FROM AESTHETIC TONES AND COLOURS TO COMFORTABLE TRACKSUITS - 'TOONEYTEEZ' GOT ALL FOR YOU
Brands like TooneyTeez nowadays are bringing fashion trends that feel easy to wear but still look as you made just enough effort to do whatever it is you do during these strange days and nights of Covid time. Whether you have zoom meetings to attend, weekend outings, or in-person work TooneyTeez has a taste of clothing that makes us feel a distinct sense of ease and comfort.
HELLO! had a chat with Fahad Malik, the man behind the design and ideas of TooneyTeez, to know more about the brand and its journey of Success.
Tell us about your brand ‘TooneyTeez’, how it started and what philosophy inspired the name of the brand? The label makes it seem like you only design graphic t-shirts but, we've seen your brand makes everything from athleisure, western wear to casual streetwear.
Well, it all started when I was observing the rise of the e-commerce industry in late 2010. To tell you the truth, I wanted to make a Facebook page with nothing else in my mind. I just clicked on the button create a page, and this t-shirt business popped into my mind. I was curious enough to think of a name, and ideas started bubbling right there. At that time' people were crazy about having fan merch and, so I thought about what I wanted to wear. Being a little obsessed with angry birds, I aspired to come up with a cartoon-related theme. Hence from 'toon' came 'Tooney', and our first hoodie was launched - an angry bird emoji, and it was an instant hit.
From 2011-2017 we were basically selling graphic tees and hoodies, but due to copyright issues and Facebook having strict rules over copyrights, we had to shift our brand’s mood board almost completely. We are still trying to get hold of an official merch, but licensing and paperwork are huge in Pakistan along with the other expenses. As our brand matured, so did our customers. The change we saw was very important, therefore shifting from a cartoon-themed variety to athleisure did not affect us much. The new taste just blended in well with the customer demand, you can say.
What does the market for western wear in Pakistan look like? Do you think we’ve moved past the stage where all high-end fashion focuses on bridal wear?
Our market is growing day by day, and western wear demand is skyrocketing. People want to be in a comfort zone, feeling comfortable without compromising on the overall appearance. 'One outfit fits all' is what TooneyTeez is focusing on at the moment. Whether you're hitting the gym, lounging, want casual work-wear, or partying out with friends, our brand offers a huge range to choose from, and it hits the right spot!
Well yes, Pakistan has moved past that era. You can see many bridal wear designers coming up with athleisure wear, and a new wave of design shift is seen in our industry.
With the COVID-19 pandemic and the global lockdowns, people are mostly working from home. Do you think that has changed the way people dress and think about clothes?
Absolutely! the COVID-19 pandemic has also changed people's demand for clothing with everyone stranded and working from home - they want more and more casual wear, and suddenly we have a new market for loungewear opening. Only four-five months in lockdown and, life is hitting a new normal for most people. Everyone still loves dressing up like before, even with the SOPS that really need to be followed.
Which Pakistani brands doing western wear and athleisure do you think are good enough to compete in the international market?
Well! OUTFITTERS, the only western wear I think can go in the international market.
What international brands inspire you the most? What brands do you wish we could emulate in Pakistan?
Several brands inspire me, as I think H&M and Zara can take a share in the Pakistani market but still, we have to see the buying power of people as in the case if we talk about International chain ’Mango'. Its prices in Pakistan are not generally affordable for a large chunk of the community.
Tell us a little bit about your personal style and design philosophy. What would we find you wearing on a regular day?
Very easy to guess, all day and night in my tracks. And my design philosophy is that I always want to offer something unique to my audience in Pakistan, fresh colours and tones - something that is not common in our country. It does get risky sometimes since the colours I use in the design are much unlikely such as this year; I worked with neon, nude pink, mint, orange color tracksuits - for a moment, I was doubtful that who would wear these colours, but Alhamdulilah we sold out quickly. And the results show how the customers always want something new every day rather than wearing regular colours.
Do you think that we are a fashionable nation? If you could change one thing about the way that Pakistani’s dress, what would it be?
As a nation, we are blessed with a society that accepts both western and eastern clothing. Even our PM has been seen attending meetings wearing Tracksuits and also shalwar kameez and Peshawari chappal. So yes, it is safe to say that we are a fashionable nation. One thing I would love to change is the speed to adapt to the new fashion. The trends change almost every 3months or so, and every season I would love to see our public accepting new ideas and trends rather than waiting for some big shot to wear it, and only then it becomes a statement. It usually takes us 1-2 years behind international trends.
If you could pick an actor/model/superstar to be the face of ‘TooneyTeez’, who would it be? (International or Pakistani)
Fahad Mustafa, the Pakistani actor because I think he can carry our clothes well, or perhaps Ranveer Singh - I love how he always comes up with new tracksuits and colors.
Where do you see ‘TooneyTeez’ in five years?
We want to go global. That's it!