Haniffa Textiles was founded by O K Mohamed Haniffa in 1962. Haniffa was born into a poor family in Tamil Nadu, India. In 1955, he travelled to Malaysia at the age of 15 to help his father who was a hawker. In 1957, Haniffa made the decision to work in Singapore. When he arrived, he found work as a shop assistant at Jalan Besar, and had to work from 7am to 11pm daily. The hardships he experienced made him even more determined to succeed. He borrowed some money to purchase textiles from a trader in Arab Street on consignment.
Mohamed then started his own roadside shop at Campbell Lane, in front of a laundry shop owned by a Chinese family who had kindly allowed him to use the space. Haniffa eventually rented the entire ground level of the shop and started Haniffa Textiles. When it first opened, Haniffa Textiles sold only textiles but later expanded its range of merchandise to include jewellery, electronics, toiletries, food and other products. By 1992, Haniffa had expanded into a space covering eight shop spaces at Dunlop Street. Today, the shop remains best known for its silk saris.