Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 31, Tuesday March 14, 2006



Special Feature

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

Shop Talk

Herbal face pack
The whole world is working towards promoting herbal and natural products among the consumer community and Bangladesh is not lagging behind. If you take a look at the shelves of the superstores today, you will spot face packs and hair oils prepared from neem, turmeric, clove and sandalwood. There are numerous brands to choose from. You can go for brands like Shahnaz, Rupanzel or Ligion. As a matter of fact, within tk.35 to tk.40 you can buy one of these face packs whose ingredients have been extracted directly from nature. These face packs are available in all the supermarkets and general stores of the city. So for best results, start pampering your skin with products, which leave little or no side effect.

Aarong Neem soap
Since time immemorial, neem has been used as an ingredient in masks and face packs. It is good for its antiseptic properties, for fighting pimples and skin blemishes. Aarong sell soap bars which have extracts of this medicinal tree. These soaps smell nice and leave your skin feeling smooth. At Tk 25, you can find neem soap at all Aarong outlets.

Face Packs in tubes
Face packs brought from India are available in all the supermarkets and general stores of Dhaka. Rich in herbal extracts, these face packs are easy to use. All you need to do is squeeze out a small quantity from the tube and smear on a damp face. There are a variety of brands to choose from. You can opt for Vatika, which is rich is kesar, chandan and haridra- each tube will cost you around tk.50. You can also opt for the herbal face packs under the brand names Himalaya or Hindustan Lever.

Raw Henna
Nothing else could be better than henna paste when it comes to adding nutrition and radiance to a woman's hair. Although processed henna is widely available for application, a lot of us go for unprocessed henna for optimum benefit. For raw henna, visit the Government New Market. Each stack will cost you between tk.10 to tk.12.

Multani Mati
Bars made from multani mati are available in superstores like PQS and in Government New Market. Multani mati is referred to a special kind of mud that is available in Myanmar. As a matter of fact, the bars of this special mud are imported from there . Go for the ones which are packed properly. In the outlets of PQS, each bar of multani mati will cost you tk.20. At New Market, each bar is likely to cost you between tk.10 and tk.15. The mud is compacted to give the appearance of regular soap. You can moisten your face and rub the bar on your face or powder the solid mud, mix with water and massage your face with it.

By Wara Karim

On the cover

We've got pearls for the girls this week. Dive down into the centre for the shiny scoop of the week.
Photo: Munem Wasif
Styling Kawshiki Nasser


In our day to day life we often forget to do some important things like going to the dentist's on time or finding out whether that irritation is a symptom for a dangerous disease. However, it's important that some of these matters are looked into, or they may have serious consequences. Here is a reminder of some things that you might have forgotten to take care of.

One day at the dentist's
Experts recommend at least two visits to the dentist every year. If you haven't been to one in quite some time, maybe you should, even if it's for just a check-up. Often teeth may look fine but there may be hidden diseases that could be treated, if diagnosed in time. Children also need to have their teeth checked, so making it a family affair might make the trip more pleasant.

Keep an eye on their eyes
Children (and sometimes even adults) do not realize that they are having problems with their vision. Look out for symptoms like sitting closer to the television set, looking hard at books, eyes watering frequently or complaints about headaches. If any of these symptoms appear, make appointments with your doctor immediately. If your child is having trouble differentiating colors, make sure to take the test for color blindness.

De-clutter your mind
The verdict is here the best way to beat the stress of everyday life is to meditate. There are many approaches to meditating but it doesn't have to be anything elaborate. Take some time for yourself and empty your mind. Through daily practice you can even get rid of old habits and learn to take a new perspective of your thoughts. Research has shown that meditation can prevent depression.

Engine needs servicing?
Your car may be running fine now, but it won't be for long unless you make it a point to replace parts that are wearing out. Make some time to send your car off to the mechanic and it will be in good condition for years to come. The same goes to household appliances like televisions, music systems and computers. Check the outlets from where you bought these items for further information.

By Shoaib Alam


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