Our Khadi Heritage | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 08, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 08, 2016

Interview

Our Khadi Heritage

Khadi is a hand spun fabric, originating mainly in Southeast Asia. The cloth is made of cotton and may also include threads of silk or wool. The Fashion Designer's Council of Bangladesh has formed a vision to promote the khadi textile of Bangladesh, to help revive the heritage material and bring it back into the mainstream. For this vision to materialise, the FDCB holds an annual Khadi Festival since 2015. 

Organisers have already chalked out programmes that will showcase the works of various national and international designers, making it a cosmopolitan event. 

Star Lifestyle, in our efforts to promote local products, as our collective duty to help grassroots weavers and artisans, have aligned with the FDCB's efforts, to promote the work of upcoming designers, especially their work related to khadi. This week we spoke to designer Riffat Reza Raka to know more about her line and apparition regarding this historic textile.

Riffat Reza Raka - The Dreamer with a Conscience  

Creativity always appealed to Riffat Reza Raka and that's why she chose fashion designing as a career aspiration. After her internship at Kumudini, she fully committed herself to the promotion of local products. “At Kumudini, I worked extensively with Jamdani and that is when I fell in love with the product. Later, I opened my own store, 'Henna' at Pink City, where I worked primarily with the unique material.” 

Asking her reasons for joining the struggle behind Khadi revival, Raka seemed self-assured;  “As a member of the FDCB Council, I was approached with the idea of taking part in the Khadi Festival last year. I instantly fell in love with the theme of the festival based on Folk Arts. Beyond this, I always wanted to take part in a collective effort to revive 'deshi' products. FDCB made my dream come true.” 

Discussing about the theme behind Khadi Festival in 2016, Raka seemed glad and forthcoming. “This year, we will be concentrating on the various architectural heritage sites of Bangladesh. Our country is rich with such national artefacts, but sadly not many people are aware of these. Based on lottery selection method, I got Ruplal House as my theme for this year. This remarkable heritage site is an excellent combination of European and Continental architecture. There will be a documentary on Ruplal House before my queue is up, at the festival. Such promotions will definitely increase the public's attraction towards the treasured sites.” 

Most of us know Khadi as an outdated material, which might make some of the more fashionable refrain from wearing it. Raka seemed to disagree with the idea “Not at all! Khadi is a very comfortable cloth. It has the magical ability to be cool in summer and warm in winter. If we incorporate modern cuts and designs onto this priceless material, modern men and women would definitely find it irresistible.”

Discussing more on the festival, Raka informed us about a panel of foreign designers taking part in the celebration alongside national designers. “This prospect will definitely bring our show to an international level with global eyes set on khadi and its many designers. This will be an excellent exposure for most of us and also help display the pride of Bengal making a mark in the international arena.”

Last year's Khadi Festival made quite an impression; discussing about this year’s content, Raka gleamed with delight “This year, it will be even better. I have many surprise elements in store. Hopefully you will all love my work as much as I have enjoyed working.”

By Mehrin Mubdi Chowdhury 

Photo courtesy: Riffat Reza Raka

The Khadi Festival is supported by Tresemme, Bengal, Green Delta, Square, City Bank, Sailor, and BMW through shared vision with the FDCB.

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