Using traditional ‘’chail’’ in innovative dressing puts Swabi’s designer in trouble

    The local startup named Gulhadi run by the local female healing from the rural village of district Swabi introduced a new set of fashion mingling styles with local tradition in a cultural and sports event held at the University of Swabi.  

    The young entrepreneur covert the famous Swabi Shawal (Chail or Parhony) as jackets and stools by using the same material and traditional print to which they gave a new look with a touch of the modern fashion.  

    The style displayed through students of the university leads to the controversy as people around on social media calling it a distortion of the local culture and traditional wear Chail.

    Among many, one of the critics of the style is Ayaz Khan. He is a local journalist and showed anger on such style on his Facebook account. He calling it propaganda against the local culture and traditional wear narrated that “It was Chail, not waistcoat and women across Swabi worn such shawl as a cultural and traditional emblem of respect.  He warns by uploading the event pictures on Facebook. “We are proud of our Swabi Chail and we will not allow anyone to make fun of it”, Khan narrated.

    The Sawbi Shawl (Chail) has associated some historical significance in the culture of Swabi as local intellectual says that Yousufzai fought against the Sikh army at Shahmansoor, Swabi during the 1800’s. After the battle ended, the women covered bodies of their martyred men with their shawls as the red blood left smudges on those shawls (Chail). So from that day till now, women of Swabi use Chail with red dots.

    Mah Gul, 23, is the founding member of Gulhadi healing from the rural village of Swabi. On contacting to the only women entrepreneur of the region on phone to ask about the ongoing controversy, she said that “I even not think of any disrespect to our cultural and traditional wears but it was inspiration and passion to turn regional wears into fashion with a new idea, and among all this was just an effort to put the idea of Chail in newly designed waistcoat”

    She is upset with ongoing havocs on social media specifically with Facebook pages operating from Swabi said that “the images in culture and sports gala went viral with the issue of the style of the Chail and people are misusing these pics which creates a threat to local female participates.  She elaborated with grief that people should understand the vision of style and if my designs hurting anyone’s sentiments, then I am going to put a full stop to the cause and promotion of Swabi culture, Gul added.

    She narrated her devotion and struggle by saying that “I never thought that my work will be considered as propaganda against the local culture. I was all doing to promote my city and mostly I am doing all for women around me, Gul Concluded.

    The popular dotted Chail worn by women in Swabi is considered a symbol of modesty and resistance is classified into five types I,e Tor Guly (black dots), Sur Gulay (red dots), Dagi-wal, Punjpir and Daal. However, the red dot shawl was the most significant in the region.

    On Social Media, few people are supporting the creativity of Gulhadi and for introducing Chail as a newly designed waistcoat. Abbas Khan is from Swabi, he said that “I tried hard to find anything disrespectful in newly presented design but fail to found any because the idea behind it was to promote our traditional culture” while Awal Sher is resident of Swabi living abroad respond to the social media critics wrote that “I am not getting why people are making a fuss out of the new idea of using the same Chail as new style as it was solely to promote the culture”, Sher concluded.

    Jawad Yousafzai
    Photojournalist, media and communications professional

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