Imran Khan is a tailoring talent spotter, always on the lookout for the best in the business to create suiting masterpieces for his client list of discerningly dapper dressers.
With the help of his expert team at IK Collection in Bradford, Imran makes clothes for men who love to dress impeccably and with pure panache. If you have an awards ceremony or a wedding coming up, Imran is your man, the go-to bespoke tailor for those who prefer to wear something distinctive and striking. He has made clothes for TV presenter David Dickinson, Harry Potter actor Rupert Grint and the late magician Paul Daniels. Boxer Amir Khan, a friend and favourite client, often wears the brand to special events. Actor Jimmi Harkishin, who plays Dev in Coronation Street, is a recent client, as is Duncan James from boy band Blue, who chose IK Collections’ Monte Carlo shevani with handwork on it. “He loves bright stuff,” Imran says.
Leeds-based DJ and music producer Tom Zanetti has also recently discovered IK Collection and modelled the brand at a recent photoshoot at Bradford’s White Abbey Hall.
There are three IK Collection shops, at Newcastle, Manchester and the headquarters in Bradford’s Westgate. This opened in 2016 and it’s where many of the clothes are made in a studio at the back of the showroom. The shop specialises in sherwanis, knee-length jackets crafted in luxe fabrics and beautifully embellished, worn as wedding outfits by grooms and male wedding guests. “The Asian wedding market is massive – the average wedding costs about £30,000,” Imran says.
Now 38, Imran lives in Bradford with his wife, Iram. He left school at 16, having struggled with dyslexia, but he was good at sketching. He found a job at Dixons car dealership, where he met Giles Castleton, of GC Motors in Harrogate, and worked there for more than 10 years, selling Lamborghinis, Bentleys and McLarens. He credits his old boss with giving him invaluable support and advice and still meets up with him once a month. “It’s good to talk to him. He’s the one that inspires me,” Imran says.
Imran began designing by making clothes for himself, and was soon being asked to make clothes for friends and acquaintances. Now he leads the makers at his Bradford shop. “The sherwanis are still made in Mumbai but the suits and blazers, we make them here.”
They use cloth from local factories including John Foster, Dugdale Brothers and Bateman Ogden. Imran does the cutting, while the stitching is done by Sofia Bortnik, who worked for many years at that very same shop with renowned Bradford tailor Ray Lister, who had his own tailoring business for more than half a century. Last year, aged 81, Mr Lister was persuaded out of retirement by Imran. “The tailoring he does, it’s so good,” Imran says, adding that Mr Lister brings the full bespoke-style experience, working under the banner of Ray Lister Tailoring The Savile Row of the North.
Next Imran has plans to expand into shoes and bridalwear later this year. In the meantime, he is keeping alive those traditional bespoke skills we are in danger of losing, while making a name for himself as tailor to the stars.
IK Collection is on Westgate in Bradford and on www.ikcollection.co.uk. Suits start from £895, with canvas based suits from £1,600. Sherwanis cost from £1,000.