LAHORE: Ordering a bespoke dress from a high-end designer can be heavy on the pocket. So, there is a significant middle market for economical, individualised clothing that new entrepreneurs claim to be tapping into. The House of Latif (HOL) had their first pop-up exhibition at Cosa Nostra on April 30.
A newcomer on the market, the HOL comes with two different angles to their venture: Dara Enzo, readymade clothing that is only offered in Pakistan, and Zuria Dor, which is made-to-measure and available to a global audience, including Pakistan. The names for their brand inspire curiosity and were chosen from French and Italian words. Dara Enzo means ‘winning star’ and Zuria Dor translates to ‘golden/white and lovely’.
HOL is a family venture, headed by sisters Madiha Latif and Kinza Latif. Engineers and tech entrepreneurs by education, they both aim towards addressing sartorial distresses. “The global fashion industry, valued at over $1 trillion annually, has a major problem — returns due to poor fit and that’s the first problem we are set out to proactively address.”
HOL aims at breathing life into the manufacturing sector of Pakistan, which has been churning out clothing for international brands, such as H&M and Forever 21, but has not been able to create value for the tag that reads: ‘Made in Pakistan’. Kinza adds, “As a country with the highest youth population, it is the entrepreneurs who must provide opportunities and connect nations as they are the real drivers of economic growth and innovation.”
The price tag for Dara Enzo ranges between Rs4,000 and Rs10,000. Zuria Dor semi-formals are priced between Rs20,000 and Rs40,000, and formals go from Rs40,000 up to Rs80,000, which take around two to three weeks to be ready for delivery.
When asked how they aim to be different from existing high-street brands in Pakistan, they say, “Our fabrics are carefully sourced locally and directly from international fabric manufacturers in Thailand, Italy and Turkey. From our understanding of the market, others are neither testing the material nor are they seeking to establish a relationship with foreign fabric manufacturers to import quality raw material.” They add, “We’re persistent in delivering quality finish — something we feel the market continues to overlook.”
Kinza, the chief design officer, shares that the duo has set designers, such as Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad, Reem Acra, Krikor Jabotian and Carolina Herrara, as their personal benchmark. Of their future plans, they share, “Based on how well we fare with our first company, we will look into addressing other problems across the board from the airline industry to the electronic voting system to using 3D printers. That’s the thing about engineers — our skill set allows us to think outside the box and then work towards delivering.” They plan on continuing with sales through their website, which allows them to keep prices reasonable as they don’t have a physical presence in retail.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2015.
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