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     Volume 4 Issue 21 | November 12, 2004 |

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Styles for the Young

Elita Karim

Eid is a time when for some, fantasy is allowed to transform into reality. Women yearning to find brand new clothes with matching accessories for the destined day, go around the several malls and boutiques in the city and try to find something close to the image held in their dreams. Men, not to be left out, go on their own quest for that perfect panjabi.

Amidst the many posh boutique names and fashion houses cramming the areas of Gulshan, Baridhara and Dhanmondi, a young designer, who prefers to call herself a stylist, is striving to meet the standards and elements of, both traditional design and international tastes.

Ditan was inspired by her mother, Gulshan Yasmin a painter, who had started out a small shop at Orchid Plaza in Dhanmondi in 1996. Sixteen year old Ditan had learned the trades of designing clothes and making handicrafts while working alongside her mother. A couple of years later, when the shop was closed down, Ditan decided it was time to do something on her own. That's when she started to exhibit her seasonal creations and collections. Well-known personalities like actress Shaon, models Lisa and Azra soon became her regular customers and had also begun to model for her designs.

The specialty of Ditan's designs is that she works on a particular colour each season and emphasises on creating different shades and texture based on the colour. 'I have always avoided using too many colours in one design,' she says. 'I prefer concentrating on one colour or maybe a combination of colours and think of ways to tone down the mixture or brighten it up accordingly.'

Ditan's designs speak for the younger people. 'I actually view the whole concept of designing a particular design from a young person's point of view,' she exclaimed. 'I try to think of what kind of image young people want and try to portray that. I simply dislike the idea of a mother and daughter dressing alike!'

Ditan's favourite combinations are black, red and white, colours she usually experiments with 'I also like to use a lot of pastel colours,' she says. 'Pastel colours never die out, unlike other primary colours like yellow and blue.'

Ditan's first fashion show called the Verve-1 was held in 2002 and organised by ZED Event Management Company. Another one was held very recently for flood victims organised by Verge and Beyong Vision.

This season she brings in something quite different. Her organisation, Eeha meaning desire, has concentrated on bringing out the personalities of people wearing her designs. 'I have worked on katan patchwork on panjabis and kameezes and also a lot on jamdani materials,' explains Ditan. 'I have come up with block- printed churidars and 'crushed' muslin dupattas. I have always liked to spend a lot of time on shalwars and dupattas, rather than the kameez itself.'

Why does Ditan claim herself to be a stylist and not a designer? 'My business is pretty small and is client-based. I have around 50-70 permanent customers, mostly friends, friends of friends and family members who always wait for me to finish a design particularly created for them,' says Ditan. 'I usually help a customer find something to suit his or her style. I don't only provide the clothing, I also help out with a complete makeover, starting from shoes, accessories and make up. For the past four years, I have been the official stylist for Benson and Hedges master of the ceremony.'

Ditan's designs can be worn to office parties, simple get-togethers and if you just change your make up and jewellery, maybe even to a grand wedding! 'I use traditional elements, like everyone else, in my designs, but at the end of the day, I think they look quite different.'

Ditan is currently doing her last semester, majoring in Business Administration at North South University, alongside her internship at Grey, an advertising firm. She plans to pursue designing and styling after she graduates and hopes someday her designs can compete internationally.

Photographs by Zahedul I Khan


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