Hyderabad: Located in the bylanes of Tilak Road in Abids amidst branded clothing stores is a small tailoring shop that has been standing tall for 85 years. Started by M A Rahman, A Rahman and Sons calls itself a ‘premium tailoring company’ and ‘has been stitching and designing classic garments for the aristocracy and alike in Hyderabad’ – its website claims. Totally unperturbed by the growing popularity of readymade high-branded clothing shops, Rahman and Sons enjoys a steady pace of niche customers.
The shop specialises and stitches only sherwani, kurta pyjama and salwar kameez for men. From the Nizams and Nawabs to the current leaders of Majlis-Ittehadul-Muslimeen (MIM) Asaduddin Owaisi and Akbaruddin Owaisi, the shop is a popular choice for many local Hyderabadis. And if you thought it patrons where restricted only to Hyderabad then answer is no. The shop boosts of stitching 7-8 sherwanis for the Prince of Suadi Arabia Prince Bander Bin Faisal and many presidents of India.
Reminiscing the old days Abdul Gaffar, a man of few words and the third-generation owner of the shop says, “I have never learnt anything else in my whole other than silai-bunai (stitching) and this is what I plan to continue going ahead as well. We have not shifted the shop since my grandfather’s time as here more than the brand, the place and stitching matters.”
Ably supported by his brother Abdul Jabbar, Gaffar took over the reins of the shop since a very young age and his father did the same from his grandfather. The family takes pride in their business and is totally unaffected by the changing trends in the market and this can be determined from Gaffar’s confidence when asked about losing any customers he says, “We don’t cater to people who don’t wear our clothing. We have our own loyal customer base and are happy with it. People who believe in quality and correct fitting will definitely come to us,” the 53-year-old pan stained teeth man explains.
Gaffar is all set to hand over the business to his son and the only fourth generation torch-bearer of the business Mohd Arsalan, who is about to complete his graduation. “I want to continue this business as I know it is a historical legacy that needs to saved and taken forward,” Arsalan says with a twinkle in his eyes.
If you thought that family bond only runs among the owners, then one more interesting fact about Rahman and Sons is that the 10 odd workers’ have also learnt stitching from their forefathers. The fathers and grandfathers of these workers used to work for the shop and now their sons work here. And one of the reasons for this is that, according to Gaffar, the kind of stitching they do is very different and unique from others and they cannot trust an outsider with this.
With a price range of Rs 3,000 to Rs 6,000, the shop gets an average of anywhere between 250-300 orders per month and this could go up during festive season. The shop has also set up a website that gets online orders and has been taking the shop places.
Although Gaffar lost his father M A Gafoor in 2015, but the legacy and knowledge left behind still stays with them. “The only thing that my father always practiced and taught us was to treat customers with utmost care and provide quality clothing. That is the reason our stitched clothes have a shelf life of at least 10 years while the readymade ones start lose their shine in 3-4 years times,” Gaffar explains.
While the shop definitely caters to all stitching needs but it also offers a glimpse of clothing history while keeping the old tradition still intact.