LUCKNOW: Struggling to find an authentic Pakistani long kurta with loose palazzos of her desired pattern and fabric before Eid, Hera Amjad was ecstatic when she found multiple options of the dress on a WhatsApp group.
“After 30 days of hunting across the city’s markets, I found my dream dress. To my surprise, I found it on a WhatsApp group my friend added me to, about a week ago. I was spoilt for choice,” said Hera.
Ahead of Eid, many women from the city have turned entrepreneurs and changed their smartphones into shopping portals. With catalogues of designer outfits from Gujarat, Delhi, Mumbai and even Pakistan, they are doing brisk business.
After establishing contacts with dealers from different places, these businesswomen create WhatsApp groups and upload catalogues of suits on the messaging application. After receiving orders from group members, they call for the dress from its location and deliver it to their customers.
Narhi resident Rozi Rizvi, who started such a WhatsApp group which now has 70 members, said, “I transformed WhatsApp into a showroom since it is the most common platform to contact friends and relatives. I offer designer dresses from Pakistan to my customers.”
Another entrepreneur from the city, Nahid Khan, said, “I post the catalogue pictures on my WhatsApp group and order the selected ones from Pakistan. As WhatsApp doesn’t have any advertisements popping up, unlike other online shopping portals, buyers don’t have any distraction.”
Besides palazzos, shararas and long kurtis, Pakistan’s chikan work is also attracting young buyers from the city.
Women buyers say that there are certain designs which are not available in open market and other online outlets.
Rania Ejaz, who is hooked onto the latest trend, said, “As always, long kurtas continue to woo Lucknow women. However, chikan suits from Pakistan are more popular this Eid.”
Realizing that Pakistani clothes have now become a fashion quotient for Lucknowites, Ambreen Athar Siddiqui said, “With Eid-ul-Fitr coming up, I have to order 5-6 Pakistani suits for my customers on a daily basis. To make their shopping experience better, I also provide free shipping to group members across India.”
Despite being slightly expensive for the average customer, Pakistani suits uploaded on WhatsApp are sold out within a few days. It’s great for people like Shimaila Fatima, who works at an MNC and hardly gets time to shop. “Selecting a dress for Eid is the most time-consuming task. For me, a simple WhatsApp group comes as a boon. Now, I can shop sitting at home.”