Is the humble lungi making an expensive comeback?
Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail| 03 February 2018| 16 Jumadul Ula 1439
Fashion trends come and go… we often find things from our parents and grandparents days being revamped and introduced to fashion all over again.
Is the lungi one of those fashion items?
Depending on where you’re from, a lungi is either what you’re wearing right now, what your dad and grandfather used to wear, or the thing you had to sport as a tourist to cover your legs when visiting some Asian tourist spots.
But the lungi – or lungyi, longyi, sarong etc – has now found its way on to the High Street.
The lungi is a tube-shaped piece of cloth wrapped around the waist and tied together at the front.
It’s been a veteran garment, mainly for men, in many parts of South and South East Asia, East Africa and the Arab world for generations.
The loose, light fit is perfect for warmer climates, while the length keeps the wearer modest and presentable. Often coming in a chequered design, lungis can be made of varying quality fabrics.
So how much are these loose flowy skirts selling for?
Now global fashion brand Zara has started selling something remarkably similar to the fashion staple, for the price, in the UK at least, of £69 ($98).
The popular Spanish retail chain has been slammed for cultural appropriation as it is selling a traditional lungi/ dhoti for such a whopping price.
The garment is usually worn by men in South Asia.
Zara has introduced the brown flowy garment for women under the label of ‘check mini skirt’. An actual lungi costs as low as £3.00. It is made of polyester and viscose and, unlike its inspiration, is dry-clean only.
Zara describes the garment as ‘flowing skirt with draped detail in the front. Front slit detail at the hem. Zip fastening in the back hidden along the seam.’
This has caused an uproar on social media and many users have slammed Zara for using the lungi/ dhoti as an inspiration and putting an expensive price tag on it.
Alright, there’s a zip involved, which does elevate it slightly beyond the old school lungi, but there seems universal agreement on Twitter that… it’s a lungi.
So let’s think about it…The skirt on the website costs around Rs 4,990, while the lungi in India sells at the starting price of Rs 90
Many comments online have pointed out their surprise at finding the item in the Zara catalogue.
There’s also a lot of amusement at a garment most people associate with their uncles and fathers being marketed as women’s fashion – and at a amazingly steep price at that.
But others are upset there’s not even a mention of the world lungi (or its equivalents) nor a reference to its origins.
Other comments accuse global fashion brands of producing their clothes for pennies in poor Asian countries, and say they now are even taking design and fashion along with the profit.
The blend of ridicule and rage also has a few asides about how the lungi debate might be wrapped into a much bigger topic, of whether it’s ever right for companies to take titbits of other cultures and sell them for a vastly inflated price elsewhere.
Extracts – bbc News| en.dailypakistan.com.pk