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Drapers Top 100 2017 – 91. Qasim Akhlaq, managing director, Public Desire

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Qasim Akhlaq’s entry into the Top 100 rankings this year reflects the rapid growth and influence that Public Desire is starting to have across the footwear sector under his leadership. Having only launched the Manchester-based etailer in 2012, Akhlaq has taken it from strength to strength. This is demonstrated through two big wins this year: Best Online Footwear Offer at the Drapers Footwear Awards in May, and the Best Use of Social Media at the Drapers Digital Awards in April.

Rather than resting on his laurels, Akhlaq ventured into bricks-and-mortar retailing for the first time in September via a wholesale tie-up with Soletrader. He also negotiated Public Desire’s launch on Zalando at the end of September. But Akhlaq maintains bigger aspirations to launch Public Desire own stores in both the UK and the US.

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