Huma Aslam Prof. Shirin ZubairLiterary TheoryDecember6, 2017 Brand replica: an affordable substitutefor middle class.
InPakistan fashion industry is earning a huge name. In recent years clothingpractices and brand system have emerged radically in Pakistan. The core driversof this change are advancements in technology, change of social behavior ofpeople and clothing expenditures. Fashion designers of Pakistan like Yahsir Waheed, Honey Waqar, HSY,Maheen, Amir Adnan, Sonya Battla, Deepak Perwani, Karma, Noami Ansari, SaraShahid, Saman Arif (Nayna), Sana Safinas and Zara Shahjahan arebecoming creative; they understand the needs of basic production, marketing andbusiness impressions. Fashion is a business that won’t stay attractive andprofitable without a trained eye, so designers have certain unique business skillsthrough which they control multiple social classes and their basic framework.
Thesedesigners have realized the demands of the elite class and they have adaptedthemselves accordingly.BrandSystem signifies the increasing trend of people establishing inclinationtowards buying and wearing articles marketed by only the very famous designers.Nowadays, brands attract the majority of people specifically women who thinkwearing branded clothes improves their personalities and use them to look smartand up to date. Young girls are always in a trance to wear trendy new clothes.It is also part of human nature to want to appear and look smart and be appreciatedby one’s social circle. Various factors like growth in the global media andlaunching of fashion weeks have created a major influence on the mindset ofyouth. The brand system is spreading consistently, increasing its value amongpeople.
Fashioncan be defined in two different ways; it can be as simple as something you puton to make yourself feel beautiful or as dynamic as an extension of culture,time and its transformation. The latter is becoming more significant nowadays.Fashion and style are incorporated and practiced as cultural norms. People arejudged and appreciated by their clothing sense.
In Pakistan, previously people were concerned onlywith summer and winter, but the two-season cycle notion is changed by addingtwo more seasonal collections – autumn and spring. Even some brands likeNishatlinen have introduced exclusive collections like their”Sawan Collection”. A number ofexhibitions of designer lawns are organized throughout the Country and morningshows on various channels give highlights of fashion alerts which add to theoverall craze. Women have become brand obsessed.They start reserving their dresses online before the launch in market. It is normalthat one wishes to wear something that is presentable and unique, but if the salesmandeclares that stock is finished or the required dress is not available thebuyers become frustrated and start arguing with the salesman.
This obsessionshows that Pakistani women are going overboard with their obsession.Farah Zahidi Moazzam, the Features Editor of Women’s Own Magazine and writes aboutsocial issues, particularly those relating to women, explains this brandobsession in her article, “Designer Lawn – worth astampede?” as,”Lawn is pure cotton based,absorbent and ideal to be worn in our climate. There is nothing wrong withpurchasing and flaunting this beautiful fabric or indulging in a bit of retailtherapy, but given the pushing, shoving and obsessing, aren’t Pakistani womengoing a bit overboard every passing year?”Suchattitude of elite class equally affects the working class. They are servingtheir roles as “trend setters”, setting a certain craze that is followed by theworking class. Elite wants to remain modern and updated all the time. Suchtradition has completely reshaped the structure of society. Middle class treatsbrands as something of a higher order and higher value. Atradition is set out not discussing ‘what’ you are wearing but ‘who’ you arewearing.
Families on the poorest end of the middle class visit malls andshopping spaces for recreational experiences only; they rarely buy anythingfrom brands. They prefer to look for the same or similar goods in cheaperbazaars and replica markets. A comment was given by a shopkeeper Ilyas in Faisalabad which Nasir Jamal ,ajournalist explained in his archive, Lawn ‘Wars’ in Apparel Market, quoted in following words:”Cheaper imitations sell more because if adesigner lawn suit is available for Rs8,000, it’s copy is available in themarket for just Rs1,200-Rs1,500. While designer brands cater to the taste ofthe high end market, their imitations meet the needs of the low to middleincome groups.”Theruling ideology of the dominant class that wears brands, has paved a way forreplica business. Manufacturers generate a replica of designer outfits atrelatively cheaper rates.
