Chandana R Dewan, taking part in the Bangladesh Fashion Week 2017, in London is representing the unique tribal fashion existent in Bangladesh.
The designer reveals that our country has exceptional, indigenous tribal fashion that has not been explored thoroughly. She wants to reveal the distinctiveness; to the global audience with a touch of her own.
“I believe we have many things to showcase; the tribal fashion is just one of them. I hope to do justice to the rare form of styling and bring about our heritage to the world frontier. Bangladesh Fashion Week is definitely a positive approach to appear to the global audience.”
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Make-up: Farzana Shakil's Makeover Salon
Styling: Sonia Yeasmin Isha
The upsurge of Bangladeshi fashion in the global arena
With more people migrating to foreign lands every year, there is a huge population who look for traditional clothing that resonates with local cultures. Many people of Bangladeshi origin prefer to wear saris or other traditional outfits on Eid, Pahela Boishakh, Puja, weddings, birthdays, etc, and it is not possible for them to freight all from their home country. With local brands taking their ready-to-wear fashion abroad, people now have easy, convenient choices.
Local Bangladeshi brands are picking locations strategically to open outlets preferably near localities where people from Southeast Asia mostly reside. Men, women and children can easily try on the latest trends before making a pick. However, in this day and age, the internet has opened the door for brands to trade effortlessly. People are easily able to select their favourites online and get it shipped to their homes. So, the physical outlet no longer plays the major role in some cases.
To focus on this thriving fashion industry of Bangladesh, and to show it true global reach, the British Bangladesh Fashion Council (BBFC) held their annual flagship Bangladesh Fashion Week for the second time on October 7, 2017. The BBFC is a social enterprise and not for profit company set up to deliver training, work experience and networking opportunities, it says. There is a slew of well-known and up and coming designer brands as well as makeup artists participating in the gala, including such as Rina Latif, Chondon, Bibiana, Mayasir, Kuhu's Wearable Art, Sahar Rahman, 1972 Jewellery, Asheka Hossain, Ruji London, and Zurhem. The event is headlined by Kaniz Ali as makeup artist, with the Cactus Agency supporting with their range of talented individuals.
– LS Desk
ON 'GOING GLOBAL'
“Global customers are keen about ethnicity and authentic products. Bangladesh has a rich heritage — Muslin, Jamdani, Endi silk, Tribal fabrics, Gamcha, Nakshi, etc.
After years of research and hard work we have now been able to somewhat revive our past glory. The texture and design of our clothes are constantly improving. This is our time- 'the high time'-to showcase our products to the world, to a global clientele.
By going global, we bring our country to the world stage, we showcase our heritage, our artisans, designs and talent — we create global brands and worldwide recognition. Hence it is very important that as designers we work on brand building, exclusive cuts/fits, high quality fabrics and designs. The rest of the world is already way ahead and we must not fall behind.
For local fashion designers, shows and events like these are more than welcoming. In the coming years, this trend needs to continue to place Bangladeshi fashion in the international fashion arena.”
-- Chandana R. Dewan of Chondon
TAKING BANGLADESHI FASHION TO NEW HEIGHTS
It goes without saying that in this age of social media there is no alternative to promoting one's own line-up virtually, along with maintaining a brick and mortar existence. While the saying goes that the 'right hash-tag' can get you anywhere, designers catering to niche markets do need to showcase their works in a broader style.
While some have the good fortune of being extremely lucky from the start, the rest have to depend on their networking and determination to flourish. Fashion shows can only work as a step towards success, the rest boils down to the individual's capacity to grow and accommodate.
Bangladeshi fashion designers are upping the ante with local clothing line ups with enticing designs. But that's the local side of the story. The designers need to incorporate fusion wear to make these appealing to the western eye as well.
In this particular case of globalising Bangladeshi fashion, learning from the 'now-famous' is not necessarily the only process. Fashion designers need to embrace the runaway as an art form in terms of styling, crafting and storytelling.
The local fabric designs are very appealing worldwide, yet as unfortunate as it is, Bangladeshi or South Asian fashion is not very global in essence. The fashion world of now requires everything to be as globalised as possible and then some more.
Starting from the designers to the fashion journalists and right down to the promoters — to take Bangladeshi Fashion to new heights on the global platform, there is no space to see these as separate entities any more.
-- LS Desk
Special thanks to Saadat Chowdhury, Chairman of Zurhem