Fashion Design Council of Bangladesh (FDCB) is holding its first edition of Couture Week titled Bangladesh Couture Week 2021, which was inaugurated on Thursday at Edge Gallery, North Avenue, Gulshan in the capital.

Entirely dedicated to the revered Bangladeshi silk industry, this exclusive fashion festival is paying homage to the hardworking artisans of the country and their craftsmanship, the organizers said at the inauguration ceremony.

The grand inaugural ceremony of FDCB's maiden Couture Week was joined by Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni as the chief guest, who lauded this exclusive event for preserving and presenting the tradition of Bangladesh.

"Our country is known to the entire world for its amazing and high-quality hand-loomed fabrics such as our Masleen and Jamdani, and our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself is the greatest brand ambassador of our beautiful, traditional clothes. The government is playing its part to preserve all of our traditional crafts, and I really appreciate FDCB's praiseworthy attempt on that approach as an inclusive and inspiring entity," Dr Dipu Moni said at the event.

Hosted by FDCB Vice President Emdad Hoque, the inaugural ceremony was also joined by the Ambassador of Japan to Bangladesh ITO Naoki as the special guest of the ceremony, among many other eminent dignitaries including actress Shampa Reza and more.

As a tribute to the silk industry, an exclusive book was launched at the event and a documentary based on the state of silk production in the country and the current livelihoods of the weavers was also screened, followed by an exclusive flash fashion show.

Bangladesh Couture Week is essentially promoting high-end fashion wear, showcasing 17 top designers of the country. The famed designers taking part in the event are Chandana Dewan, Sarah Karim, Faiza Ahmed, Maheen Khan, Farah Anjum Bari, Shaibal Saha, Farzana Nova, Tasfia Ahmed, Sadia Rashid Chowdhury, Rifat Rahman, Rupo Shams, Rima Naaz, Afsana Ferdousi, Sharukh Amin, Lipi Khandker, Nawshin Khair and Emdad Hoque.

FDCB, a nonprofit organization hopes to steer the Bangladeshi silk community and its patrons through this 3-day long fashion exhibition and event, further hoping to promote artisanal work and advocate home-grown textiles and designs to the mass audience with their efforts and endeavours.

Maheen Khan's vision behind the first Bangladesh Couture Week:

Renowned Bangladeshi fashion designer Maheen Khan is the Founder President of the Fashion Design Council Bangladesh (FDCB), and talking to DC regarding this exclusive venture, she emphasized the importance of upholding the pride of Bangladeshi clothes through events like this. "We have previously organized fashion shows on various items of hand-spun clothes including Khadi, Jamdani and more. This is the first time we are arranging Couture Week, in which we all have worked hand-in-hand with our artisans and communities. This couture week, we are showcasing beautiful textiles of Chapai Nawabganj, and we are glad that after intensely fighting against the pandemic for the last two years, we are somewhat reeling back to normalcy. As a celebratory effect and paying homage to the resilience of our nation in the glorious month of victory, we are glad to host the first-ever edition of the FDCB Bangladesh Couture Week in 2021," Maheen Khan told DC.

"The Fashion Design Council of Bangladesh is a non-profit organization. Over the years we have held a number of fashion events to promote the homegrown textile industry in Bangladesh, with the sole intention of supporting the sector and aiding the livelihoods of the skilled artisans of our country. With this year's Couture Week, we are offering a peek into the lives of skilled artisans of our nation, which is rather heartbreaking. They have been trying to keep up with multiple obstacles from poverty and mass migrations to displacement due to natural calamities, escalating costs of taw materials and much more. The lure of lucrative jobs in the cities and better education have drawn the younger generations away from their former livelihoods. Craftsmen, thus feel discontent and disconnected from their own traditional crafts," she further said.

So, what kind of role this exclusive event is playing in the situation? Answering this to DC, Maheen Khan said, "This year's FDCB Bangladesh Couture Week is a homage to our handwoven silk industry, situated particularly in the district of Chapai Nawabganj, Rajshahi. We hope by shedding some light on their work, we can elucidate the spectators regarding the many different steps involved in unravelling the charisma of the majestic Rajshahi silk. We believe there's no better way to showcase the exclusivity of the fabric and the hard work of the artisans, but with Haute couture handcrafted, high-end fashion designing."

Further elaborating the event and the journey behind it, Maheen Khan said, "The Fashion Design Council of Bangladesh has worked with the designers of this year's Couture Week as a team, and have tried to discover the handcrafted identities that truly represent our textiles. Each designer at the show is telling a distinctive story that resonates with their own design language, which we are hopeful will enthral and captivate our audiences. Our small yet impactful design community is getting stronger with each undertaking, and we are hopeful that through our latest efforts we are able to elevate our couture collection and work our way towards the advancement of Bangladesh's fashion industry."

On December 3 and 4, there will be panel discussions on relevant subject matters followed by a flash fashion show each day. A special Fashion Award Ceremony on December 4 will be held, marking the conclusion of the maiden edition of Bangladesh Couture Week.

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