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Spot Light

The joie de vivre of fashion designing

Louk Grauwen, a soft-spoken garments designer was here in Dhaka before the Christmas season, studying samples of fabrics of different quality and make; fancy apparels and ready-made garments designed for Bangladesh's export and local markets. Having studied the production of clothes in cities of South Asia, he compares the quality and finish of our products with those from places such as Japan, Vietnam and India. Based in Amsterdam, he has the opportunity to study garments quality, and to search for possible markets for them in European capitals and in USA. For the last three years he has repeatedly come to Bangladesh.

Louk has conducted workshops in Dhaka sponsored by LEIC (Local Entrepreneurs Investment Centre), funded by CEDA, giving informative and interactive lectures involving slideshows and exchange of views and news with the young local designers. He hopes to return next year for more such useful dissemination of information and know-hows. Intellectual and well-trained, inspired and driven, the visiting garments expert takes back happy memories, not only as regards to our swirling, silken saris but to also our clothes, with vegetable dye, and "zardosi" embroidery (embellished with sequins, beads, seed pearls and glinting threads).

Sitting at a home of two leading sculptors, Lalarukh and Towfiq, tasting ‘taler pitha’, Louk spoke at length about his visit to Dhaka and the project that it involved. He visited eight boutiques followed by two workshops, one with the boutique owners and the other with the designers of the boutiques.

Talking about the junior designers, Louk said, “They presented serious artwork designs although this has nothing to do with fashion designing in the western societies. They carry out the hackneyed aspects such as embroidery and do not focus on the new in-vogue shapes. They were not quite focused on aspects of garment design, such as cuts and silhouettes. How can a girl, eking out a living, sitting behind the sewing machine really enjoy her work?

"It was interesting to discuss, however, the feel of fabrics on the body and how to deal with such feelings. There is concern for the embroidery, and perhaps not much more, speaking on the international level. One has to be aware of what silk or cotton does to the skin. It is important for a designer to have knowledge about such subtle feelings and nuances, as well as the joy of wearing of fashion fabrics. When one manufactures a product, the joie de vivre of the designer is essential."

Touching on the how, in his opinion, Bangladesh compares with the rest of South Asia, Louk said that he had been to New Delhi, Orissa, Tokyo, Hanoi and Colombo. He said that especially in India the designers had subtly amalgamated western ideas with those of the east. They have, in this manner, developed their own fashion trends in which cultural values were combined with more western type of garments, he said. This, he remarked was very interesting to study. 'Sub-continental garments', he pointed out, 'could get good prices in places like Japan."

Asked how Dutch products compared with those in the European capitals, Louk said that that Holland has one of the best fashion design houses, Many European fashion designers are trained in the Netherlands.

When asked whether he'd met up with the well-known Bangladeshi fashion designer, Bibi Russell, he said that he had admired her talents and her unique feats.

Talking about the western projection of Bangladesh as a victim of natural calamities and other unavoidable strife, he said that the people worked with high hopes despite all odds and that his hat was off to them, especially to the working women.

By Fayza Haq


Handyman hints

Here are a few pointers that would be handy around the house…
For increased warmth, fold old sleeping bags in half and line them with flannel sheets. You can attach the flannel all the way around the bottom and the top you can leave loose so you can either "cover up with it" or you can lie on top of the flannel sheet if it gets too warm.

Sharpen razor blades by using the striker on a matchbook.
Duct tape, how can people forget the most flexible and useful material known to man? It has so many uses, from repairing torn greenhouses to sealing pipes.

For nailing small nails, place the nails between the teeth of a comb.
Sandpaper will last longer and work better if the paper backing is dampened slightly before wrapping around a block of wood.

Sticky dresser drawers will slide easier if you rub candle wax or soap on the runner on the side of the drawers.
Apply soap or wax for easier screwing.

If a screw is loose, stick a wooden kitchen match or tooth pick in the hole and break it off, then put the screw back in.

Fill an old nylon stocking with cedar chips for a sweet-smelling closet. This will also serve as a moth repellant.

Fishermen or boaters, drill a hole through a large cork and fasten your key chain through it. Keys will float if dropped overboard.

Store your fishing license in an ink pen. Remove the cartridge and replace with rolled license. Clip to your pocket or store inside tackle box.

-LS Desk




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