Nestled in central Christchurch rests the headquarters of one of New Zealand’s most promising retail startups. Summer Souk is the newest destination for designer South Asian fashion. After a challenging experience sourcing her own bridal trousseau remotely from India, founder Farah Ali wanted to make it easier to shop Indo-Western and Eastern apparel in Australasia. By starting an online boutique, she became the point of contact between shoppers and designers. Farah had opened the doors to a more stylish future for Australasia and beyond. Read on to learn more about this visionary entrepreneur. And shop Summer Souk with the code BNBxSS for 10% off your purchase sitewide!
Farah Ali can usually be found hard at work in her home office, a warm and organized space that also houses her colorful collection of curated merchandise. As she looks out over her tree-lined street, she can see the Avon River, a reminder of what a beautiful and inspiring city Christchurch is to operate in. Currently, it is wintertime down under, so she prefers dressing in classic, effortless pieces like an oversized sweater or wool dress. But with her flair for fashion, she usually adds a bold statement piece or bright polish. Her look is punctuated by elegance and comfort — two hallmarks of her style philosophy, which shine through her curated collection for Summer Souk.
How It Began
Farah was destined for a career in creative entrepreneurship. With an education in art academics and experience in business development, Summer Souk seemed inevitable. The idea for the business began when searching for her bridal trousseau. She had no local point of contact to assist her. While procuring her wardrobe, she came across so many talented designers; she thought, “It would be amazing if there were a local platform that enabled quality designers from this region to be showcased to the world.” And the seed for the venture was planted.
For Farah, bringing Summer Souk to the Australasian market was a turning point for the region. “When the idea for the store began, there were no other regional platforms for “Indian” wear…I truly believe that we are unique in our vision of providing a more extensive platform for both new and established designers.” In her first year, she introduced emerging designers like Sapana Amin, Ka Sha and Surendri by Yogesh Chaudhry and showcased established designers like Payal Singhal and Hemant & Nandita to Australasians. Each month she continues to add more designers to the shop, an indication of how quickly Summer Souk has grown and how effectively Farah has chosen designers.
Why Brides Love Summer Souk
Through her own experience, Farah also realizes how much more personalized weddings have become. Couples increasingly look for ways to express themselves. To cater to these discerning couples, Summer Souk offers free styling and customized wardrobe design services. “We assist in sourcing a complete look, from apparel and jewelry to accessories and footwear. We also provide an option to create custom garments from scratch based on the client’s budgets and needs.”
Brides love this service because they have a liaison working for them to ensure their garments are customized quickly and efficiently. This eliminates the hassle of worrying about missed deadlines or incorrect sizing. Instead, brides can focus on other wedding duties, knowing that their bridal trousseau is taken care of.
Summer Souk only works with top design houses to ensure garments are always made with quality materials and finishings. Farah believes in protecting the integrity of a designer’s work so she does not advocate exact reproductions. “A garment produced with quality materials, even when it’s simple, is much more elegant in style and movement than something produced with less quality or cheaper materials. I want to produce the best quality and most elegant design for our clients and I want them to feel truly beautiful, comfortable and unique in what they wear.”
How to Shop
Although it began as a way to serve the local population in Australasia, Summer Souk is also available internationally. Shop online or contact Farah to be styled (a complimentary service) for your next event. It’s the attention to detail and personal service that sets Summer Souk apart from other online South Asian retailers. Look out for the new line of suzani bedding and embroidered silk shirts coming soon. Don’t forget to use code BNBxSS for 10% off your purchase sitewide.
Check back tomorrow for an exclusive look at how to style pieces from Summer Souk with Farah Ali!
All images courtesy of Summer Souk.