Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 1, Issue 20, Tuesday, October 14, 2003







The hunt for clothing materials


EID happens to be a major occasion for celebration for most people in Bangladesh. During this time there is an unprecedented flurry of activity taking place in all the classes of society. Everyone's attention is centred on the sensual aspects of the festival. Home decor, new dresses and a plethora of different dishes assail the senses.

People dress up in colourful outfits and leave out all their angst at least for this particular day. Or so it should be. The divisions created by hatred and strife are overlooked for this day as everyone meets in a warm embrace in a gathering of friends and family.

For everyone to enjoy the festival there are some preconceived plans. For many the festivity begins with decorating their homes. Starting from changing the colours of the walls to carpets to replacing the furniture or even re-upholstering them, everything is thought about during this time. Many find their joy in selecting new material for the table cloth, sofa covers, curtains etc while for others, going to tailors and getting new clothes made becomes the obsession of the month. This week we are bringing to you an exclusive pre-view to your Eid shopping.

Nawab Bari and Islampur
Islampur is an ancient part of Dhaka City situated along the banks of the Buriganga River. Over here you will find Ahsan Manzil, the house of the bygone noblemen. The place has grown into a major business centre because of its close proximity to the waterway. The entire Islampur area is famed for its cloth markets. You can find anything from cotton jeans to all kinds of synthetics materials. The two sides of the roads are jam packed with cloth stores. There is a bewildering array of rolls comprising of print, check and striped designs. You can find anything from what you put on yourself to what you put on your walls and furniture. Generally most of the markets in the main city get their supply from here. Being the primary retailers they can also offer a lower price than anywhere else.

If you look around you will also find many small stores selling pieces of material cut out according to general measurements for suits, trousers, shirts, curtains etc. For this reason it is also known as a "cut piece" market. The local textile mills and all the fabrics from abroad find their way here first. So if you are looking for something new and unique or just a simple design at a lower cost this place is unbeatable. Make a little time for yourself to check out this place.

Dress makers
No matter how convenient the market is for ready made garments, the need to have custom made outfits have not declined one bit. The city's best tailors are situated in the upper floors of the Gausia Market. They mostly make outfits for women and children. After Shab-e-Barat the orders start pouring in for the coming Eid.

Tofajjal Hossain of Mahanagary Tailors said that they do not take any orders after the tenth day of Ramadan unless there are some special requests. This is to ensure that there is no extra pressure so that the stitch and design are flawless. 40 years of experience has shown him that there is no substitute for tailor-made outfits. If the clothes are not perfectly made according to the individual measurements, then the outfit neither looks good nor feels comfortable. This is especially true in case of blouses and children's clothing.

It is a similar scenario for the males as well who want unique outfits. Some of the well known tailors like Sunmoon, Boss, Star, Student and Crown tailors start their Eid orders right after Shab-e-Barat and stop taking orders after the 10-15th day of Ramadan.

Embroidery house
Nothing creates a stronger impact than delicate embroidery work. Women's wear and even men's punjabis benefit from this style. Some like to highlight their outfits by adding glitter and stones. There is quite a demand this year for machine or hand-stitched stonework. These sorts of orders are being taken for women's muslin and georgette saris. All this helps to add sparkle to the festivity, literally. The places to go to are the Gausia market and Chadni Chawk.

Block and hand paints

Along with embroideries there is also a great demand for block prints, screen prints, spray and hand painted outfits. It is not only the big-name boutiques who are in this line of work but also many small enterprises that are home-based or operate in small shops to cater to the needs of the general public. The upper floor of New Market near the over bridge is filled with such shops offering personalised work at a reasonable price. There is also the upper floor of Priyo Prangon market of Mirpur Road with many block print shops.

Eid is a time to revamp the look of the household. For this everyone goes to the curtain makers of Gulshan, Elephant Road, New Market and Gausia. They also have all kinds of cloth for sofas, bedcovers etc. Master tailor Delowar from Elephant Road informed that on Eid they receive twice the order they get all throughout the year. So this is a very hectic but profitable time. Like most other tailors they also take their order till about the 15th day of Ramadan and often include delivery as well.

There you have it, a low-down on where to get the material that matters. So just grab your wallet and get going! Ramadan is almost here…

NOTE: To look for these tailors just visit the market and take help from the locals for directions.

By Sultana Yasmin Translated By Ehsanur Raza Ronny
Photo Wasif Munem



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