Women who had ordered dresses from Natasha Ahmed, owner of Fabulosity Boutique in Glasgow’s Central Chambers, have taken to social media to express their anger at the fact their gowns had not turned up, or were sent in the wrong size or colour.
Many claimed they had struggled to get a response from Ms Ahmed, who won the Young Achiever of the Year category at the Scottish Asian Business Awards in 2013 and whose outfits have been worn by high profile women including MP Tasmina Sheikh.
The Scotsman can reveal that Fayeema Rahman, from Oxford, won a court case against Ms Ahmed in October last year after she failed to provide the bride-to-be with a dress ordered for the registry office part of her wedding in August 2015.
Ms Ahmed, who recently married and is currently believed to be on honeymoon in Turkey, has issued an apology on her Instagram account to customers, claiming that she had handed responsibility for her business temporarily over to a new employee, who she said had previously worked in a fashion house in Lahore, Pakistan.
Ms Rahman ordered a Â£300 dress and was disappointed to find that the dress delivered did not fit with just weeks to go to her wedding. She sent it back to Ms Ahmed, who had claimed she would fix the problem after Ms Rahman asked an independent tailor to confirm that the measurements had not been followed, but was eventually forced to fork out for a substitute gown for her wedding after the altered dress did not materialise.
A sheriff in Glasgow ruled after a court hearing on 21 October last year that Ms Ahmed should refund Ms Rahman the cost of the dress and pay her expenses of Â£76.
“I had decided just to leave it and move on after that, but I follow her business on social media and I suddenly started noticing that all of these women were commenting, saying they had not received their dresses or there was a problem,” said Ms Rahman. “I was surprised - I had thought I was a one off. I was shocked to see that there were a lot of women, many of whom had paid out a lot more than I had.”
She added: “It was a stressful situation. I had to get married in a dress which was not the one I had chosen, which just wasn’t what I wanted it to be.”
On her own Instagram account, Ms Ahmed posted a lengthy apology to customers, claiming that the new employee had “failed” her. She said that she had decided in January to cut back on orders in the run-up to her own wedding, but felt she would be letting down brides who wanted one of her dresses for their big day.
She said: “I made the tough decision of hiring someone to take care of my business whilst I concentrated on preparing for my wedding.
“However, I can only take full responsibility for what’s happened as I am the owner and director of Fabulosity Boutique.”
A spokeswoman for the firm, who refused to give her name but said she was representing Ms Ahmed while she was on holiday, said around six customers had been affected by late dresses.
She added that the employee hired to cover Ms Ahmed’s absence had been sacked and the company was considering taking legal action against her.
One customer, Issra Layal, a student paediatric nurse, posted on Instagram on Wednesday that her wedding had been “trashed” after her dress had failed to turn up on time.She had paid Ms Ahmed a Â£500 deposit for a dress which she had been promised would be delivered by 24 March in time for a pre-wedding photo shoot.
She said: “I am days away from my wedding, no dress, no veil and no money. I will be pursuing this matter legally.”
Jumma Begum, a solicitor from Luton, received her Fabulosity dress just a day before her wedding on 2 April - in the wrong size and wrong colour - after travelling to Glasgow in October to meet Ms Ahmed in person for a fitting.
She said she had regularly pursued Ms Ahmed since January and was eventually told the dress had been sent from tailors in India, including receiving a copy of a dispatch note claiming it was on its way which she claims did not match the postage date eventually printed on the package.
“It was just so stressful,” she said. “I started a new job in February and it was just impossible to concentrate every day. I felt so embarrassed that we had made such a big deal about this dress, flying up to Scotland to order it - and then this happened. The dress was so loose, it just didn’t fit - but I had no other option.”
Attia Mustaq and her sister in law ordered dresses for Ms Mushtaq’s brother’s wedding last week - but the parcel failed to turn up, leaving them forced to make a last-minute dash into central London to source alternative outfits.
Ms Mustaq, from Luton, said: “We had to get something off the rack. We have been told we will get a refund - and the dresses we ordered, but we haven’t either yet. The lady we spoke to said she would give us the dresses so we could wear them to another event - but what is a bigger occasion than your brother’s wedding?”
A spokeswoman for Fabulosity Boutique said that Ms Layal had been offered help to source an alternative dress before her wedding and had been issued with a refund since her social media post.