The Bangladesh apparel market is awakening to a new era of homegrown fashion with multiple promising new designers and labels dawning on the horizon. What was once considered to be amongst the top manufacturing hubs of the world is slowly shedding its limiting tag by expanding into new dimensions and nurturing fashion design talent within the country which explore new and innovative design philosophies of the consumers of today.
Disrupting a market founded on ready-to-wear and prét fashion labels and brands, many designers are taking a leap of faith by introducing labels in Bangladesh, especially catering to the often overlooked category of menswear, functional styling and sustainable, ethical fashion.
As a country, Bangladesh is bustling with untapped creative energy that has remained under the wraps for quite some time now, waiting to erupt – and luckily enough, the past few years have seen young blood mix their passion with a determination to stand out and be noticed.
Apparel Resources (AR) highlights five designers and brands to notice, who are re-dictating the norms in the fashion industry.
Read on to discover!
Incepted with a vision to set a standard in modern fashion, Guzel aims to provide distinctive made-to-measure services as well as an exclusive collection of ready-to-wear fashion for both men and women. Evocative of class and contemporariness, Guzel’s designs guarantee complete individuality and freedom of expression that emit Bangladesh’s rich culture with an avant-garde twist within each and every stitch.
Best known for its men’s ethnicwear which comprises kurtas, Nehru jackets, sherwanis, etc., Guzel is priced at Taka 4,000 to 8,000 for its kurtas; Taka 6,000 to 15,000 for its Nehru jackets; Taka 2,000 to 8,000 for its unisex shirts; and between Taka 6,000 and 50,000 for its designer jackets. Guzel sherwanis, which are mostly made-to-measure/bespoke pieces, range from Taka 20,000 to 1,00,000, depending upon the intricacy of embroideries and fabric used.
No doubt that ready-to-wear is an easier and more accessible option for customers in the market; however, made-to-measure/bespoke pieces allow customers to get exactly what they have in mind. This service is targeted towards customers who are more conscious about their styling and fit.
Techniques include pleating, knotting, zardozi, embroidered motifs and patches, as well as eclectic prints. These are the USPs of Guzel’s designs. Known to amalgamate tradition with modernity, Nafiz employs techniques that date way back, by giving them a contemporary spin to appease the audience of today. “Craftsmanship is something we do not compromise on. Because every piece needs to be exactly the same, we employ highly skilled workers that specialise in one particular technique,” Nafiz Imtiaz Chowdhury, Founder of Guzel stated.
“The whole idea is to keep up with the ever-evolving fashion trends. I love pushing the boundaries and creating designs that people haven’t thought of yet. I admire ancient architecture the same way I do modern fashion, and I try to blend the two in my designs. Moreover, the culture, tradition and history of my country inspire my designs in many ways.”
SAHAR RAHMAN COUTURE
Sahar Rahman Couture projects itself as a Designer Label which aims to provide high-end customisation services along with an exclusive boutique experience to its clients.
It offers a unique range of Asian and fusionwear ensembles to fashionable Dhakaiteswith luxury prêt, heavy formals and bridal couture being its forte. Its off-the-rack or luxury prêt outfits consist of diversely cut tunics with pants, kimonos, kaftans, etc., which display minimal artful embroideries and are priced at Taka 6,500 going up to Taka 18,000. Its eveningwear or heavy formal line includes pleated gowns, heavily embellished tunics with pants, kameez paired with wide leg pants, shararas or ghararasand are priced between Taka 25,000 and Taka 46,000. The label’s holud, mehendi or engagement outfits are priced at Taka 75,000 onwards whilst Sahar Rahman™ bridal couture starts at Taka 1,30,000.
With a monumental colour palette ranging from shades like tiffany blue, off-whites, lavender, ash rose to sea green, etc., the label communicates up a whimsical dreamlike fantasy through its clothes, all the while standing out in a market otherwise flooded with bold colours.