Samar Mahmood, discussing the economic development,wrote in News LensPakistan an article named PiratedDesigns Damage Pakistan’s Fashion Icons,”Wearing a designer outfit makes one feel likeone is the cutting edge of fashion. Clothes by designers like Yahsir Waheed, HoneyWaqar, HSY, Maheen, Amir Adnan, Sonya Battla, Deepak Perwani, Karma,Noami Ansari, Sara Shahid, Saman Arif (Nayna), Sana Safinas and Zara Shahjahanhave become a fashion and status symbols. Designer wears have become a crazeand their creators are literally worshipped by fashionistas. The trend tofollow their designs and creations has given birth to two segments in society —one that buys their originals and second that prefers their replicas.” The need of a replica of branded dresses emergedbecause of class difference. Social media has equally understood its role as acatalyst in enhancing such desire in the middle class by introducing variouspirated copies of designer outfits. Samar Mahmood shared his experiences withdifferent shopkeepers who sell deals with replicas and elaborated that in hisarticle in following words:Replica merchant in Lahore’s Liberty Market RajaJaved while talking to NewsLens Pakistan says, “He is flooded with customersseeking replicas.
He just copies and prepares formal dresses on orders.Everybody does that. Customers come with photographs of designer wears theytake on cell phones at exhibitions, designer stores and get them prepared”.
Thedomestic house wife is equally attracted by media where the advertisement of’Faraz Manan’ is so captivating that they cannot resist developing interest init. Such behavior of middle class brings them with the upper class in terms oftheir growing obsession with brands and their grandeur. Their frustration andclass difference is removed on one hand, but on the other the impression of’suitability’ and ‘simplicity’ is towards its dead end. According to Althusser’s concept of Ideologyand Ideological State Apparatus, cultural ISA plays an important role where theideology of dominant class becomes operational according to their own needs anddemands.
According to him, the process of interpellation plays an importantrole in defining the roles of certain groups in a society. We encounter ourculture’s values and internalize them. Interpellation expresses the idea thatan idea is not simply yours alone, but rather an idea that has presented it toyou for you to accept.Itinvolves the conditioning of inferior class by the superior class in a way thatthey start believing that specific thought or ideology is their own.
Individuals are in a way indirectly controlled by the group that is in powerand they freely accept their subjection. The working class never bothers abouttheir needs and interests. They start imitating the brand wearing trend whichis presented to them through cultural norms and traditions. So, the individualsin a capitalistic society are interpellated by cultural ISA. The brand outfitsbecome a symbol of status and respect.Theideology of wearing designers outfits become a part of existence for the middleclass. Mohammad Saleem, in an archive named Replicas ofdesigner clothing – a bonanza for traders shared someinterviews he took with sellers of pirated copies of branded clothes, which hequotes as,”A shopkeeper, Nasir, of Wakeelan Wali Galijustifying the trade of replicas said: “We have been contributing to strengthenthe national economy. We are paying taxes of different kinds and not cheatinganyone and the government should allow sale of replicas declaring them B gradesuits.
“According to him government departments were wellaware that business of replicas was thriving in Faisalabad and other parts ofthe district. The pirated copies of brands have demised the classstruggle on one hand, but on the other replica markets are acting as symbolicresources for the construction and maintenance of identity. Domestic women waste their time in watching useless TVprograms and try to follow the same fashion or trend. They need to spendtheir time on productive activities.
Works CitedSaleem, Mohammad.”Replicas of Designer Clothing – a Bonanza for Traders.” DAWN.
COM, 15 June2016, www.dawn.com/news/1264899.”Pirated DesignsDamage Pakistan’s Fashion Icons.” News Lens Pakistan. N.
p., 16 Sept.2015. Web. 06 Dec.
2017.Uzairakhan. “Of Designer Lawn Brands and Their CheapCounterfeits.” DAWN.
COM, 24 Mar. 2012, www.dawn.com/news/705165.www.