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Zahra Raza Interview0 Comments

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Today, Zahra Raza talks exclusively to Fashion Trends. At the tender age of 25, Zahra Raza has already successfully launched two companies in the fashion industry. In 2010, with partner Sarah, and Sadaf Ahsan Raza, Zahra Premier launched multi-label boutique Islamabad, L’Atelier, which is in a very short time has come to take stock of more than 40 designers from across the country and beyond. Let’s hear what the young personality to share with Fashion Trends.

 

Zahra Raza

Zahra Raza

 

1. You graduated in visual communication Beacon House National University in Lahore and also a diploma in Art and Design to keep the prestigious Central St. Martin’s in London, why did you decide to go into the retail rather than design?
Fashion is my passion from the start, but aesthetics is a gift given to me by my mother because she is a renowned artist Naheeda Raza. I’ve been an art student at school and in choosing a school I knew that St. Maarten was the best choice. I honed my design aesthetics in my foundation year and then developed an interest in visual communication. I was very happy for the first batch to graduate from BNU and I think it is the best university for arts and crafts in Pakistan. I remember in my thesis presentation, the judges told me that my own brand of clothing or my own accessory store. As I have always very fashion-oriented and all my projects were related to fashion. Considering I’ve worked in the fashion industry as a model during my student days I have a personal passion for retail. After four years I can proudly say that I am the CEO of the largest multi-label store in Islamabad L’atelier am. Let’s say that if you want something bad enough it always works. It would not have been possible if my brother, sister and sister were not part of this project.

2. How has the beginning of L’atelier come about?
We were visiting Sadaf Ahsan and Paris while working and studying there for two years. After being the capital of fashion and look at the beautiful grandeur of the city we decided to have a place in Islamabad, where women can feel pampered and get a feel of shopping in a beautiful ambiance are. When Sarah, my sister and partner fashion label she had already had a huge clientele in Islamabad and storage in various multi-label boutiques in Pakistan, we thought that retail would be good market to tap. Pret the industry in Pakistan has grown over the past 5 years, we thought this was the right time to provide Isloo’ites a multi-label store with all the top designers under one roof.

3. L’atelier has four partners, how easy is it to work in partnership in this business?
Yes, we are four partners. Ahsan, Sadaf, Sarah and myself. If we are brothers and sisters and Sadaf is our sister. Launch of 2010 was when we started working on our idea, we decided from the beginning Ahsan is the financial side of the company to manage Sadaf handle the marketing, Sarah shares her clientele by stocking at L’atelier, and deal with the after sales service and I handle the daily work and getting new designers on board, keeping a check on sales and customers.

4. The concept store has over 40 designers available at the moment, what do you look for when considering new labels to stock up at L’atelier?
Firstly I have studied Islamabad market very well. Have lived and worked in Islamabad my life, I understand the retail Islamabad. Being a Isloo’ite, I meet many people at social gatherings and events, through conversations I take note of what people want and need. From there, I have first hand market research, this helps me to decide what I need designers on board. The main factors that affect our decision of its customer demand, variation in price points and design diversification.

5. L’atelier is planning to start a cafe on the premises, can you tell us a bit more and why are launching it?
What do women like more than shopping and fun? The whole idea is to show our customers a great shopping experience, and not to leave the company to catch a cup of coffee. After a pub will enable our customers to shop and take a break from their busy daily schedules under one roof. It would also be a great addition to the cafe business and the people in Islamabad soon catch up to the trend of eating out.

6. You can also start “AlterEgo” a platform for budding fashion designers and also work as a model with ocular, have you seen any change in the fashion industry in recent years?
Looking at this question we must go back about seven years from now when the country’s economy was booming and the purchasing power of each individual had increased dramatically. This allowed the designers of luxury and refined collection, influenced by western culture and due to the fact that the media in Pakistan had developed and gain more exposure to the public. Therefore, the trends are changing tremendously in the past few years, people are open minded and liberal about fashion and this gives the designer room to play with his or her creation.

7. Where do you see L’atelier five years from now?
We are very ambitious, God willing over five years time we want to be recognized at the largest multi-brand boutique in Pakistan, to ensure that we plan to open stores in Lahore and Karachi and internationally in the near future. By the largest I mean not only in size, I also say that our Boutique to be recognized as an area renowned for the best customer service, value for money and more importantly to know that the designers as a great business opportunity.

8. Any parting words for the readers of Fashion Trends?
As Gandhi said, “what you do in life will be significantly affected. But it is very important that you do it” so to all readers, it is very important to have ambitions and dreams and then work on them. So that readers seek the moon and you will end up among the stars!

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