A Tailoring Home

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sharjah is home to a vast number of tailoring shops. Tucked away in the gullies of the Irani Market, a Bazaar known for dry fruits, household items, textiles and tailoring, lies a small yet reputed tailoring shop that been serving customers since 1987.

Zarfran Tailoring and Embroidery House, founded in 1987

Zarfran Tailoring and Embroidery House, was the brainchild of one of the three Ahmed Brothers in 1987, when he first came to the Emirates. Mr. Zarfran Ahmed took up the tailoring business and then left it to his two brothers, Jamil Ahmed and Abishad Ahmed who man the shop, till today. “The idea of opening up a tailoring shop was not planned, when we came to the UAE. It just was just destiny, it just happened.” said Mr. Jamil Ahmed, 52 years. “It was easy to come to the Emirates and after my brother set up the shop, things just went on as it is today.”

Mr.Jamil Ahmed, one of the three Ahmed brothers, who founded Al-Zarfran Tailoring and Embroidery House in 1987

The two storey tailoring house was visibly busy, especially during this time of occasions such as Eid Al Adha and National Day. “We get most of customers during this time of year, as most of the celebrations take place like Eid, National Day, Christmas,” said Mr. Jamil Ahmed.

Mr. Jamil Ahmed, at work

Employed tailors that were assigned to their chores, hustled and bustled on the top floor as they worked on the imaginative and intricate embroidery, some were hemming pants, and then there were boys doing the ironing. “We specialize in embroidery be it of simple cloth, bed sheets or cushions,” said Mr. Jamil.

“We have recently opened another major showroom on the main street of Rolla, Sharjah. Al Rahlia Tailoring and Embroidery House, is our expansion from the Zarfran House, so we can reach more customers” added Mr. Jamil.

“We attract customers, from far and wide, that means there are a lot of dresses from different nationalities that we have improvised on, as tailors.” On one side of the shop, lay an array of dresses, shirts, skirts, Indian suits, abayas etc that were lined in a sea of hangers across the tailoring house, while the other side showcased different styles of embroidery for hankerchiefs, cushions, tablecloths, bed sheets etc.

Some of many designs from Zarfran Tailoring and Embroidery House

The number of styles were undoubtedly gamut, the only limit here seems to be the tailor’s imagination. “Older women are very choosy compared to men about their designs and give us specific instructions, which we follow. The secret to being a good tailor is to always keep your customers happy, which we, at Zarfran Tailoring and Embroidery House do.” said the proud Mr. Jamil.

Mr. Jamil with one of his finished products

“A good tailor should track it all together so that you can have a trying on session before the final stitching. When it is finished, we let the customers try it on again, until the customer is satisfied.” added Mr. Jamil, with a smile.

One of Zarfran's loyal customers, Mrs.Rokeya Begeum

“I have been coming to Zarfran Tailoring and Embroidery House since 1995, and I have always been happy with the results of my clothes.” said Mrs. Rokeya Begeum, residing in Sharjah.

When asked if tailoring has been his childhood passion, Mr. Jamil seems hesitant. “I never wanted to be a tailor, it just happened. I was a mechanic, working in Mumbai for ten years, then I came to the UAE, after that all I’ve done is tailoring,” he said, reminiscing his past. “Me and my brothers experimented and learnt all the lessons there are in the tailoring business. Whatever I am today is because of destiny...”

“This may be a shop to you or to any other customer, but to me and my brothers, this is our home. We have grown with this shop that we call ‘house’ which is actually home and is very dear to our hearts.” said Mr. Jamil, in a firm yet softened voice.

Whatever it may be, the knowledge and art of tailoring, of cutting and sewing cloth is one the most skilful and noble professions of its own kind.

Photo Credit: Megna Kalvani


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