The last few days of Ramazan are usually spent roaming the markets in search for a ready-made Eid outfit, unless you are making last minute frenzied trips to the tailor while buying other Eid essentials and accessories.
This Eid madness causes Lahore’s main shopping and food avenue, MM Alam Road, to remain perpetually blocked.
In the midst of all this, a new multi-label store opened just down the road from Toni & Guy on MM Alam Road. Dernier Cri is the brainchild of two Pakistani born British entrepreneurs, Aquib Khan and Emran Siddique, who aspire to give Lahoris a new shopping experience as far as Western wear is concerned.
“I would visit Lahore with my family and apart from the Men’s Store and some local brands, there was nothing to buy,” says Aquib Khan, owner of Dernier Cri. “High street fashion still doesn’t exist to its potential,” he adds. He went on to say that there is hardly any variety for career-driven, working individuals who can afford to spend Rs3,000 to Rs7,000 on quality apparel, which also gave them the push to launch this store.
The store includes several retail options for women, with items including printed tops, Greek maxis and peasant tops with the use of net and lace in several pieces. What the market in Pakistan lacks is a sufficient supply of Western staple daily wear and Dernier Cri aims to start filling that void by providing some basic day-to-day apparel such as stylish cover-ups and comfortable linen pants.
The store also stocks brands such as Polo by Ralph Lauren and Ed Hardy for men, with the aim to launch their own menswear line in November. Layers Paris is another brand at the store which is their own, whose manufacturer is based in London. Other established UK brands in the store include ViVi Boutique, Dreamweaver, Tokyo Laundry and Skin Shoes.
Even though the store is situated on the bustling MM Alam Road, it is more accurately placed behind a shopping complex, which cuts it off from the main road. As it is a new brand, most might see this is a setback, but Sarah Emran, another partner in the venture, claims, “We are confident about our garments and the quality of the products that we are providing hence the location isn’t as much of a set back as most might believe.”
Model and actor Mehreen Raheel has also taken the project under her wing and signed on as the brand ambassador. “Aquib is like a brother to me, so when he decided to open the store I was all ears,” says the model. “I identify with the apparel myself and there are so many things I have already eyed for myself,” she adds.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2012.