Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 12, Tuesday, September 14, 2004




rangamati haute couture comes to town


THE fashion show by "Sozpodor", held recently at the Saffron Garden Restaurant, arranged by Nahid Osman and Kanak Chanpa Chakma, was certainly worth watching. Those who have known Nahid and Kanak long enough were sure that the outcome of their joint ventures along with Tenzing Chakma and SK Rahman (Symon) the designer, would sure be a successful venture. And it was, without doubt. Both Nahid and Kanak are well-known in town for their sophisticated taste and their choice of haute couture apparel and accessories.

What the four-- Tenzing, Symon, Nahid and Kanak -- presented was something new and fresh. The colours were scintillating, and the cuts were laudable. The models had been chosen with care and carefully groomed. The effort certainly deserved accolades for steeping into the fashion world with so much of guts and go. All in all, the show was admirable.

Speaking with Tenzing and Symon at a press conference arranged at Kanak's Dhanmondi residence, Tenzing said that he had been involved with fashion designing for five years, working with indigenous fabrics. Asked how he had gone in for haute couture in a place like Bangladesh, where normally young men venture out to conventional channels of careers, Tenzing said that he had wanted to enter the Fine Arts Department DU in 1996. However his marks were not good enough for the entry and consequently he veered off into this line as a second option. He had been encouraged and inspired in his youth by the back-strap loom work by his mother, Dhira Kisha, back in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. She did not work on looms herself, but egged him on to go into the line without second thoughts. "Till one stage it was my mother who always cheered me on, and now it's my colleague Symon who give me an optimistic vision about the future," he said.

Dwelling on his inspiration, Tenzing said that not much has been done in the waste-loom fabric designing so far from which could draw his ideas. He said, "I have to think deeply before I take any step as the fabric is unique. One has to work without any prior planning There are a lot of limitations and bindings in my type of work."

Asked why one should go and see his works, Tenzing said, "The appeal is in obtaining indigenous work at reasonable prices and getting the genuine fabrics from the Hill Tracts. We have so far produced western outfits, skirts and blouses, "fatuas", trousers etc. I am attracted to that line of haute couture as I feel that it is easy to wear and long-lasting. I didn't deal with saris, which are difficult to handle and which can unwind if not pinned and tucked properly and maybe more suitable for working women and young debutantes. I aim at fashion wear that is easy- to- wear, comfortable, long-lasting and tres chic."

Asked to comment on the present standard of fashion, Tenzing said that he felt that at times we are stuck in a rut with a medley of fashion ideas. He added, however, that one cannot go forward without imitating borrowed ideas. "You copy, but within the periphery of the design you do something of your own. Kameezes, for instance remain the same but the cut adds the unusual design. Our goal is to promote Rangamati fabric and no matter what design they are put in, they are bound to look different and glamorous."

Touching on the prices of his products, Tenzing said they were not more than what is being offered at other fashion outlets in town. Asked to explain the meaning of the choice of the brand name he said that 'Sozpodor' meant all the necessary tools for creating the handloom fabric, which is the basis of the Rangamati fabric. They include 'biyong', 'bokadei', 'thuchchuomoi', 'thachhisam' etc. Asked to say a few words about himself, Symon added that he was Tenzing's partner in the quest for daring plunges in haute couture.

Such a "cool" venture is certainly worth a few thoughts.

By Fayza Haq



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