LIVING BLUE an ethical marvel | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 14, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:41 PM, May 14, 2019

LIVING BLUE an ethical marvel

Living Blue, a stalwart local brand, making major advancements in the world of haute couture and exhibiting extraordinary Bangladeshi craftsmanship all over the world, goes beyond its usual jurisdiction to value its artisans.

Born out of a governance project, and as a result of providing means of work to the ultra-poor of the northern region of Bangladesh, Living Blue has witnessed success in numerous fronts. However, no matter the extent of the accomplishments, it has always remained humble to the craftsmen, the dyers and the farmers, dedicating all its successes to their hard work and perseverance.

Putting it simply, Living Blue is a true-blue, fair trade, fashion brand that follows ethical practices and organic fashion, through and through.

Living Blue is just about to unveil their latest project, and Star Lifestyle brings to you an exclusive sneak peak of this new venture.

MISHAEL AZIZ AHMAD, CEO, LIVING BLUE

Meet the man behind the home-grown ethical fashion brand.

Based on Ahmad’s narration, Living Blue started off as a governance project of CARE Bangladesh. The idea was to empower men and women in the northern region of Bangladesh, and provide them with leadership training.

Prior to Living Blue’s activities, people there were not even aware of their basic rights. Plus, these people were in dire need of proper jobs, and Living Blue was looking at myriad ways to better their livelihood by giving them work, when one day, it chanced upon the mystifying Indigo plant.

But the initiation had not been that arbitrary! 

According to Ahmad, the story goes somewhat like this:

An Indian designer called Tushar Kumar helped in establishing quilt making as the northerners’ forte, and then went on to discover an unusual local plant called maal-gach, identified by the locals as an excellent nitrogen fixer, or a natural fertiliser, and later re-discovered by Kumar himself as the legendary Indigo plant.

But that was not all Kumar did; he also trained the locals in the farming process and the extraction method of the colour, and then went on to teach them the techniques of shibori, by mastering it all by himself at first.

Over the next few years, Living Blue became self-sufficient by producing home textiles, scarves and quilts, and exporting them internationally.

The globally recognised fashion brand became even more prominent through working with celebrated names in the field of fashion design and winning plenty of accolades over the years. But no matter what the triumph, Living Blue always remained grounded and dedicated to its artisans, its major reason behind the fame.

However, that was all in the international front, with a de facto absence in the local market.

Ahmad believes that Bangladeshi people were not ready to pay hefty prices, even for exceptional handmade quilts, because of their acquaintanceship with cheaper copies of the same product, and since Living Blue did not experiment with ‘deshi’ clothes, there was no unswerving reason for the upscale fashion brand to exist locally.

Finally, the wait is over, as the famous ethical fashion brand is now opening an online store with an exquisite collection of deep-dyed, shibori dyed saris by designer Sharmin Rahman, solely developed for the fashionistas of our country.

SHARMIN RAHMAN,

FASHION DESIGNER

ASSOCIATE VICE PRESIDENT,

CREATIVE, ASIATIC JWT

The lady who envisioned the aesthetics of the first-ever, local collection by Living Blue.

She has spent a large part of her life since her student days in the fashion industry. With a passion for creative flair, Rahman loves all sorts of experimentation with designs, but when she faced a designer’s block a few years back, with major restrictions to ‘thinking out of the box,’ she left the fashion industry to pursue advertising. However, in the meantime, her zeal for designing never perished, as she continued to make clothes for close friends and family.

Ahmad, already a fan of Rahman’s work, approached her one fine day to work for Living Blue’s first ever local collection, and the rest, as they say, is history.

According to Rahman’s words, working for Living Blue has been a truly exhilarating experience for her where she could experiment to her heart’s content and even learn a lot throughout the process.

Her aesthetics matched with Ahmad’s vision, and they gave it a go. But Rahman does not refrain from praising the artisans back in Rangpur —

“They are excellent in their work. Being regularly exposed to international standards, the artisans truly understand high-fashion from the bottom of their hearts, and they know how to get results”, mused the talented designer.

All in all, Living Blue fulfilled Rahman’s creative needs and synced with both their ideologies of fair trade to produce excellent results.

FARZANA SHAKIL,

MANAGING DIRECTOR, FARZANA SHAKIL’S MAKEOVER SALON

The sophisticated ambassador of the coveted collection.

According to both Ahmad and Rahman, Farzana Shakil was the chosen ambassador because Living Blue made clothes meant to be worn by people who can value the rich history of the company, and also have a purpose in their lives themselves.

Shakil has a steadfast reputation of being a fair employer and proving work provisions to so many women, and also looked upon by so many others, seemed to be the best fit for the premium brand.

THE 2019 COLLECTION

Exclusive compilation by Living Blue

In this collection, Living Blue uses vibrant and authentic organic colours in many different techniques of dyeing, such as deep-dyeing, clamping, ‘shibori,’  ‘arashi shibori’ and ‘kantha stitch’ to give out a look that is exceptional and inimitable.

The fabric is entirely locally manufactured, including the soft Twill silk that is exceptionally soft and flowy. The collection has two outfits besides the saris; one being an exclusive unisex Twill shirt in pure white, and the other being a rich indigo maxi dress with a shrug.

The entire collection will be available online and will be obtainable at a price that is uncontested and lucrative to the patrons of ‘all things exclusive.’

For more information, please visit https://www.livingbluebd.com/collections

 

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

Model: Farzana Shakil

Wardrobe: Living Blue, designed by Sharmin Rahman

Location: Pan Pacific Sonargaon

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