Liberty Market is a maddening, occasionally beautiful and always confusing place to be in. Like most summer loves, it can enthrall you and drive you crazy simultaneously. I have spent great evenings here shopping for most shaadis (weddings) I attend during the winters, buying matching pieces of jewelry, and sometimes just browsing through stores to spectate local fashion trends.[divider]C+G’S TAKE [/divider]
At the heart of any shopping excursion in Lahore, lies Liberty Market. Its timeless appeal lies in how seamlessly it adopts all emerging mainstream trends. A quick trip to Liberty is all you need, to overhaul your summer wardrobe.[divider]EXPERIENCE[/divider]
I have always been in awe of how the market drastically changes as new fashion pieces, fabrics and silhouettes come in. When high-end designers change trends and silhouettes each season, Liberty Market follows suit; things carefully stacked on shelves in shops one day will be found among the pile of leftover cloth the next week. This is how quickly the entire marketplace responds to emerging trends.
Much like the rest of the city, the place has significantly evolved over the years. There are now more options for, well, everything! From foo, to shoes and bags, to clothes (both stitched and unstitched), to ear cuffs and tassel earrings, everything has evolved to serve as your shopping fix. Particular streets and alleys have emerged more prominently than others over the last couple of years, but the basic purpose of the market has remained intact – to provide a single place to meet all fashion related needs. Liberty continues to maintain its aura and mystique.
The market has specialized zones; some are for embroidery and kundan zari, some for fabric (the essential hero of your dress), some for matching accents. There are places that sell one of a kind buttons and laces, and some areas boast traditional footwear like kula puris and khussas. The front of the market has brand-name stores and designer outlets, while the back has what is called khulla kapra (loose cloth). In between the two, there are various roadside eateries, serving the most delicious desi snacks like various types of chaat, samosas, and pakoras.
On any given day, the place is packed with families, most of whom have come from different cities, specifically to experience shopping at Liberty Market. And when Lahore goes into a frenzy over weddings, which is usually during winter months, the place can be found packed with hundreds of women – all looking for the perfect dress, getting the right accessories and ensuring that their clothes are completed with the right embroidery and kundan zari.
Going through piles and piles of shimmery and ‘fancy’ cloth quickly transports you into another world. It’s something out of a shopping-inspired fairy tale. I inevitably become a part of it. Even the people here are worthy of being turned into storybook characters. Most women who come here are amateur designers, and those who do not identify as such yet, are destined to soon! The shopkeepers know all the specifications of the latest designs and cuts and are ever-so-eager to help their customers.
The environment induces a strange sort of delirium and makes you want to buy more things than you have a need for. But, contrary to popular belief, not all women here are there to shop. Sometimes, they wander the narrow alleyways because of the familiarity and comfort of it all. Even when I’m not going for a shopping spree, I enjoy being at Liberty Market. The place is constantly bustling, and the air always feels lighter and less oppressive here.