The timeless cotton chikankari kurta is the Pakistani version of the classic white button down – an elegant staple that we never seem to tire of. The subtle chikankari work on fresh pastel colours of muslin originated in the culturally rich city of Lucknow, apparently during the Mughal era, and still remains a summer favourite in Pakistan. Whether it’s a day wedding, a Sunday brunch or another day at work, chikankari is always the perfect choice!
While scouring Karachi for chikankari, we found out that there are two types: cotton casuals that are usually worn in the daytime and a more formal range which includes kamdani or gotawork.
Women’s Own has the break down of the top four go-to places to buy your chikankari:
1. Fashion Diva
This spot is a celebrity favourite.SharmilaFarooqiis a regular client, and apparently a big spender whenever she visits the studio. The brand originated in Bombay in 2001, and still creates everything in their Bombay workshop. They opened a franchise in Karachi six years ago at Emerald Tower. In the past few years, FDC has become a reliable place to purchase different varieties of best quality chikankari.
Shop location: Chikankari Studio at Emerald Tower Karachi (1st floor right next to Al-Karam studios)
If you’re a chikankari fan and haven’t heard of Niazi, you’ve been living under a rock! As a pioneer of chikankari retail in Karachi,MrNiazihas become a household name in the city.Thanks to his elegant designs and top qualitykurtas, all the top Pakistani designers from Umar Sayeed toBuntoKazmisource chikankarifrom him.
Niazi’s cotton chikankhari ranges from Rs4,000 to Rs5,000 while his semi-formals and formals can be anywhere betweenRs30,000 andRs150,000. We recommendbecoming a loyal Niazi customer for the perks: get outfit for fashion emergency and pay later.
Shop location: 8-C, 22nd Street, off Khayaban-e-Tanzeem, Phase 5, DHA
3. Ghosia Collection
The best time to visitGhosia Market is around 1pm when the late afternoon rush hasn’t kicked in. GC is a great place to get good deals on your chikankari, mainly because you can bargain here. GC has its chikankari vendors in Lucknow and Karachi, and the local Karachi chikanari is cheaper than the Indian one. The only issue one may face when purchasing something from GC is that the quality is somewhat questionable: the fabric may not be pure and there is no guarantee thatthe kamdani work will not go black. Don’t forget to get a return guarantee on your purchases.
Shop location:Shop 3-A,Ghosia Center
4. Prince and Pashmina
Prince and Pashmina is a cute little shoplocated on the ground floor of Gulf Shopping Mall. Why do we love this place? The staff are friendly, and their chikankarikurtas are priced atonly Rs1,800 a piece (before bargaining!) The only downside is that they only sell cottons so you won’t get those same great deals in semi-formals and formals.
Shop Location: Gulf Shopping Mall, Teen Talwar