Gone are the days when designers would design haute couture that only a select few could afford, because today most designers have tapped into the mass market segment which is looking for affordable fashion choices. And in order to cater to this wide segment, the majority of designers have partnered with textile giants to churn out their own designs.
The latest brand to come out of this development is Coco, which is spearheaded by designer Zara Shajahan, and offers a range of trendy pret wear. Coco was launched nationwide on May 26 and stocks at Brands Just Pret in Karachi, Al Fatah and Ten Q in Lahore, Labels in Faisalabad, Melange in Islamabad and Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai.
Talking about the need for such a line, Shahjahan says, “So many designers and larger textile brands have launched lawn outfits ranging between Rs3,000 to Rs6,000. However, after stitching and embellishments, the price of the finished product ranges from Rs7,000 to Rs10,000. An ordinary person cannot afford this and hence we want to come up with a line where the finished product (three-piece suit) is under Rs4,000.”
On the affordable pricing of the brand, she says, “Fashion should not be for the elite class only; everyone should be able to enjoy good clothes.” But with lower prices, does quality suffer in any way? The designer states, “The quality of the material cannot be the same as the one we use at Zara Shahjahan. However, we are trying to balance the best quality at the best possible price.”
On whether Coco is closely related to her personal label Zara Shahjahan, she says “Coco has nothing to do with my brand Zara Shahjahan. We are trying to cater to a different market altogether.”
When asked if there was any resemblance to international brand Chanel, Shahjahan says, “When people like us hear Coco, they think Chanel but when the masses hear Coco they think of the song ‘Ko Ko Korina’.”
However, design philosophy aside, our only worry for the brand is its list of chosen store sites as they do not reflect the target market of the brand. Shahjahan says that since there are very few department stores in Karachi and Islamabad, they had no choice but to go with them.
For now, time will tell if Coco will be able to stand the competition and the changing market dynamics.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2012.
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