The Sana Safinaz Lawn Advertisement Reflects a Much Bigger Problem


‘Sana Safinaz Lawn’ a rallying cry for local fashionistas, and bargain hunters. The brand has been perched atop the local fashion scene since its inception. It has also been rather elitist, racist and tone-deaf for a clothing line. In 2012, they used coolie workers as props for their advertisement. In 2018, they stepped their game up and relegated an entire culture to this status.

Now, because internet, some of you may feel that I am making a big deal out of nothing. To these people I say, “good morning, sunshine.”

Yes, wake up and smell the bigotry. This right here, is not an ‘honest mistake’. It isn’t a case of ‘our heart was in the right place, we just couldn’t execute it’. This, right here, is proof that Pakistani fashion has some bizarre world views. And they need to be challenged. Now.


Sana Safinaz Lawn; The Saga Continues  

What is perhaps slightly different, about this recent offence, is the offender. This isn’t some up and coming designer, who missed ‘experimental’ and went straight for ‘idiotic’. It isn’t some obscure photographer, who wanted to ‘transform’ his model, but didn’t question what he was transforming her into.

A ‘what the hell’ that is.

This is the crème de la crème of local high society. Yes, that rich aunt with the fabulous brooches? This is where she gets her pajamas from.

In fact, these ladies have been a part of the game for longer than most of us have been alive. So, you would think that they’d, I don’t know, think. And I know, ‘there’s no way of knowing who made this creative decision, benefit of the doubt. Blah, blah, blah.’ Listen; if your names are on the tag, then guess whose head is on the chopping block?

This is doubly true when your brand has been less than smart in the past. 2012, coolie workers carrying Louis Vuitton, let them eat cake; ring a bell?

I mean, get with the times ladies. Or at least, learn from your own mistakes.


How to Diversity in Fashion

Now, lest some internet idiot accuse me of not wanting black peoples represented in Pakistani fashion, let’s talk diversity. And how, Pakistani fashion doesn’t have any. I mean I can obliterate Sana Safinaz Lawn 2018 for this, dare I say, harebrained campaign.

But it isn’t the problem, not really. The Sana Safinaz Lawn fiasco is a symptom; not the disease.

But, to be clear, I am not saying that because of the difficult terrain, Pakistani fashion shouldn’t walk this route. On the contrary, I want diversity, in every way, shape and form. And, I want it celebrated.

And to help out anyone who still thinks the campaign was inspired, here are some examples of how you can do diversity.

Firstly, if you are going to include the people of a race or culture, celebrate them. The way Rizwan Beyg did, when he featured stunning South African models Alice Rowlands and  Palesa in his show.



Pakistan is quite uncomfortable with its racial history. So, to see black beauty really celebrated by a major brand, that’s quite special.


Or, you can go the Generation route, and celebrate a different kind of diversity.

Can we all take a minute to appreciate how unabashed, and lovely this is?


Some Perspective

Now, to be fair, while twitter has been set ablaze, I don’t know what that’ll accomplish. See, I will never buy anything remotely related to Sana Safinaz Lawn. But, I’m not really their customer.

I never had the money to wear one of their pieces anyway. Nor do I have the gal, to spend my tuition on trendy prints.

But, if enough of us talk about it, I am hopeful that we can exact change. The examples mentioned above are proof that there have been some reasons to be happy. They have been few, and far between. But they’re there. Also, some of us may in fact go on to launch our own brands, so for them, this discussion is imperative.

Music: Feelin Good Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

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