As the RMG sector of Bangladesh becomes a flourishing industry worldwide, it comes as no surprise that the celebration marking the fifth year of Fashion Revolution, the world's largest fashion activism movement, would be a grand affair. The Fashion Revolution Bangladesh's event, called 'Bangladesh Ethical Fair' was hosted in the cosy Bengal Boi at Road 27, Dhanmondi. The event, which took place from 24 to 27 April, 2018, hosted ethically produced sustainable products by a handful of fashion houses, was the epitome of success, attracting fashion lovers from all over the city.
The worldwide fashion scene was shocked after the Rana Plaza tragedy five years ago, and since then, drastic changes were made to ensure ethical behaviour from both the producers and the consumers. This is where Fashion Revolution came in, dedicating the past five years into creating awareness against exploiting workers in the clothing industries and promoting sustainable fashion practices to raise awareness among consumers.
Participants not only presented top-quality products that speaks of the country's heritage, but also used the fair as a platform to showcase their transparency in production. Oporajeo, a social initiative to rehabilitate the Rana Plaza victims, showcased an exquisite collection of jute and cotton fabrics and bags. The store also included delicious varieties of pickles and spices produced in the Thaanchi district of Bandarban. Another such initiative to empower indigenous women was Corr with its tasteful collection of jute products.
Speaking of indigenous handicrafts, the ethnic bead jewellery and sakha from Bcraft initiative, elegantly handmade by the Banai tribe, is a must-have for those who love bright bold colours and unique designs. While they are currently only active on Facebook where you can order from, some of their collection can be found at Aranya, which also had a stall of its own. From classy notebooks containing handmade paper and chic coconut-shell coin purses to tie-dye scarves and saris, Aranya showcased a variety of ethnic-wear ideal for those with a love for traditional wear.
“I especially enjoyed the artsy take on our heritage nakshi kantha by Khut. The bold colours are definitely a style statement and I would totally take their bags to university!” said Tanya, a university student, as she clutched her recently bought spice mat, also from Khut.
If the artwork of Khut isn't your style, you could try the stylish nakshi kanthas from Dew Crafts. With a variety of household products, they also had colourful ceramics to add a pop of colour into your home. For the artsy bunch, Jothashilpa brought out a rare collection of notebooks with nakshi kantha and rickshaw art covers, along with quirky everyday jewellery.
The fair also consisted of export-based companies such as Thanapara and Living Blue. Thanapara, with its classy stitch-work on comfortable cotton, especially works with lighter colours for a light summer vibe. From organically producing their own blue dye to using shibori techniques on silk to make sophisticated designs, the production house of Living Blue, based in Rangpur, is indeed a busy one! Lauded for its sustainability, Living Blue is for those with an aesthetic sense in fashion.
Movements to answer questions such as #whomademyclothes are just a small step in ensuring fair treatment of workers. The fair not only bridged the gap between the suppliers and the fashion enthusiasts, but also encouraged all to continue pushing for a safer sustainable fashion industry.
Photo: Adiba Mahbub Proma