Stitching culture: Shafayet Hossain Khan’s ode to Bangladeshi traditions
The wedding pictures of celebrated actor, Mousumi Hamid clad in a red Benarasi with a radiant smile on her face still lingers in our minds. The designer of her bridal attire, Shafayet Hossain Khan, owner and designer of KhanSaab Studio, has tirelessly worked day and night to turn Mousumi's vision into a reality. While Mousumi Hamid's wedding outfit has garnered plenty of attention, the genius behind this well-crafted ensemble, Shafayet Hossain Khan shares his story with us.
In the heart of Mirpur, almost a decade ago, Shafayet's brainchild, KhanSaab Studio, was born out of a passion for traditional attire. Reflecting on the inspiration behind KhanSaab Studio, Shafayet recounts, "A decade ago, driven by a passion for traditional attire, I founded KhanSaab Studio in a small factory in Mirpur. Our F-commerce start-up gradually evolved to showcase innovative Bangladeshi ethnic wear, focusing on Jamdani, organza muslin, Benarasi, katan, taant, silk, khadi, and cotton saris."
In a country like ours, it is not easy for start-up owners to keep their businesses thriving without encountering a few roadblocks along the way.
"The absence of initial capital posed a significant obstacle, but I leveraged every opportunity and tirelessly improved my skills. Today, KhanSaab Studio is a thriving enterprise with an in-house studio where our artisans passionately craft their designer masterpieces," Shafayet shares.
Convincing a modern audience to embrace traditional attire requires more than just passion – it demands a strategy that would make traditional garments like saris appealing to contemporary tastes. Shafayet keeps his designs authentic along with the promotion of minimal statement looks.
"I believe in creating designs that resonate with a timeless aesthetic, allowing for versatile pairings. This encourages fashion ethos where the same clothing items can be worn several times, each time presenting a fresh and unique statement. It's an invitation to embrace a wardrobe that evolves with personal style, reducing the need for constant consumption," he elaborates.
Speaking about his designs, Shafayet says that floral and Mughal-era motifs inspire him immensely but he is not afraid to experiment.
"Zardozi is a very intricate and heavy embroidery, but I try to simplify the designs. Most of my designs have Zardozi embroidery on them and this is one of my specialities. Along with Zardozi, sometimes we have to use imported fabrics and materials sourced from India and China to develop our seasonal collections, if there are any special requirements – which feature patchwork, applique, hand embroidery, block, Aari embroidery, and mirror work."
Shafayet has taken the initiative to empower artisans and connect with the community and beyond. He said, "My mission is to empower artisans and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Bangladesh that remains steadfast. I always ensure the weavers I work with receive their fair wages. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, when my business was facing financial instability, I made sure my in-house artisans received their due salary."
Reflecting on such impactful experiences, Shafayet recounts, "Paying salaries to my first employees was empowering. For me, it marked the beginning of a journey where creativity thrives and opportunities are generated for others."
With the expansion of KhanSaab Studio, Shafayet hopes to inspire individuals to embrace their roots and express their unique style through the timeless elegance of his hand-made designer attires.
Shafayet's vision for the future is ambitious and clear. "I see Bangladesh capturing a significant market share in designer heritage textiles shortly. As my enterprise flourishes, I remain committed to nurturing artistic talents and exploring innovative design avenues," he says.
Shafayet's relentless dedication to his craft and designs has created a legacy that transcends the boundaries of traditional textile craftsmanship, making KhanSaab Studio a symbol of cultural pride and innovative fashion.
If you wish to see KhanSaab Studio's collection, please visit – https://www.facebook.com/khansaab1988/ or contact +8801975955151.