The textile industry has played a huge role in the economy of Pakistan, and in today’s day and age, that monetary success from the industry has translated into the in-numerous fashion retail brands which have mushroomed up all around the country. However, amongst the plethora of names, there are a few that have stood out and proven their prowess as icons of the industry.
They are the grandest names, the key players in retail, and those who have basically changed the way Pakistan shops for fashion, and for that, they must be acknowledged as the flag-bearers of change in the country.
One of the biggest entrepreneurial success stories we have in Pakistan is Khaadi, and in the 21 years of its existence, it has revolutionized how we look at traditional cloth weaving and how that can be turned into a leading fashion trend. Established in 1998 by Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Shamoon Sultan, Khaadi became a leading fashion retailer by offering compelling home and clothing, shoes and accessories, fragrances, skin and hair care solutions for women and children.
It also pioneered new traditions in fashion with an innovative approach inspired by global fusion via a contemporary and fashion-focused context, and today, the brand has made it itself a global icon with 52 stores in Pakistan and 21 stores in the UK, UAE, Qatar, and Bahrain, combined.
In the truest of words, the story of textiles in the subcontinent is the story of Gul Ahmed. The group began trading in textiles in the early 1900s and gradually entered in the field of manufacturing with the establishment of today’s iconic name of Gul Ahmed Textile Mills Ltd in 1953. From there onwards, it only saw the upward rise and today enjoys a leading position in the world of textiles.
However, beyond industrial textile production, what makes Gul Ahmed iconic is its strong presence in the retail business as well. The opening of its flagship store – Ideas by Gul Ahmed– marked the group’s entry into the retail business. Starting from Karachi, Gul Ahmed now has an extensive chain of more than 40 retail stores across the country, offering a diverse range of products from home accessories to fashion clothing.
While many celebrities now own various brands in the Pakistani market or endorse a plethora of products, one of the pioneers of creating their own brand and making it into a revolutionary name was the late Junaid Jamshed back in 2002. Establishing his brand J., the former musician proved that his ideals and the right business tactics could create one of Pakistan’s biggest fashion brands.
The brand started its journey through its first store on Tariq Road, Karachi where it catered only to menswear, and soon it earned new heights of success as it forayed into women’s wear, kids wear, accessories and beauty products, becoming one of Pakistan’s most premier brands.
Ranked as the number one western wear brand in Pakistan, one of the most successful examples of the fashion retail industry is Outfitters. Established back in 2003 by Kamran Khurshid with a vision to revamp the fashion industry and fill the gap in urban apparel in Pakistan, Outfitters now enjoys one of the most envious top positions in the nation.
The brand originated in Lahore, Pakistan, where its sole focus was on trendy street-smart fashion for men and women. But then in 2008, Outfitters introduced a brand for kids as Outfitters Junior, focusing on kids’ fashion. Following that, the brand launched ‘Ethnic by Outfitters’ in 2013, an eastern wear brand offering modern fusion everyday clothing. Then subsequently In 2017, a menswear line was also introduced called Ethnic Man, catering to a variety of clothing for men.
Today, it operates 100 stores spread over 17 plus cities in Pakistan and has become one of the biggest names in Gen Z and Millennial fashion in Pakistan.
Making the concept of high street fashion into a reality in Pakistan, Sapphire became one of the biggest names in the industry within a few months of its inception. A high-street brand introduced by one of the largest names in the textile industry, it is celebrated for combining 100% pure fabric with unprecedented design aesthetic to create designer wear at an affordable price.
Their range of affordable designer clothing has something for everyone – daily wear, party wear, formal wear, silk tunics, scarves and unstitched fabric, which is complemented by their exquisite designs which have truly made it a one of a kind brand in the country.
It operates more than 20 stores currently around Pakistan.