By Cue Sibiya
Custom clothing is not for everyone, it is for the businessman who knows what he wants. This is a revelation that was reached by Ismail Moosa, who founded Esteem Silk Bazaar in Pretoria. Esteem Silk Bazaar, which started operating in 1940, began by selling menswear, mostly suits and footwear as well as limited quantity of ladies footwear. Then, unfortunately, came the Group Areas Act and this bustling, vibrant community was broken forever.
This did not, in no way, deter Moosa from pursuing his passion for retail – which has seen three generations follow in the footsteps of Father and Grandfather. In 1952, Moosa moved to Vrededorp and established a business focused primarily on baby wear, clothing and accessories. Soon, he started to retail menswear again and this led to him establishing The Suit Centre in 1974 and then Khaliques (PTY) trading as the suit centre. This was where a thriving business began, through his resilience and passion for menswear. Like most entrepreneurs at that time, Moosa was self-funded.
To generate more traction in the public, Moosa began advertising his business with a slogan which became prominent at that time – “it’s not a rumour, it’s a fact”.
The business moved to the Plaza in 1980 and it was the first time that the Khaliques brand was exposed to a market which soaked up the suits, shirts and footwear, items that were sworn to be excellent quality and value for money.
The name Khaliques originates from Ismail’s son Khalik, who took over the business after Moosa’s death in 1986. Khalik Moosa, armed with the lessons learnt from his father, continued to deliver on the value and quality promise. He, to this day, has not forgotten the relationships built with the suppliers in the garment industry in South Africa, who helped his father in the early days. He has always maintained that courtesy and honesty, as well as an intimacy with suppliers and customers has helped the Khaliques brand develop into what has become the largest independent men’s suit retailer.
Khaliques has since opened a second store in Sandton, at Laico Isle, Rivonia Road, followed by Cedar Square, and a store in the new Mall of Africa.
When it comes to the international market, Khaliques currently have agreements with Bally of Switzerland to distribute men’s footwear and leatherwear, as well as leisure bags from Piquadro in Milan. In 2015, the Moosa family secured International Luxury menswear brand Ermenegildo Zegna and opened the first fully fledged Ermenegildo Zegna store in Southern Africa, situated in the Diamond Walk in Africa’s richest square mile – Sandton City.
The Khaliques brand offers the most comprehensive range of men’s suit and business wear in both locally manufactured as well as imported brands, such as Loro Piana and Vitale Barberis Canonico. They have a comprehensive selection of Leather footwear and shirts and leather accessories.
As new competition has increased, Khaliques has faced it head on, with the principles of the founder always the focus of attention: “Know your customer, offer value and quality and make sure you service your customer, and innovate.”
Khaliques has also introduced convenient online e–commerce solutions. The digital and technological distribution is run by Ismail, Khalik’s youngest son who has his eye firmly set on meeting the challenges that technology and e–commerce brings.
Going forward, the group has its eye firmly on building the brand equity in the group, intend on creating loyal and passionate customers, never forgetting the values of the founding fathers.