Sahar Rahman™– the label– is known to embody intricate craftsmanship and elaborate detailing that is complemented by its genius take on colour contrasts. Immaculate fabric quality, unique cuts and finesse in embroidery further set the label apart from its counterparts. Even the smallest of motif is weaved with love using techniques such as zari work, zardozi, dabka, multiple-shaded threads, pearls, stones, sequins as well as eclectic prints so that every detail of its vision behind the outfit comes to life.
The label employs the use of techniques that date way back, but Sahar and Amana give them a contemporary spin to appease the audience of today.
From bespoke to ready-to-wear men’s suits, jackets, trousers, polo necks, T-shirts, bandhgalas and sherwanis to women’s evening gowns, cocktail dresses and ready-to-wear workwear and partywear – Zurhem is a one-stop solution for today’s picky customers.
Its growing popularity in the Bangladesh market has led it to extend its ready-to-wear line to include the entire spread of fashion that can be picked up on the go, and not just luxury pieces.
Incepted in 2015, with a very small office and only two employees, the brand tried to experiment with different trims and silhouettes in order to test the market and understand where it really wants to be in terms of its aesthetics.
In 2016, it decided to go all out because it was comfortable with its craft and it kind of figured out what the market wanted and needed. That’s when it opened its first atelier and there has been no looking back since then.
Since its inception, designer and fashion influencer Muddasir Ahmed Anik’s fashion label Studio MM, has been known for its bold prints, modern aesthetics, functional details and quirky colours targeting the youngsters of today.
A one-stop fashion studio solution for all the fashion needs, Studio MM is essentially categorised into three stops, namely – Studio MM – which offers classic western clothing; ASIR – which is an ethnicline for men; and AMIHAAR(named after Muddasir’s mother) – which offers ethnicwear for women.
Priced between BDT (Bangladesh Taka) 1,150 – 3,000 for Studio MM Basics range, BTD 2,150 – 4,000 for ASIR and BTD 3,500 – 6,500 for AMIHAAR, Studio MM has something one can afford within the limited edition collection and also something that is pretty reasonable at the same time.
Being an Instagram influencer puts Muddasir directly in touch with numerous teenagers who are always on the lookout for brands that offer good quality, fashionable clothes but at reasonable prices. This led him to spot a gap in the market, keeping which in mind, Studio MM started creating pieces that are bold, modern, functional and yet, engaged with coloured style for all the teenagers and young blood out there.
One of Bangladesh’s first online Slow Fashion clothing brand, ROZEN was founded by Saiyara Roja Islam in January of 2019. With a goal to make available to customers, products and styles that are not easily accessible in Bangladesh, ROZEN is re-establishing the norms of fashion, all the while keeping the entire process ethical and the products sustainable.
“The reason these types of products are not accessible is because these products go against social norms in our society. This led us to our mission, to help customers fight social taboos with our products,” Saiyara told Apparel Resources in an exclusive interview.
Rozen offers all kinds of clothing – from casualwear to formalwear, to partywear and even sleepwear. Ranging from shirts, to tops, to dresses, to skirts, pants, coats, blazers, blazer dresses and more, ROZEN’S products are priced between BDT 450 and BDT 3,950. It promises that the products you purchase will be a perfect fit. The brand does not believe in mass production of products and all the raw materials of each collection are kept in inventory.
Following a minimal aesthetic, the label shies away from using major detailing or embroidery. It focuses on making the products convenient for everyday life and durable, keeping in mind the typical use of the item and also several different lifestyles of its customers.
The label usually works with fabrics such as corduroy, crepe silk, satin, etc.
“We also worked with faux fur and faux suede. If we’re correct on research, we are the first Bangladeshi brand to have launched faux fur clothing products in Bangladesh,” Saiyara highlighted.
The delivery company ROZEN works with, ‘E-courier’, is an eco-friendly company and the current task the label is undertaking is to shift its packaging to 100 per cent biodegradable materials. This is an expensive goal for small businesses like theirs, but Saiyara is hopeful to achieve it soon.
Furthermore, the label outsources its fabrics from small time fabrics sellers who collect unwanted fabrics from big factories located in the country.