A couple of days before 14th August, every brand under the sun was sporting a sale. I hate the fish market vibes that sales bring with them to the most civilized of malls (call me snooty), therefore I logged onto the four five sites I am familiar with to see what could be made mine. I was either too late and the product was already out of stock, or they weren’t in my size.
Facebook must have figured out I was on the hunt for something because Behbud’s ad popped up in my newsfeed with none other than a kurta with elephants block-printed on them! This pretty thing named Royal Sawari was priced around Rs. 2500 or so.
There is this thing I do while shopping online – I don’t buy things right away, I let it simmer in mind for a day or two. If I forget about it, blah, who cares? Mustn’t have liked the product enough to remember it for beyond a couple of hours. But if the thought of it haunts me for more than two days, bam! That’s when I know I’m going to buy it. (I read about this delayed shopping tactic online and it has worked out great for me.)
I don’t forget anything with elephants on it. So the next morning when I checked the website, the kurta had joined the ranks of those on sale and if that wasn’t a sign from God, I don’t know what was.
When I got the kurta in hand, I was a teeny bit underwhelmed. However when I wore it to work, it was an entirely different story. The block print and the fabric are quintessential of Hala and I fell in love with the kurta the moment I put it on. It is so frikkin soft! It’s an agarkha cut with 3/4th kurta sleeves making the airiness of the garment rather enjoyable. I had a Marilyn Monroe moment while Shoaib was taking my picture; qualified as the best kurta ever for summer right there and then.
Because I ordered the kurta from their website, I went through their entire catalogue and discovered that the clothes are crafted and stitched by women who have been provided training opportunities by Behbud the NGO. As the website says, “The Behbud Industrial Vocational Center in Rawalpindi provides opportunities to the thousands of women workers who learn craft, sewing and vocational skills here. So far we have trained over 100,000 home-based women workers spanning four generations. Their work generates income and uplifts them financially.”
Like with every other thing I rave about, I am going to reiterate I am not being paid to recommend this. Then why am I giving all this backstory? Because it’s sweet and profound, okay.
Like everybody else, their new collection is up and available. They have kantha and cross-stitch and ralli and shadow work and cutwork and so much more! In the recent controversy of a huge brand being unfair to their labour, it is uplifting to learn that there is somebody looking out for the artisan and not just their pockets.