It’s rare coming across a multi-brand store for women’s apparel run solely and exclusively by men. At Ayzel Maison de Couture, it’s the stags (men) who call the shots. The fashion outlet, managed and owned by four brothers — Mohammad Shujauddin, Zeeshan Fasih, Shoaib Fasih and Saad Fasih — meets all the basic requirements of a multi-label: it offers luxury brands at affordable prices under one roof.
Walking in, one immediately notices the minimalist interior, marked by clean, sharp lines and a practical use of space. The basement boutique is inclusive enough to highlight its key brands and still maintains plenty of breathing space for customers. The store bears the trademarks of up and coming Islamabad architect Tabreed’s eye for design. And yet Tabreed tended to the technical details, translating the interior’s layout with the brothers’ creative concept in mind. As the Fasih brothers launched Ayzel back in August as an extension to Living Options (a home and furniture outlet), they already possessed an eye for cogent interior design.
Having to stop at a multitude of stores and boutiques for basic fashion needs can be a pain, explains Shujauddin. “We wanted to start a place where people could find all the brands under one roof; everything from jewellery and clothes to shoes, bags and accessories,” he says. Still, Ayzel isn’t the only multi-brand department store operating out of Islamabad — Melange, L’atelier and Modeville essentially offer the same services and more (L’atelier’s got a salon; Melange a cafe). So what differentiates Ayzel from its fashionable bedfellows?
“For one, the location is great and very central; and the collection we offer is different from what you’d find at other retail stores in the city,” comments Shujauddin. He adds that Ayzel’s affordability factor raises it a cut above its competition. “Our target isn’t just the elite classes. Purchasing power of the customers ranges, which is why we’ve made sure our price range falls anywhere between Rs3,000 (for individual items) to Rs100,000 (for formal sets and Indian saris).”
Ayzel’s recent and successful launch of Sadaf Sherazi’s impeccable collection proves that it is no stranger to emerging brands. Sherazi’s formal and casual collection (including Eidwear), with bold cuts and the season’s vivid hues, is tagged at comparatively low prices, from Rs4,500 to Rs14,000.
Mahin Hussain’s quirky, quixotic and reasonable bags, rendered in dynamic prints and a spectrum of colour, have also been raking in profits.
Meanwhile, Rabia J’s jewellery is a little less impressive. Cut in semi-precious and gold-plated artificial stones, the formal and casual collection pales in comparison to brands like Sonar and Jewelicious — a lot more prolific and diverse.
But when it comes to winning popularity contests, Wasim Noor and Urban Wear (from Dubai) walk away with the most customer purchases. Noor’s artful cuts and soft, understated colour palettes complement the look this season while Urban Wear swoops in with an array of casual and formal western pieces (Rs4,000-Rs22,500)- adding to the myriad options at Ayzel.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 3rd, 2011.
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