Vintage flair for city

La Chic boutique Beatrice Nand (left), Ani Stark, Sharnita Lal and Daiana Rokowati at their shop in Mid City, Suva Picture: SOPHIE RALULU

Owner of one of Suva’s few high-end clothing boutiques is making plans to open a vintage clothing store. Director of Black Salt Holdings Ltd and owner of La Chic, Asad Khan has seen success in his apparel business in Fiji.

His store, located in the Mid-City complex, sees a more refined clientele as the store specializes in niche and branded clothing.

Mr Khan hopes to start another store in Suva in the near future. He is currently in the procurement phase of this plan, saying that may be the hardest part as he’d like for the store to sell authentic vintage clothing from the 60s to 80s and finding enough clothing pieces to start such a store is a time-consuming process.

“Every city needs a vintage clothing store and we have none in the country so I thought we should make that happen,” he said when asked where the idea comes from.

La Chic, which opened its doors in Suva about nine years ago, is operated under Black Salt, apparel importers and exporters that have branched out into other business sectors, recently starting a construction company.

The company owns and operates six stores, four of which are clothing stores in Suva.

Much of their merchandise is imported from Australia. The store carries clothing from T-shirts and denim shorts to coats and blazers.

It also boasts an impressive range of branded watches, shoes, bags, and other accessories. Customers are all but guaranteed a stylish and unique look as the store carries only one piece of each item and gets new stock nearly every week.

The style displayed often matches the weather so customers have the opportunity stock up their seasonal wardrobes.

A second store on the ground floor of the same complex carries more affordable pre-loved items. Despite being high-end, the service provided at La Chic on the second floor is friendly and personal.

Beatrice Saddique, La Chic store manager, keeps loyal and returning customers updated about new stock and particular pieces they may be interested in via social media. She said this began not with her but by request from a few returning customers who about a year ago asked that she reach out whenever new stock in their styles arrived.

She now has more than 30 customer contacts and sends mass updates whenever their stock is “topped up”.

A loyal customer who has shopped at La Chic for over five years said she checks in frequently because “La Chic always comes through with the quality, the style, the variety in brands and sizes, you’ve got everything here.”

“Once there was a flapper party, a 1920s themed party that I had to go to and I found my whole outfit here; sequined dress, fur shawl, and a headpiece.

“There’s already a bit of vintage here.” She said she’s even been able to find Swarovski Crystals on occasion.

She said she’s come into the store for outfits for gala dinners to work wear and swimwear.

“You can tell the clothes here are handpicked by somebody with an eye for fashion because every piece has some kind of flair”, she said when the HR Administrator for Black Salt Jane Goundar mentioned that the owner carefully chooses the items he imports for the store.

Ms Goundar says she shops at La Chic herself and is eager to begin work on the vintage clothing store which, according to the owner, may be ready as early as next year.

La Chic recently updated their stock of women’s clothes and the store is ready for graduation season. And should a customer struggle to find their style or size, the friendly staff is ever eager to help and can always be found sharing a laugh as they wait.

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