Another reason I’m enjoying Dhaka is because I get to see things that make for great stories (and blog postings). Getting a tour of a fashion house was an unexpected surprise!
I had my Holud saree made by Sharmin, a fashion designer who has her own house of fashion, Kahon, Story of Stitch. I met Sharmin at a bazaar. She made my saree solely based on my verbal instructions. She finished it in time, emailed me that it was ready for pickup… but I could not get to her shop in time… because it was so important that I get my saree on time, she delivered it to my house! She even brought one of her tailors with her in case last minute adjustments needed to be made. What service!
Then she offered that I should come visit her “shop” in Tejgaon, the industrial park. (she has since moved her store upmarket: Dhanmondi-27, House-41, 3rd floor. Opposite the Dhaka bank. Her shop is in a building set back a bit from the main road) My friend offered to take me there. We handed the phone to the driver who listened to the complex directions and then we set off. Tejgaon is an area that can only really be visited on a Friday when the traffic is lighter (think Sunday in the US). We got to the area via a major road and then started down a road only big enough for rickshaws. Then we turned down a warren of streets and stopped at a gate. We had arrived.
We saw no sign but once we got the guard to open the gate, then we were led past the guards’ room (a flat bed tucked in under the stairs), we entered the fashion house. We were greeted warmly by Sharmin and her family. We were lead into the salesroom past the hallway with four or five rooms filled with the hum of workers. Sewing machines lined the hallway ready for a surge during wedding season. Almost everything is made in Sharmin’s shop. She designs the applique pieces and stamps for block prints before designing the fashions (via computer) which are then cut and sewn by her team of tailors.
We chose many clothes and Sharmin took the time for us (demanding) customers even though she was also in the middle of delivering to the stalls are the International Trade Fair. She sells some clothes under her own brand, Kahon, while much of her clothing is sold (and marked up!) by other shops in Dhaka. We were excited to buy from the source and get some of the fashions even before the style was launched (very exciting for one fashionista moment). Many thanks to Sharmin and her husband for being so friendly.
Once I’ve taken some photos, I’ll post more on clothes and fashion in Dhaka.