|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 31, Tuesday March 14, 2006|
Third floor of New Market
Clothes were invented to cover and shield our bodies, and though this function holds true today, what we wear today plays a huge role in our lives, from impacting the way we look to reflecting on our personalities and more.
At one time dresses prepared from simple printed materials made our girls and women quite content. However, today we want way more than just down-to-earth prints; we want customised outfits everyday. The emergence of block prints, tie-dye and embroidery satisfied the females' most coveted dream to put on eye-grabbing outfits and appear attractive to others.
Block prints, embroidery, hand paint, batik and intricate work of sequins now characterise the saris and salwar suits of our women. While many dress designers have their own workmen, others resort to the shops located on the third floor of Government New Market. If you are wondering why, then it's suggested that you do visit this place on a working day and see the crowd there.
The entire third floor of New Market is devoted to dress-making especially block printing, embroidery, batik and hand painting. Rows of misleadingly nondescript shops have over the past ten years become the heaven for dress designers and young girls and women. Except the leading fashion houses, most home-based dress boutiques get their work done from these shops. About 70 stores and around 250 handicraft men and women make the entire floor a busy place on weekdays.
We talked to the proprietor of Rose Block & Boutiques, Md. Jahangir Islam about his business and his customers. He related to us that most of the women who visited there were into the dress business. He said that reasonable price is the key characteristic of this market. Customers who place large orders even receive attractive discounts.
In this market you can have access to services like batik/tie-dye, block print, machine embroidery, hand paint, brush paint and work of sequins and beads. Tailor shops are also available on this floor. There are even stores that sell dress accessories like thread, ribbon, sequins, beads and laces. To create block prints on a sari, it will cost you within tk.150 to tk.200, whereas on salwar suits it will cost you between tk.120 and tk.180.
Students of the Art Institute also work for these shops to create beautiful compositions of skies, flowers, landscape, abstracts and greenery on saris and salwar kamizes. To hand paint a sari it will cost between tk.300 and tk.400, whereas, to order for a salwar kamiz painted by dexterous hands of young artists will cost between tk.200 and tk.250. Saris upholding works of spray paint will cost within tk.250 to tk.300.
These stores also do machine embroidery on clothes. You can choose from hundreds of designs- the motif that would harmonize with the colour and texture of your material. To create embroidery on your sari, it will cost you between tk.500 and tk.2000, depending upon the complexity of the design and the threads used. For tie-dye/batik, remember that each sari is likely to cost you between tk.200 and tk.300 and salwar suits within tk.150 to tk.250.
Although more than 250 crafts men are employed in this business, the authority seem quite unsympathetic to these people's welfare. The working condition is suffocating. Dirt and filth, inadequate light and air would appear nauseating to any healthy person. The owners too also appeared quite uncaring towards their employees' safety; many of the workers do not take any precautions against the harmful chemicals and paints that are used at work. A lot of young children also work in this unhealthy environment. But at the same time it must be remembered that this business has created employment opportunities for hundreds of men. Therefore, a little concern from the market authority and the shop owners can make this place a healthy place to work in. Renovation of the third floor would also enable the shop owners to attract and accommodate more customers and workers.
One interesting thing that we noticed in this place is that the staffs of all the shops are men whereas the managers of most of these stores are women. It must be because of the fact that almost cent percent of their customers are women. Parveen, who has been the manager of New Eden Block for the last five years, says that this job has enabled her to become financially stable.
The third floor of Government New Market can be considered a heaven for those who have their own dress boutique. But not only dress designers, young girls and women also place orders for their own choice of embroidery, block and batik prints for their saris and salwar suits from the over seventy stores located on the third floor of Government New Market.
By Wara Karim
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