Published: 22nd January 2020
Meet this 23-year-old fashion business owner who has made designer wear affordable
Creating a business out of a sheer passion for fashion, Ajmal Akram shares with us his journey of setting up Monsieur Vogue
Ajmal Akram, founder of Monsieur Vogue
With a degree in Civil Engineering but immense interest in fashion, meet stylist and runway model Ajmal Akram who founded Monsieur Vogue, a fashion store that customizes men’s clothing and shoes at affordable prices. We talk to this skilled 23-year-old about his journey that led him to the world of fashion and how his then hobby of designing clothes, has become his now profession of owning the fashion outlet Monsieur Vogue.
When and how did Monsieur Vogue begin and for how long now has it being run as a business?
It all started when I was a school student who wore designer shirts and pants that most people felt shy to wear and go outside. I started designing for my friends from 2015. And that became a hobby-influenced business which went on to become my passion and has now become my profession. When I was in my under graduation at Crescent, I started as a runway model in the fashion team. This gave me exposure to many other college students who approached me for my dressing. And I went on to use social media as a platform to create Monsieur Vogue. It’s been 3 years now since I started Monsieur Vogue.
Have you had an educational background in business and fashion? Has becoming a designer always been a dream?
The educational background that I have when it comes to business is the knowledge that I’ve gained by observing and researching on how I want to go about my establishment. And of course, my father and brothers’ insights play a big role because they have been in the field of business for decades. In terms of fashion, I learnt through my experiences and trusted my thoughts of creativity and have been moving forward with it. I wouldn’t say becoming a designer or running a clothing line was a dream but it was a sudden drive to want to make something out of a hobby turned passion.
What inspired the concept of customized clothing?
I feel that customized clothing provides a person with a unique take on dressing up. The idea of customized clothing is to stand out from the crowd. We want our customers to look different and feel different. We don’t want them to feel the same as the next person.
How supportive are your family and friends?
My friends have been a strong support system. I’m grateful to both my school and college friends. I’m thankful for the tailors and the fabric suppliers. All of them play a vital role. For someone who did engineering, it wasn’t easy for my family to accept my aspirations of becoming a designer. But they’ve become very supportive in taking my aspiration to the next level of opening up Monsieur Vogue’s first outlet.
What kind of services does Monsieur Vogue offer to its customers? How would you justify that your clothes are affordable?
A customer might want to wear formal shoes in non-basic colours that match his outfit. It’s very hard to get formal shoes of the colour or shade you want. So we offer to customize shoes as well. I doubt if any other clothing line in Chennai offers this service. We also customize bow ties, neckties, and cufflinks and aim to customize belts and wallets in the future. To be able to cater to the middle-class consumer community was exactly why Monsieur Vogue was started. Here at Monsieur Vogue, you get designer suits and tuxedos for around Rs.13,000 and Rs.15,000, whereas the high-end brands cost way more for basic designer suits.
How do you go about the process of customization of clothes and shoes at Monsieur Vogue? Do you have any professionals to work with you on designing?
Say for instance we have a customer who wants a party wear shirt with embroidery. We would first check with him about the kind of event he needs the shirt for and then move on to choosing a colour that would suit him from the suggestions that we’ve made. Then suggestions about the fabric are made. Even the buttons can be customized. And no, we don’t have any professionals to help with designing. I solely work with the knowledge I got from my experience and exposure in the field of fashion. I update myself with the trends in the fashion world through social media and other means that educate me on the subject.
How do you tackle the technicalities of the business?
At Monsieur Vogue, we aim to satisfy our customers. We uphold that to be our primary duty. And it is not easy to achieve that aim. To run a successful business, in order to handle the technicalities, we focus on creating some form of back up or the other, to have some kind of an alternative for safety reasons. That helps the business greatly.
What are the problems that you’ve faced and are still facing in this field of business?
I don’t consider them to be problems but as set hurdles, before each huge step, I take in the process of achieving something. So I don’t consider stating any problem as such.
What are your future plans for Monsieur Vogue?
We plan and hope to open more outlets in the future which is a long term plan, across the city. Through all of this, we want to retain the crux of why we started this clothing line in the first place.