Known for superb quality and expert workmanship, Aslan Musai of A & P Musai Leather Jackets shares his wonderful story of how he came to trading in custom-made leather at Dandenong Market.
Aslan was born in the city of Struga in the ex- Yugoslavia (now known as Macedonia). Yugoslavia at that time was under communist rule.
During the 1970’s when Aslan turned 18, he was able to get a passport and chose to move to France. Aslan lived in Paris for three years and spent his time working in a garment factory. He eventually learnt the trade of sewing, pattern and dress making for men’s clothing.
Whilst in France, Aslan lost his passport. This presented a problem. To return home to Yugoslavia to apply for another passport meant he would be drafted into the army. But, with no identification he soon realised that he’d eventually have to make the journey back home. Aslan wasn’t drafted into the army straight away. During the six months of waiting in Sturga, he met his future wife Pakiza.
Serving 15 months in the army, his then-girlfriend Pakiza had decided that she wanted to move to Australia where her father was living. It was a big decision for Aslan. If he was to marry Pakiza would he want to move to Australia where he had no family? Aslan decided that he would follow his heart and make the move.
In 1979 Aslan and Pakiza married and within a week she moved to Australia while Aslan stayed in Yugoslavia. Once Aslan received his approved visa six months later, he moved to Australia and joined his wife.
Aslan started working in a rubber mill factory where he worked 12 hour days. He worked at the factory for seven months before finding a new job in wheel installations at ACA. Aslan worked here for five years.
In 1985, Aslan began working at Atelier in Chapel Street where he returned to his trade, sewing and making men’s clothing. With a wealth of experience behind him, Aslan and Pakiza decided to go into business for themselves.
In 1987 they set up a business at the Dandenong Market designing and selling custom-made leather jackets, vests and skirts. The pair also sold other items including saddlebags to motorbike gear.
Fast forward to 2021, and Aslan one of the Market’s longest-selling traders. His business still offers customers a choice of fashionable leather jackets and vests at good quality prices.