The exhibit opened in full swing in a chic-modernist makeover of the gallery that still paid a touching nod to the roots of Bengal in its spectacular showpieces.
Tina Jabeen, Managing Director of Start Up Bangladesh, an initiative to catalyse a startup revolution in the country, served as the special guest and inaugurated the opening. Fifteen members of FDCB displayed their clothes in dangling racks that filled half the room. Amongst the designers, you would recognise Kuhu Plamondon, Tenzing Chakma, Farah Anjum Bari, Lipi Khandaker, Chondona Dewan and Shahrukh Amin, among others.
"In a post-pandemic world, it's important we come back to our roots. This fashion exhibition is a means to just that end. Everything in this room, from the motifs and embroidery in pictures to the weaves and fabrics on display has been done by the artisans of our country; this is basically us as a country!" said Shaibal Saha, General Secretary of FDCB. When talking about his collection, he explained, "White is the perfect offset to stress and so, I wanted my designs to be bold enough in white and be soothing enough to look at and wear."
Clothes were not the only thing on display Thursday night; extraordinary captures of slow embroidery that can be traced back hundreds of years such as the Mayan and Borneo civilisations hung in walls to captivate the soul of anyone who stood before them. Also found in frames were prints of vintage Nakshi Kantha pieces that had been meticulously acquired from the archives of Philadelphia Museum of Art.
TGIF 'cause other than the uniquely-curated pieces of fashion by members of the FDCB that continued to be on display, a special book launch stood to be the highlight of the evening. A much sought-after collection of memoirs depicting snippets from TRESemmé Fashion Week 2020 was launched with the idea of empowering women. The book reveals stories of how TRESemmé has been instrumental in boosting women's confidence by empowering her to rise and meet modern-day challenges. TRESemmé strives to hand women the tools to look and feel glamorous with salon-styled hair from the comfort of their homes.
The Ambassador of Denmark to Bangladesh, Winnie Estrup Petersen, served as one of the chief guests for Day 2 by uncovering the book. She stood in solidarity with Bangladesh's RMG sector by tweeting about the power the country holds in its untold stories of tapestry.
A flash fashion show concluding the exhibit for the day was also hosted to further put emphasis on sustainable fashion. Interestingly enough, the fashion show consisted of 15 handpicked pieces by every one of the members of FDCB as a means to highlight their best work. The designers whose work you would recognise on the ramp included the likes of Tasfia Ahmed, Afsana Ferdousi, Rifat Rahman, Sadia Rashid, Faiza Ahmed, and Hosna Emdad.
The last day of this weekend affair stood to be the most happening one yet, as Emdad Hoque delivered the opening speech paying due tribute to the centennial birth anniversary of the founding leader of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Speaking of, Maheen Khan, the fashion designer who needs no introduction and president of FDCB, pulled our focus back on what really matters: staying true to our roots.
"We're working in the spirit of Bangabandhu, our Father of the Nation and it is his unfailing exuberance to build and produce everything that is Bangladeshi. Bangabandhu had such a keen liking of khaadi that it became his signature style. We, at FDCB, promise to grow this industry with all our will and determination. We want to work with the smallest but the most significant communities and bring their work to the fore. We want to work with master artisans hand-in-hand and create delightful but functional pieces fit for the modern lifestyle," she states.
Deputy Minister of Education, Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury Nowfel and European Union Ambassador, Rensje Teerink, along with Unilever Bangladesh Limited, Beauty and Personal Care Director, Afzal Hasan Khan graced the event with their presence.
The closing speech was entrusted upon Shabit Shafiullah, Category Head-Hair Care at Unilever Bangladesh Ltd representing TRESemmé. "Unilever has been a massive supporter of FDCB and its bid to revive and revolutionise fashion. This exhibit stands for sustainability in fashion and we are a massive supporter of planet philosophy. Lastly, what we hope to accomplish is empower women so they feel the liberty to express themselves in the runway of life."
And, on that note, a second flash fashion show commenced to showcase more spectacular works of FDCB members to finally draw the 3-day mega event to a successful close.
Photo: Prottoy Ahmed