Motif artisans of the Bihari Colony in the port city are now working round the clock to meet the growing demand of individuals and boutique houses for the upcoming festival of Eid-ul-Fitr.
Situated at Jhautola in Ambagan, most of the Urdu speaking inhabitants of the colony have traditionally been doing jardousi and karchupi motif work on saris, three-pieces, panjabis and burqas for generations.
Almost all the 700-odd families remain busy at this time of the year doing various types of design work on menswear and ladieswear.
The work is done on saris, panjabis and kameez by placing them on wooden planks inside rooms with beads, chumkis, sprinkles, decorative stones and other accessories.
One can sense a buzz in the colony during this time of the year with music playing aloud to keep the busy workers of the place entertained.
Rana, 24, who learnt the skills from his parents at the age of 10, said he does motif work throughout the year. But during Eid, Rana turns to his younger sister Salma for help to share the increased workload.
“Apart from orders from shopkeepers, many individuals also come to place orders for their Eid outfits,” said Murad, who calls his business “Murad Boutiques”.
Prices are fixed for different designs and work, he said.
Another artist, Imran, was seen busy doing jardousi work on a sari. He got the order from an outlet in the city's Mimi Supermarket. Imran can make a profit of up to Tk 5,000 from a sari depending on design, he said.
Raju Boutiques does motif work on panjabis and three-pieces mostly. The owner of the boutique, Mohammad Raju, said he has received a good number of orders for panjabis and three-pieces this Eid.
Raju said he charges between Tk 500 and Tk 2,000 for a panjabi and up to Tk 2,000 for a three-piece, and his profit margin is around 80 percent.
Raju was seen doing some work on a burqa. He said he has now embarked on doing this motif work, as it helps him fetch a good return.
“I make Tk 800 to Tk 1,500 from each burqa,” said Raju with a smile on his face.
Raju's brother Rubel, however, also has the skills of the art, but he is not a full-timer.
Rubel engages himself in the traditional work in the evening after returning from his job of an attendant in a city office.
He said he obtained orders for six panjabis and a three-piece, which would help him earn Tk 10,000 this Eid after all expenses.
“This work would cover my Eid expenses.”
In the colony, Pappu Boutiques is one of the most popular boutiques, which has engaged five employees.
Almost all the families in the colony mastered the art of the traditional motif work, said Pappu, owner of Pappu Boutiques, while doing stitch work on a burqa.
The workers of the colony may not have the means to wear such outfits, but at least, they have the satisfaction that their creative work would bring a big smile to those who would don the attires on Eid day, he said.
But in the last few years, there has been a lull in the business due to cheap imports of such outfits from India and Pakistan.