FASHION - INTERVIEW
Thursday, November 22, 2018
FASHION - INTERVIEW
by Mehmet Kaplan
After completing his educational life in the United Kingdom, Zia Ghafoor decided to establish his own leather jacket brand with combining his tech knowledge and the leather production tradition in Sialkot. Instead of selling products in the dealer network with mass production, he adopted the method of producing personalized products by getting customized orders directly from his web store. In order to learn more about MONT5 and its business model, I talked with Zia Ghafoor, Co-Founder and CEO of MONT5.
Zia, how did you come up with this idea? What inspired you to create MONT5?
I have a tech background. It all started when I came back to Pakistan from U.K after completing my higher studies. Wanted to promote "Made in Pakistan" products to the outer world.
Could you tell us about MONT5?
Pakistan, my home country is among one of the largest leather producing nations. My love for leather jackets led me to Sialkot, a Pakistani city acclaimed globally for leather products, I found that this centuries-old craft is dying day by day and craftsmen are forced to change their profession to make both ends meet. I wanted to do something about it and I wanted to change that I had the tech experience and my passion for leather the collaboration came naturally.
So I teamed up with people in the industry, set-up stitching unit in Sialkot. We collaborated with designers and starting working on our first line of jackets and after 2 years of hard work we launched Mont5 from Kickstarter platform.
The story behind the name is also interesting, There are only 14 peaks in the world which are more than 8000 meters high and 5 of them are in Pakistan, that is the inspiration behind our name MONT5.
What did you change in traditional fashion brand vision? What are the secrets of offering affordable leather products?
At MONT5, we are basically targeting the custom size market. we are making leather jackets that are crafted to perfection using only the highest quality leather from the finest tanneries. All that at an affordable price tag! And we're doing this by cutting the middle man out and sharing the profits directly with the craftsmen.
And not only that we're giving you a personalized experience and a perfect fit with ZERO extra costs.
The leather is expensive but it's not as expensive as luxury brands make you believe. Big budget brands spend on marketing, advertising, warehousing and pay off half a dozen middlemen.
On top of which they charge you huge margin. We've slashed all the middlemen out and are producing goods for you and shipping directly to your doorstep. That means a big price cut and a fair share to the craftsmen working on the product.
How would you describe MONT5 design and manufacturing philosophy?
There are no major changes in leather jackets design from decades. We work on classic designs and modernize them a bit to meet current needs without disturbing the basics. Large-scale manufacturing processes create bulk quantities and produce goods at lower cost. These methods while cheaper, take the love out & the detail that goes into creating a personalized product. At MONT5 we create each product individually with the help of our skilled craftsmen using traditional processes.
It is very difficult to ensure the sustainability of quality craftsmanship in handmade production. Most important fact is talented craftsmen. Could you tell us about your team?
It certainly is the case. To make sure that jackets are defect free, I have devised 2 layers of quality checking system. Tailor stitch the jacket and make sure everything is perfect. Then the jacket gets checked again against all the custom requirements by my assistant before they get dispatched. We also maintain images of all sent jackets so that we can refer to them in case of any complaint.
How many different types of leather do you use in production? Do your preferred leather types has varied according to the product?
We are using Top Grain Sheep and Calf leather having a different finish for our current jackets collection. We are working with one of the oldest tanneries who only produce high-quality leather using tanning techniques which are being passed on to the next generation from the older one.
All your products are handcrafted and custom made. Could you tell us about your process?
Once we receive custom order details through our webstore i.e mont5.com, we double check all provided measurements with the customer to avoid any confusions in future. These details are passed to Patron master so that he can prepare patron accordingly. Next comes the leather cutting according to the patron. Once it is done, cut leather is passed to stitcher to handcraft it to perfection.
Leather products are aging with us. Could you tell us about your warranty policy?
A Leather jacket is for life and as it gets old it gets more beautiful. That is why we offer a free lifetime warranty to our customers. Anything gets wrong with a jacket, simply send it to us and we will get it sorted.
How many different models of jackets and bags do you offer?
As far as jackets are concerned, we tried to cover all basic styles in our limited collection. We have Bomber, Moto Racer, Double Rider, Cafe Racer, Biker, Flight and Street Fashion styles including in our collection. Regarding bags, we have ladies totes and duffel bags as our main articles.
How often do you change up your collections? How do you follow trends in the fashion market?
Leather jacket designs do not change much and no major changes have occurred us a century. We have improvised classic designs and do not change our offered collection. We try to keep adding more designs though.
Could you tell us about MONT5 products common features?
At MONT5 our main focus is to create Luxurious, Customized, Premier products. Each product is handcrafted and is unique.
Social media platforms are new podiums for fashion brands. What is the importance of social media for you? How can our readers follow MONT5?
We have limited but loyal following on social media. We get a lot of compliments and our business increases with word of mouth marking on social media. No business can survive without a good Social media presence.
How can our readers buy MONT5 products?
Our range can be viewed by visiting MONT5.COM
What is next for you?
With the passage of time, we are growing both vertically and horizontally. I am working on more handmade products which fall under MONT5 philosophy. Can't reveal the detail yet :)
Thank you Zia.