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Lobos Tailors, Dubai

23 July 2015

A Bur Dubai mainstay since 1978, Lobo Tailors is a city institution, clothing generations of local dignitaries, famous cricketers and high-flying businessmen

Leafing through Mushtaq Shaikh’s old photographs of his store, the faded pictures tell the tale of a city and business transformed – Lobo Tailors was once a lone building in a quiet street. Now, the area known as Meena Bazaar in Bur Dubai is a hive of activity and Lobo Tailors has grown from a staff of three into a larger store location and a corporate warehouse near Dubai’s airport, employing more than 200 tailors.

“They now call Lobo’s the Savile Row of Dubai,” the good-natured businessman proudly says.

Shaikh arrived in Dubai from India in the 1960s as a young man. He first worked on Dubai’s roads, helping to build the UAE’s early infrastructure before some time later moving to a position with a government department. He had no background as a tailor but borne out of a frustration at a lack of quality craftsmanship and service, he spent his life savings on buying his first store.

Lobo Tailors has since grown into a mini empire. Shaikh’s store is lined with rows of fine wool suiting fabric, imported from Germany, Italy, England and India, while his crisp cottons, for clients’ business shirts, are flown in from Switzerland. Lobo Tailors handcrafts tailor-made suits for men and women, as well as gowns and silk blouses for his female clientele. The store has been welcoming many of the same clients for more than 20 years and all of Lobo Tailors’ suits, shirts and gowns are made in Dubai.

Shaikhs says: “Our clientele are the crème-de-la-crème, Dubai residents and international visitors. While, our first corporate client was Dubai Duty Free!”

As Lobo Tailors’ skilled tailors busily and meticulously sew and press the soft fabrics chosen by clients, it’s clear the store is in demand. But what makes a good suit?

“The fabric and stitching are very important and so is obviously the fit. If you buy an off-the-peg suit, the fit is always a compromise. Our tailor-made suits are always very good quality,” Shaikh smiles.

An elegant gentleman, who has arrived for his final fitting, tries on a crisp charcoal suit, cut to perfection. Adil Toubia, a group chief executive in Dubai, says he always buys his suits at Lobo Tailors: “I’ve been coming here for 25 years. We all come here for the quality of the service.”

Shaikh, who has made suits for the likes of Ian Botham and Viv Richards, and who has just completed a corporate order of 200 suits for the International Cricket Council, says this is why Lobo Tailors in still in business more than 25 years after first opening its doors.

The businessman says: “Our clients come here for the quality of work and our service. Sometimes, they may try someone else, who offers a suit a little cheaper but they always come back to me! I have had clients, who told me that even after seven years they are still wearing the pair of trousers that we made them.”

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