Shrewsbury tailor who fled Afghanistan makes move to new premises

A Shrewsbury man who fled Afghanistan’s Taliban regime for a new life celebrated 20 years as a UK tailor with a move to new town centre premises.

Martin Sarfraz of Shrewsbury Top Tailoring
Martin Sarfraz of Shrewsbury Top Tailoring

Having originally learned his craft through the knowledge and skills handed down from his father, Martin Sarfraz has been repairing and altering clothing and accessories since he was 13.

He moved to the UK in 2001 and started work for Barbour in Birmingham, making the brand’s famous wax jackets. Five years ago, he established Shrewsbury Top Tailoring and used spare time during the recent lockdown to relocate from The Pride Hill Centre to a new shop in St John’s Hill.

Open six days a week, with an express same-day service available where the need arises, his business offers a full range of tailoring for men, women, and children’s clothing; as well as garments for animals; including suits, jackets, trousers, military uniforms, prom and wedding dresses, handbags and in one instance even a horse-riding saddle!

A self-confessed workaholic, whose job is second only to his wife and two children, Martin said: “I have many regular Shrewsbury-based customers and some who travel from as far away as west Wales, Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham, to bring their clothes for me to alter.

"I love my job but also enjoy chatting to them and hearing their stories.”

Commenting on how the industry has changed since he started out in 2001, Martin added: “The skills are basically the same and even though I still use some of the old machinery for use with heavier fabric my new, technologically advanced sewing machines, enable me to provide a quicker turnaround of items.

"I also have to keep up with changing trends and fashions and so I’m more than happy to re-style or repair old favourites, one of which recently included a very well-worn Barbour jacket."

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