Shrewsbury tailor who fled troubles in Afghanistan for new life in the UK celebrates 20 years in the industry with move to new premises

May 5, 2021

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

Having originally learnt 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! With the capacity and machinery to work on a variety of materials from fine lace to the toughest leather, his reputation is such that many of Shrewsbury’s outfitters and clothing stores refer their customers to Shrewsbury Top Tailoring where alterations are required.

A self-confessed workaholic, whose job is second only to his wife and two children, Martin Sarfraz 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 continued: “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!”

Pictures: Martin Sarfraz, Shrewsbury Top Tailoring.