City Landmarks – Ahmed din Tailors, Saddar

People at Ahmed din Tailors belong to a different era. So does the building. It can be a century old. There are wooden beams and old fashioned ceiling fans. Walls are made of stone and are very thick. There is a tree that shadows the courtyard at the far end. You can hear the birds and you can feel the cool breeze standing there. There is a functional hand pump in this small courtyard. There is no direct sunlight here but there is gentle light which makes entire setting look even softer. You can’t help but wonder how such a setting still exists in heart of Saddar, right at the Elphinstone street.

Ahmed din setup his business before partition. He had made his name in Quetta and Sialkot already before the business was setup in Karachi. Therefore his son, Fazal Elahi did not have any problem getting business in Karachi as his father’s clients simply continued with him here. He had specialized in making caps for airline staff and for the armed forces. His reputation for finesse meant steady business and soon his sons, Khurshid, Rasheed and Javaid joined him. At one point in time they had around a dozen employees, as Khursheed the eldest son fondly tells me. However they don’t have any workers now, as they prefer to rely on their own skill. The entire setup consists of a main hall, a courtyard and few smaller rooms at the back. The main hall has old Singer sewing machines with pedals. They prefer to keep it manual and never switched to machine operated sewing machines. Javaid tells me that they find them more reliable and trust worthy. They deliver quality that new machines can’t, he insists. Ahmeduddin Tailors can be a Singer Museum looking at number of vintage machines!

Past cartons ready for shipment, I see two portraits. One of them is that of Ahmed din, a studio photo of the grand father of three brothers. Next to him is a sketch of Fazal Elahi, the father of three brothers. Khurshid tells me that they got the sketch done by a street artist who used to sit on Elphinstone street. I ask him about the artist’s whereabouts but he tells me that he’s operating from somewhere else now. I ask Javaid, if his son will join him and his brothers and he smiles. He tells me that he does not want to and left for Dubai some years ago where he has a technical job. Is this how old crafts die?

There is another, a smaller shop in middle of the street where the business was originally setup. Khursheed usually sits there. Standing there, I can see Elphi – as Yousufi would call it – in distance.


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Categories: City Landmarks

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One Comment on “City Landmarks – Ahmed din Tailors, Saddar”

  1. Zafar yab
    May 22, 2019 at 6:25 pm #

    Thanks for sharing . . .

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