KARACHI – An American international clothing corporation Urban Outfitters has plagiarized the Sindhi Ajrak print to roll out a new bikini print, which the clothing brand calls ‘Moroccan’ print.
Ajrak is the name given to a form of block-printed shawls and tiles unique to Sindh, Pakistan. The Sindhi community quintessentially loves the Ajrak and sometimes wraps holy books in it. Moreover, they even drape their deceased loved ones to honor them with it.
The latest release by Urban Outfitters has hurt the sentiments of Sindhi locals, who consider the Ajrak as their pride.
Activists and bloggers have slammed Urban Outfitters for disrespecting the Ajrak, alleging that the multi-million brand has tried to exploit the culture of less privileged Sindhis.
Another American firm, Forever 21, also copied the Ajrak print to make their own version of a long shirt. They named it “Baroque Print”.
This is not the first time international designers have co-opted traditional Pakistani clothing and accessories for a profit.
Earlier in 2014, British fashion designer Paul Smith launched a new shoe design in his spring line that looked suspiciously like a traditional “Peshawari chappal”. Though the Pakistani version sells for about $5, Smith’s version sold for over $595.