Fashion knows no boundaries and as technology is advancing around the globe, Pakistanis seem to have no intentions of staying behind. Fashion Souk — a fashion portal where customers can purchase the latest creations of designers (clothes, shoes, bags, jewellery) — was launched on Thursday last week; the platform is a subsidiary of web portal Urban Souk.
“This portal is meant to benefit the Pakistani community in general — Pakistani expats and those residing in far flung areas of the country will now be able to place orders,” says Ahsan Ahmad, CEO of Urban Souk, in regard to the new venture Fashion Souk. “Hassle will end for expats who request their tailors in Pakistan to stitch their clothes.” Ahmad is hopeful this venture will create new markets for them.
There are currently 15 designer labels that are a part of this platform including Emraan Rajput, Deepak & Fahad and Tayyab Bombal. “We plan to grow many times more and our focus is to enhance the name of Pakistani designers,” he says, adding that the portal is not completely women-centric but also has something in it for men. “We are not promoting lehengas or shalwar kameez but are helping out Pakistani designers.”
“A login ID and password will be provided to each designer through which they will be able to upload images,” Ahmad says about how it works, adding that if designers choose to increase the price of their stocked product, then that is their call and they will be able to do so through their login ID. “We are just there to help them,” he says, adding that they will charge 20% of the commission.
Through this platform, designers will be able to reach more customers; Tayyab Bombal is excited to be a part of Fashion Souk and feels online presence solidifies a designer’s growth. “I am party to HauteShop.com in Lahore and Daraz.pk in Karachi already,” Bombal admits. “And I feel it’s better to have an online base instead of having a physical presence in the form of operating more outlets.”
“We never made our presence on any web portal before except on our own website,” says Fahad Yaqoob of Deepak & Fahad, adding that joining Fashion Souk would be good for the brand.
In the coming years, Ahmad believes significant things will be online as he says, “We did a survey back in 2012 and the response we received was that this [online shopping] was a developing field in Pakistan.” The findings also revealed that Indians have moved way ahead in online functioning and the fear of the unknown no longer curtails to them.
While international buyers will use credit cards to purchase products, Pakistanis living in the country will pay cash on delivery. “But for customised outfits, a customer will have to pay upfront,” says Ahmad. When asked how they would deal with credit card fraud, Ahmad says he is aware of the danger, “Like the petrol/fleet card which has a peculiar quality of being stolen, we will face the same issues.”
The fashion portal can be accessed at: www.fashionsouk.com
Published in The Express Tribune, March 12th, 2013.
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