, and I'm hoping at least a pair of leggings.

Last I heard though, a new fad for desi-wear is in (since word of it has reached the west coast here, I'm assuming it's been out of style in Pakistan for at least a month now): short frocks and thung/churidaar pajamas. If I'm not mistaken, I thought this style had already come and gone a year ago with the longer peshwaas, but I suppose shortening the top above the knees makes a huge difference.

At the end of the day, I know I couldn't keep up with the desi style fads, nor do I currently have any desire (or ability) to do so. What interests me about the whole thing is the quickness with which non-western countries pick up western fashion and styles, while the positive and progressive aspects of western society (like common courtesy and politeness) are left behind. At the same time, though, that statement is based on my experience of Pakistan 6 years back and through relatives and friends since then. Going there and talking with people may prove a quite different reality.

I do see, though, some really awesome signs of individual Pakistanis beginning to pick up and expand far beyond western ideas, especially since the internet and Facebook have become so readily accessible in the country. Check this out (some sweet tees!):

Uth Oye! - Cause based clothing
"What’s not to like about an initiative that provides free electricity to a remote village in the Thar desert? Read on to see how we helped brighten up the lives of the people of Oan."

No comments:

Post a Comment