I love Pakistani art and crafts. There is always an abundance of colours and patterns in our wares – be in fashion, accessories, wall hangings, framed mirrors or ceramic bowls. So when Fattu suggested that she has a place to take me with ethnic wares, I got very excited. Our tastes are very similar when it comes to fashion and accessories. If we were similar sizes, I reckon we would wear a lot of similar things (but I don’t think I would look particularly fetching in a peach peplum top from Generation in size 18).
Anyway. After TDF Ghar, we took a cab to PITH. It is on Nishat Commercial in phase 6, and the closest landmark is Jucy Lucy Burgers (I have never been, so I don’t know if it is deserving of its reputation or not). It is a treasure box – from homewares to clothing, accessories, textile and cutlery, there is so much to indulge in.
The man behind the store, Sajid Dadabhoy, works with local craftsmen in suburbs and villages. He handpicks the wares, transports them to Karachi, and displays them at PITH. We didn’t have a whole lot of conversation but I remember him saying, “someone has to, otherwise this craft will die”. It stuck, and I agree. We have craftsmen around the country, producing some of the most stunning fashion and household items, but many don’t see the light of day or shelf space in any multi-brand store. At the very most, they become suppliers for renowned brands, which neither pay them their due share nor share the glory that their designs deserve.
I wish it were easier for us urban monkeys in the concrete jungle to access these craftsmen in rural areas. There is currently no such infrastructure but the good news is that there are enterprises like PITH that offer them a platform to sell their craft, earn a livelihood, and keep the craft alive.
I am a putty in the hands of a seller in a store like that, so I left with quite a few things. I bought a tray (which they converted into a wall hanging on the spot but adding a couple of screws at the back), a cushion cover, a ceramic square plate/tray/dish, couple of fridge magnets with local pop culture slogans (dekh maga pyaar se type) for myself and my friends, and a hoodie with truck art print on the back. I could have bought a few more things, like bowls from Hala, but I was didn’t have a whole lot of space in my luggae and I feared that if they broke enroute, it would break my heart too.
If you are in Karachi, please do visit PITH and other such places. Our art and crafts are truly magnificent, but they will die a natural death if there isn’t enough support from people like you and me.
And while we are on a subject of ethnic wares, I have another recommendation for you. I don’t know the name of the store but it is the basement of Dolmen Mall on Tariq Road, across Mango. I ALWAYS pay them a visit and buy a few pieces of jewellery. This time, I also bought a key holder for our new apartment. If anyone knows the name, please do share in the comments below.
Lastly, I have an idea. If I were able to sell such pieces in Germany (and probably across Europe), would you buy it? This could be perfect for me as I LOVE our local crafts, I have an eye for good pieces (or so I have been told) and I can facilitate transportation and sales in Europe. Would you buy it? Here are a few pieces to give you an idea of what it looks like. I am more inclined towards accessories and homewares.