The Coronavirus pandemic has been causing trouble for many countries all around the world to cope up with the situation and unfortunately, Pakistan is also among these countries. The numbers continue to rise, and apart from the health concerns, another factor that has wreaked chaos the most is the economic downfall.
Coronavirus has massively slowed down the global trade and its aftershocks are yet to be observed. There is a whole shift expected to be seen in the economic graph on the global level and no one knows how it would be turning out as. One thing is sure that the deprived countries will have to face much more than those of the developed countries.
In Pakistan, especially for fashion retail, it is becoming increasingly problematic, as the postponement of fashion weeks, cancellation of lawn launches, and the race to finish bridal orders in safe conditions are in continuation.
So with respect to the present critical situation of the market and to explore it in terms of the effects of coronavirus, the top designers of Pakistan have given their two cents about how they foresee their business in the near future.
Shamoon Sultan from Khaadi
Shamoon Sultan from Khaadi has expressed his concerns as follows:
“This pandemic has changed our ways of working to a large extent and like any agile business, Khaadi is responding to it with responsibility, decisiveness and speed.
We continue to serve our customers, who are at the heart of Khaadi, with our online business and by communicating our message across social media encouraging social distancing and safety.
For our HO employees, I have adopted a work at home policy to manage customer demands to the best extent. Our stores are complying with the Government’s regulations and we are taking it a step further by implementing safety precautions recommended by WHO. I’d like to mention here, that through this time, the loyalty of customers and employees alike has been heartening. The measures taken by us, have employees as our principle priority and we believe in solidarity with our country.”
Another top Pakistani designer Rizwan Beyg put it into words as follows:
“We have seen a drastic reduction in sales quite understandably. We make occasion/bridal wear and under the circumstances, all of these events have been cancelled and/or postponed for the near future as have all exhibitions in Pakistan and abroad. We have also been asked to shut shop by the authorities so the impact is significant. Our main concern is our staff and their livelihoods. We have had to send some on 2 weeks leave and the rest are working on a rotational basis so that they have some income.
The staff that does come to work will be strictly monitored as we have a strict policy of decontamination of surfaces with bleach and a rigorous routine of personal hygiene. Staff members with flu-like symptoms are asked to self-quarantine. If the present status quo carries on for a longer period of time we will, however, have to consider our options. Our overheads still remain so we have requested landlords for assistance and we also need the tax authorities and utility providers to demonstrate understanding and provide relief to all businesses if we want to survive this calamity.
We have some client orders that we continue to fulfil. Everyone clearly understands the gravity of the situation so fashion really needs to take a backseat and we need to focus on the safety of our clientele and the health and economic well-being of our staff. We are all in this together and we hope everyone shows prudence and stays safe. Prevention is better than cure and so much more valid in these pressing times. God bless us all and keep us safe!”
Khadijah Shah from Élan
Elan has been one of the favourite brands for everyone who loves to stay updated fulfilling the fashion goals. Khadijah Shah expressed her concerns in the way as follows:
“Due to the coronavirus, inadvertently, all markets will slow down whether it is fashion or any other industry. People have started doing social distancing, and thus, retail and cash flows will be affected. Having said that, we are pushing people to, instead of going to our shops, to stop shopping for now by personally going there. We have delayed our Lawn launch, which is usually where we see the most crowd coming into the Élan store, to keep everyone safe from the spread of the coronavirus.
Other than that, we’re encouraging shoppers to check out our online portal instead of visiting stores so they can be safe. Apart from that, as far as our factories and offices are concerned, most of our business heads and teams are working from home.
We’ve stopped all non-productive productions such as sampling, etc, so we can only focus on delivering the previously placed orders at this point than creating anything new. For now, we’re strictly following the instructions put up by the government.”
Sana Safinaz recently launched its Spring Summer collection, all tinted colourfully with creative designs. The pandemic then dropped the scene and here is how they are dealing with the situation:
“With the epidemic of Coronavirus (COVID-19) affecting the global economy, the market in Pakistan has suffered too. Sana Safinaz strives to cater to the health and safety of our consumers in this time of difficulty. With this aim, we have deployed the following guidelines to consumers visiting our stores:
1) The well-being of our Sana Safinaz community is of utmost importance to us. We are diligently basing our decisions on the basis of the COVID-19 situation.
2) The Sana Safinaz stores sales team will be paid for their full shifts in these hard times.
3) We are taking strict precautions with all deliveries to make sure they are safe and disinfected. Our delivery operations are using sanitizers, masks, and gloves along with all recommendations by WHO.
4) We are trying to make sure the deliveries are done on time.
Not only the staff and consumers are being taken care of, but also the vendors associated with Sana Safinaz are following all precautionary measures. We pray for the safety and health of everybody in the country. We urge our customers to shop online and take all measures to keep themselves safe.
Our all-time favourite Pakistani designer Nomi Ansari as taken the situation following COVID-19 very seriously and here is how he is doing it along with some of the business related concerns:
“We started taking precautions about a week before all of this became a mess, and we had put an extra sink outside our factory and studio, so everyone could wash their hands and sanitise.
On the work side, things have, of course, slowed down, as many weddings have been postponed. A lot of people have been infected and we see that almost everyone is being careful of where they’re going. Thus, shops and bazaars have closed down, and people are just sitting at home.
Apart from that, we have also tried to help people by making sure we give charity to those who used to work on daily wages by starting a drive with Anoushey Ashraf. We’re really hoping the situation will get better soon.”
Well… all of you should know that every designer is more concerned about your health safety and taking measures to cope up with the situation properly. Here is how Sania Maskatiya is making it possible:
“I think first we need to acknowledge that it’s a global pandemic which has affected millions of lives and livelihoods across the world.
As per the requirements by the Sindh Government, we have indeed shut down out flagship store in Karachi. However, our Lahore store remains open for now but within the strict precautionary measures and parameters of ensuring the space is cleaned, disinfected and sanitised in line with the WHO Protocols. Only our core and essential team are at the Lahore store and we are also monitoring the health of our team on a daily basis. The health and safety of both our employees and our customers are of the utmost importance to us.
This has indeed affected the overall fashion retail business in the country. We are taking adaptive measures and focusing on pushing our digital sales but still, I feel it will take some time for the market to recover and sustain itself.”
HSY has always ensured to do something while staying step ahead and this time, when coronavirus has turned on the trouble across the globe, he makes sure to maintain safety for the clients on priority. Get to know how he is contributing:
“The global economy has been affected by this pandemic – not just the fashion industry. But at times like this, it’s crucial for us to act and have a vision as we are industry leaders.
Safety and health are of utmost importance and we’re offering home deliveries to clients, we also encourage customers to shop online and set a mutual time to pick urgent deliveries to avoid large numbers of people in store in the best interests of everyone. Luxury prêt is also offered online to protect our team and clients.
That being said – we salute medical professionals working day and night shifts in our best interests and hope everyone stays safe!”