Walking into a white-washed office with large mahogany table overlooking a monitor with CCTV cameras and tower of fashion magazines, I knew Zahir Rahimtoola has led me in a quiet corner to unravel the story behind his self-build empire. His larger than life persona and glistening eyes not only reflected his honesty and passion for his work but also propelled me to ask questions about his business, stiff competition in the market and his constant zeal to innovate and thrive in the Pakistani fashion scene.
Over the years, Zahir Rahimtoola made a slow and stealthy metamorphosis from management personnel to a business tycoon. His name isn’t just recognized, but is also respected by everyone in the local fashion industry.
So how exactly did his brain-child, Labels store became the first, one of a kind multi-brand store in Pakistan? “Well…we basically started off as a textile buying house, ” Rahimtoola shares, “We used to represent major US importers, we were agents for Columbia sportswear, Urban outfitters and other importers. Way back in 1995 Pizza Hut opened in Pakistan and satellite came into being. We used to ship everything out. We had access to western food, western music, but we had no access to clothing.”