Bangla By Design

Kanchan Tooray looks ahead to the UK’s first ever Bangladeshi Fashion Week

Posted: 31.08.12

Think of Asian fashion and the opulent bridal lenghas of India and elegant shararahs and gharahas of Pakistan spring to mind, but you very rarely visualise Bangladesh. Crazy considering it’s a hot bed of creative culture – well know for its arts, theatre, poetry and music. The fashion is no different.
Fashionistas, trendsetters, forecasters and buyers alike are in for a real treat next Spring, as the inaugural British Bangladeshi Week launches. The showcase of the best modern, traditional and emerging designers takes place 22nd-23rd February in the heart of East London, home of the British Bangladeshi community and textile industry.

Organiser Dilly Begum and the team from Fox Productions Ltd decided to curate the event as they felt it was time to put Bangladeshi fashion on the international fashion map. Dilly explains: ‘Asian fashion always tends to get merged into one, when in fact there are many differences. Young entrepreneurs and fashion designers need to be given a platform so they can bring Bengali fashion to the forefront.’
As well as new designers being given a chance to showcase their styles, the event will also see some of the biggest names in the industry make an appearance, including iconic model turned designer Bibi Russell. Dilly reveals; ‘It is so important to get world renowned professionals who have experience in the industry at our event as they can not only help shed light on the work we are doing, but will also influence us with their knowledge and experience.’
Though Dilly herself does not directly have any experience in fashion, she has a decade of experience working in the creative industry. From working with fashion designers to film directors, she knows how to spot talent when she sees it. She says: ‘I am hoping the event will bring awareness and recognition to emerging young Bengali designers who deserve appreciation for their outstanding talent.’

Bengali fashion in the UK is considerably different to Bengali fashion in Bangladesh. There are vast variations in influences such as cultural and environments, which help designers to shape and create their designs. Dilly explains: ‘Unlike designers in Bangladesh, British Bengali designers are not ethnically influenced meaning whilst designs remain modest they carry a Western feel with subtle Bengali colours and fabrics.’
Although Bengali fashion does not currently have a predominant influence on worldwide fashion, it certainly has an impact in terms of production means and textiles. Dilly explains: ‘Bangladesh has the right environment to grow and create textiles and fabrics in a cheap manner, such as ethnic silk. This is something that high street designers from all across the world take advantage of but it’s about time they understood the other side of the story.’ As well as showing the uniqueness of Bangladeshi fashion, Dilly hopes the event will also highlight the different qualities that are apparent in Indian, Pakistani and other Asian fashions.

The two day event is open to VIPs, industry experts and the general public and offers the chance to watch catwalk and entertainment shows and of course the opportunity to shop. Bangladeshi Fashion Week also supporting the charity Restless Beings which works alongside marginalised communities and street children in Bangladesh, trying to help them from the dangers they encounter such as human trafficking and child sex tourism, in the hope it will bring media media attention to places that many people have not heard of before.

British Bangladeshi Fashion Week is planned to be held twice a year in the UK and once a year in Bangladesh.

Visit to purchase tickets. There are also opportunities to volunteer at the event, model or become a make-up assistant.
Images: Asia Glam
, the official Make-Up partner of the event.


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