Tailors stop taking new orders
Mohammad Saleem Shahid
Tailors are an indispensable part of our lives. Their demand grows especially around Eid. And now when the Eidul Fitr is about a week away, they have stopped taking fresh orders.
Taimur, a tailor doing brisk business in Commercial Market, Satellite Town, said that he has committed not to take extra work during Eid season for he believes in having ‘satisfied customers’ rather than ‘disgruntled ones’. “We are not robots but we work like robots to meet our deadlines. Yet at the slightest pretext, women lambaste us with their complaints and think that we have an attitude problem,” he said.
“Tailoring is not just cutting, sewing and stitching -- it is an art. We keep ourselves abreast of the latest trends and also guide our clients," says Khalid Mehmood, a tailor at Markaz G-9.
Manzoor Shah, another tailor in Markaz G-9, said that by now he has booked over 100 dresses for stitching. “We will have to work overtime to finish the job by Chand Raat,” he added. Though ready-to-wear garments are available in the market, the practice of wearing clothes of one's own design remains popular, Manzoor said, while glancing at a rack scattered with unstitched cloth.
Shops selling ready-to-wear clothes are attracting big crowds, as traditionally people wear new outfits on Eid. Eid is incomplete without new clothes and shoes.
"Unstitched suits are not being bought any more as no tailor is ready to take fresh stitching orders. People are buying readymade clothes for Eid as well as for the subsequent wedding season. The highest number of weddings in Pakistan takes place after Eidul Fitr," said Rana Arif, who deals in both unstitched cloth and readymade garments at Jinnah Super Market.
Changing tastes and lifestyles means more demand for readymade garments. But in the Eid season, the tailoring business also booms and tailors profits increase six to seven times as compared to other months.
“I am so busy with the orders that I am thinking of hiring more hands to help me out. And I better do it immediately because I am expecting some desperate last-minute orders to trickle anytime,” says Nadir Ali, a tailor at Melody Market.
Nadir laments that the tailoring business is shrinking in the country because of the easy availability of low-price readymade garments. The families, which used to order two to three suits for Eid, are now ordering only one or two suits for the festival. A few years ago, there used to be a rush of people requesting to stitch dresses before Eid, he recalled.
Tailors in middle class localities are turning away customers because they are completely booked. There is less pressure in upscale neighbourhoods though due to the presence of designer boutiques.
The stitching charges differ from place to place, however, they have not gone up that much as compared to last year. In middle class neighbourhoods, tailors charge Rs200 for a suit, but they charge Rs300 to Rs500 in posh localities of twin cities. Nonetheless, original stitching cost for a suit comes to about Rs65 to Rs75 at shops in middle class areas, including the labour charges and material.
Razzaq, who runs stitching business at his house in Sadiqabad, charges Rs200 per suit. He earns Rs30 to Rs40 per dress after labour, electricity and other utilities, he claimed. He pays his worker Rs50 for a simple and Rs80 for a complex design. He is still receiving orders as he has around 10 workers, four trainees and three expert cutters, including him.