Fashion House South Africa

Fashion House South Africa

Fashion House is a fourth generation textile distribution company based in Johannesburg, South Africa. The company was established in 1940 and  now employs the fourth generation "Nexters" of the Cassim family.

In 1916, Mahmood Cassim immigrated to South Africa from India, aged sixteen. South Africa at the time was a blossoming young economy full of natural resources and promise. A gold rush had started in 1886 and Johannesburg was considered  a modern-day "El Dorado". This newfound wealth created opportunities attracting people from all parts of the world.

For many years this promise seem to be materializing. Mahmood worked for his uncle after arriving. He steadily built up enough funds to open his open company. Fashion House was established on 7 March 1940. In 1948 he had to navigate a new challenge, Apartheid. The South African government implemented laws restricting non-whites. This disrupted the momentum that my Mahmood had been building.

In 1964 he passed away, passing on not much more than a good name to his son, Abuh Bakhar Cassim. Abuh was ambitious and quickly transformed Fashion House in to a promising retail store.

The company transitioned into a wholesale distributor in the 1970's. At the time Indian immigrants dominated the retail textile trade and these businesses become a natural target market for Fashion House. Moving up the value chain in any industry requires an appetite for risk. Fortunately it was a calculated risk as Abuh had developed a good relationship with local manufactures. “We’ve always maintain excellent relationships with our suppliers and customers alike. They are an extension of our family,” said Abuh Bakhar Cassim.

Today, Fashion House's clients are far more diversified and include manufacturers, retailers as well as other wholesalers across Southern Africa. Trade coverage and support includes: Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho and all of South Africa.

With a trade track record stretching back almost seventy-five years, Fashion House is also a broad network of suppliers from across the globe. “We’ve developed a global network of suppliers. This allows us to monitor international trends and it is a platform that allows us to source quality products at the right price,” notes Abuh Bakhar Cassim.

The company recently revised its logo to reflect a new direction. The previous logo wasn’t reflective of the company’s premium product offering. Over the past four months the company has rolled out its new logo across electronic and paper channels.  

Africa remains a continent full of promise. It is one of the fastest growing regions in the world. Manufacturers looking to capture some of this growth need look no further than an established partner like Fashion House from which to source products.

The "Nexters" in the Cassim family have been demonstrating an entrepreneurial spirit. Next Generation Lab is spin-off of the family business. It consults to other family businesses with a specific focus on innovation. Other members of the family are diversifying the family’s revenue generation in the automobile industry.

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