Adnan Zoraiz and Hijab Mir of The Dark Room share their experiences and the story behind making the The Dark Room in an exclusive interview with Fashion Central.
The Dark Room is Pakistan's newest and most innovative and interesting multi-brand store, Located on main M.M. Alam Road, it's located at an enviable location and has a number of unique factors such as a Rookie Corner and a Cocktail Rack. In this exclusive interview with Fashion Central. Adnan Zoraiz Managing director and Hijab Mir Creative Director & partner at TDR talk about their latest venture.
1. Tell us about The Dark Room. What convinced you to launch a multi- brand store?
Ans : In Pakistan multi brand stores are considered to be the shopping arena for the elite few who belong to the upper echelons of society. We wanted to bust this myth and come up with the multi brand store which should cater to all the segments cause we believe that fashion belongs to everyone and it is not anyone's private property.
2. You are a newcomer to the world of fashion: what inspired you to enter this field?
Ans : On a lighter note first of all it's a wrong statement that we are new to the world of fashion as we both bought our first pair of Nike trainers more than two decades ago. You can say we just ventured out to play our part in the fashion world pretty late as we were both preoccupied with our respective professions.
Our inspiration again came from the fact that a budget friendly fashion label was real hard to find and by being able to introduce one such label we think that we have started walking in the right direction.
3. Your own label Pharaoh's Closet was launched 3 months ago and took the world of retail by storm. Tell us what prompted you to start designing.
Ans : (Hijab) I always used to look for funky and not so run of the mill designs & prints in eastern wear but never got much lucky. I believe that the prints you wear bring out a lot of aspects of your personality that's what our motto Dare to be D!fferent is all about.
4. The names of your brands are rather unusual: Pharaoh's Closet and The Dark Room! How come?
Ans : As we just told you that we wanted to break away from the so called predetermined criteria to be followed so that you could have a license to enter the fashion faculty of Pakistan. The names that we choose simply are intriguing and get everyone's attention at least for once and that was the idea behind it. By the way our third upcoming label is also from the same clan and is called Voodoo Dolls.
5. Pharaoh's Closet is a true pret brand: unusual, causal clothes at extremely reasonable prices. At a time when most designers are concentrating on formal clothes, why are you fixated on pret.
Ans: If everyone is having coffee in December but you feel like having an ice cream ... what would you do ? Would you rather have Coffee instead just cause everyone else is having it ? Not us !
6. The concept behind The Dark Room is also to be one of Pakistan's first truly pret stores: do you feel pret is the future of fashion retail in Pakistan?
Ans : No. But invariably Pret is a route least followed in Pakistan. Some one had to take it seriously and that's what we are trying to do.
7. You are apparently planning to develop TDR into a lifestyle store with cosmetics and perfume counters: can you tell us how you came up with the idea to further expand the concept of a multibrand store?
Ans: Now a days time has become the most precious commodity which everyone seems to be short of. Just to cater to the needs of our clients and to have them spend more & more of this precious commodity with us at The Dark Room we will keep on venturing into different avenues so as visiting TDR should become one of the most favorite activity for everyone in Lahore.
8. Do you feel it's a conflict of interest to have a multi brand store while owning a retail brand: wouldn't there automatically be an inclination toward promoting your own brand?
Ans : Never! .. We think competition is healthy and a collective effort is more fruitful than an individual one. So at TDR we take pride in our friend designers who together make TDR a fun place.
9. We have heard you are launching a rookie corner: a space for new designers where they can stock absolutely free of cost: is this true?
Ans: When we set out with the first batch of our product from Pharaoh's Closet, we observed that it was pretty difficult for an aspiring fashion designer to find a good placement in the market. That's why we want everyone from any part of Pakistan to know that there is one place which will give them an equal opportunity to come and house their product with some of the most enterprising names in Pakistan's fashion industry, that too without once thinking about the financial aspect of stocking with a renowned multi brand store. At TDR our doors are open for everyone !