A candid conversation with Mehruz Munir
Zurhem is Mehruz and vice versa; if you have had the chance to visit the atelier earlier, you have already had a first glimpse into the glitzy lifestyle of the genius designer.
Many of Bangladesh's most engaging fashion shows — the ones creating the hype, the ones with the most clicks and energy have two things in common: Zurhem and Mehruz Munir, the Creative Director and Co-Founder at the famed fashion house.
In today's world, when it's all about creating an entire world around the brand and leaving the audience feeling ecstatic, Munir seems to always be a step ahead in time with team Zurhem, and we definitely wanted to know how.
We meet with the artist at Zurhem's Banani atelier, where Munir is dressed in a navy-blue shirt, white jeans and spiked shoes. He shows us around the atelier which is bright, welcoming and proudly hung-up on being glitzy and golden!
Munir realises our amusement and admits, "I am all about being glitzy, glamorous and out there, and frankly speaking Zurhem is all about my obsessions." He adds to impress, "If you aren't 'over the edge' and experimenting, then what have you been doing is my question!"
The first impressions that should naturally come to mind after the introductions: Controversial? Daring? Challenging?
"I have always been controversial. But if I cared, I wouldn't be anywhere close to where I am today. So, people can keep on wondering whatever they want to and I will keep on dazzling them with unparalleled designs as long as I am alive."
Munir seemed annoyed for a millisecond and then he changes his demeanour, "All the negativities in my life actually give me inspiration." He laughs, expressively. "I say, channel those negativities towards something positive."
Our next question was whether Munir was a pseudo–intellectual or a prodigy designer.
Munir had to consciously choose one between the two. His discreet smirk gave away the answer. "Choose for yourself, let me just say how it was before I became the Creative Director at Zurhem. I was always a quiet child, and preferred to stay at home rather than go outside and play with friends. I stayed back and painted for hours. And most strangely, when kids my age (6-7 years) were attempting to replicate cars, houses and perhaps candies, I was drawing and painting human figures and their attires. With time, these drawings just got more detailed. By 12-13 years, I was putting in coordinated shoe-strings and embellishments on my designs. This was when I realised for a fact that I was into Fashion Designing and it was definitely meant for me," confessed Munir.
But the stereotypical South-East Asian thought process would have him stalled for a little longer and Munir would finally graduate from Business School.
"I was able to finally convince my parents about Fashion School after graduation, which is when I went to London School of Fashion to fulfil my childhood dreams."
After learning about the humble beginning of the creative genius we wanted to know more of the hard-hitting truths: the current standing of creativity in Bangladesh.
For someone who has met Munir only on print, it is usual for them to presume the designer to be very calculative, always saying the right things to impress. When in real life, it's interesting to notice how stridently he speaks; remotely fluffy when it comes to his beliefs.
"I personally believe there's a lot of scope for us to improve in the world of designing. Things are definitely moving forward but to make it better, designers must be less focused on the commercial aspect of the art form and more attentive to the experimentations and the creative flair."
This brought us to our next question, Zurhem's future.
Munir was his usual 'calm and bold self' while answering, "It is about time Bangladesh had its own global fashion brand and we are thinking BIG with Zurhem. The pandemic definitely forced a big gap in the process but hopefully things will get back on track soon enough," conveyed Munir.
Our mistaken opinion, assumed a little early: With Zurhem we had seen it all, from tiger prints to grunge suits, it would only take the inexperienced (fashion-wise) to be taken aback by flashier styles.
Munir flinched, "Wait a minute, you can never be unamused at Zurhem. We always have something for you at our atelier to keep you interested," said the designer.
Then he went about to show Zurhem's latest accessories collection including bracelets, tie pins and pocket squares. "You must wait for more, we have plans for an exclusive line of shoes, bags, wallets and what not!"
Oh My God! The future is definitely bright with Mehruz Munir at the steering wheel.
Seat belts are a must!
We are waiting Munir. Dazzle on!
Model: Mehruz Munir
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Styling: Sonia Yeasmin Isha
Hair and Makeup: Shumon Rahat