Pepping up Lahore

UK’s Pepe Jeans opens doors in the city and waits to see how it’ll fit in with local sartorial sensibilities

MEHEK SAEED July 13, 2015
Supermodel Cara Delevingne is the face of Pepe’s Spring/Summer 2015 campaign. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

LAHORE: Pepe Jeans launched its first retail outlet in Lahore and second in Pakistan. In hopes of getting a taste of  the United Kingdom’s high-street, a host of people showed up at the store in Vogue Towers on MM Alam Road. Having begun from selling at a weekend roadside stall in West London, Pepe Jeans has now established its presence in a string of countries.

The brand set foot in the capital last month, an unexpected launch pad in Pakistan, especially since Lahore and Karachi are considered as bigger, more lucrative markets. Saad Javed Akram, the entrepreneur behind the store told The Express Tribune, “I had been hoping to bring Pepe to Pakistan for a while, so I’m going ahead and opening shops as soon as possible in each city. If everything works out as expected, Karachi would see a store launch tomorrow,” he jokingly said.

“It’s an amazing time to enter the Pakistani retail market, considering that brands, such as Armani, Ralph Lauren, Clarks and Nine West, have forayed into it,” said Akram, who also owns Labels in Lahore. “The Pakistani middle-class is becoming brand-conscious and developing a true understanding of what brands are all about,” he added.

Akram shared that once he has ironed out a few kinks, a store will open in Karachi later this year. “I plan on bringing brands, such as Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, to the Pakistani market soon”, shared Akram, who also owns Labels in Lahore.

The faces of the brand included a bevy of fashion bloggers, socialites and journalists, who were dressed in Pepe Jeans. The store houses the label’s latest collection for men and women, which comprises a range of pastel-coloured pants, flowery playsuits, tops and jeans. Pepe Jeans is competitively priced, with jeans that range from Rs7,000 to Rs12,000, dresses priced between Rs8,000 and Rs15,000, and shirts that have a price tag ranging from Rs2,000 to Rs8,000, only slightly higher than its local counterparts.

The concept behind Pepe’s flagship store is based on its global store design and is a replica of the brand’s international stores. Wooden flooring, well-designed props and quirky wall displays at the shop place it at par with Pepe’s international standards. The launch event featured live-feed of Pepe Jeans-related tweets and Instagram posts to encourage people to engage on social media.

It’s yet to be seen how the brand will cater to Pakistani sartorial sensibilities and subsequently up its practicality quotient. A customer at the store said, “I came here because the advertisement was attractive, but am pleasantly surprised to see the stock.”

Pepe Jeans provided Kate Moss with her first-ever advertising campaign and since then, has worked with Ashton Kutcher, Sienna Miller, Alexa Chung and Cristiano Ronaldo for its campaigns. Supermodel Cara Delevingne is the face of its Spring/Summer 2015 campaign. Aptly titled ‘Made for Mischief’ Delevingne can be seen posing among London’s Somerset House Monuments.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2015.

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