Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Shopping in Islamabad


Islamabad FINALLY has bigger shops, more variety, and better fashion. Hallelujia! If you've ever been to Islo, you'll know how terribly it compares to Lahore and Karachi, but something is happening here nowadays. It seems like all the bigger brands have suddenly noticed our tiny capital and an influx has taken place in the last year alone.

I first noticed this when Zahra Ahmed came to Islo. I'd previously only been to the store in Lahore and found it to be a fun and more unique ready-made store than your standard Generation, etc. Soon after, I noticed a sign go up on an empty building saying Gul Ahmed Opening Soon! This was super exciting for me because my weak spot is cushions and bedding. Strange weak spot, I know. But how some people feel when they walk into a shoe store is how I feel when I see a beautifully made-up bed in a department store. The cushions, oh the cushions... Cushions are a genius invention: providing comfort as well as extra beauty!

ANYWAY, point being that whereas Gul Ahmed clothing is available at various stores in Islo, a Gul Ahmed store is a different affair: three floors of mens clothing as well as womens, handbags, shoes, stitched clothes as well as unstitched including kurtas, and lots of bedding, curtains, towels, etc! In the last few months, not one but TWO Gul Ahmed stores have opened up here.

And as if that was not exciting enough, right next to one of them, Nishat Linen have opened up their third Islamabad store, called a Nisha Boutique. The boutiques carry a wider range of ready-made clothes than the normal Nishat Linen stores. Just last year there was only one Nishat Linen here!

I also noticed yesterday that Cotton Ginny is opening here soon too. And stores I'd previously only seen in Lahore can also be found, such as Threads & Motifs, and Needle Impressions. Plus a lot of existing stores have opened up more outlets, like Kayseria and Bareeze. So all of these add to Khaadi, Cynosure, Chen One, Junaid Jamshed, etc, and Islamabad being so small and easy to navigate around means we finally have some decent shopping to offer.

Contrary to the excited tone of this post, I don't actually go shopping that much here... There's usually only one of the following reasons I do:
1) someone has asked me to (such as family abroad or a friend visiting);
2) I'm buying a present; or
3) its summer/winter and time for a wardrobe injection!

It was No.3 that took me to the streets of Islo yest and I was so pleasantly surprised at how much the shopping scene is improving here that I've sat down to write a blog post about it! With so much political turmoil, inflation, instability and security tensions here, it sometimes feels like everything will come to a grinding halt soon. Its so nice for the opposite to happen in reality :-)

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