Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 4, Issue 4, Tuesday January 30, 2007



Soul Dance on the roll

Trend is running at its all-time high in Dhaka. While the 90s saw the city dominated by boutiques that catered exclusively to women, the turn of the millennium reversed more than just a few stereotypes. Ahoy! The spotlight fell on the men. The pitiful creature that had been condemned to a life of eternal fashion assault. Suddenly, pearly light trickled down from the throne of God… and there were myriads of men's fashion houses.

Soul Dance is a new addition in the league. With its flashy billboards hanging overheads, customers are pouring in. And the clientele is expanding.

Soul Dance is a Dutch brand. With one of the entrepreneurs being Bengali, the brand was destined to show itself in this country. “There are very few brands in this country. Most of them are just labels, which try to define themselves as brands,” says one of the spokesmen, “There are only a few brands we respect and only a few gain the respect of the public: Levis, Van Heusen, Diesel… and then there is Soul Dance.

“If you go to street shops in Nilkhet and New Market and the likes, you would see only two brands being faked- one of them is Soul Dance. Does that make us feel bad? Of course not. We could take legal action, but the fact that we are being emulated shows just how much brand value we carry.”

Soul Dance caters to the youth. More specifically, it serves those from the ages of seventeen to thirty five, who want to be fashionable. “What you wear defines you. You have money, so spend all you have in your wallet in fashion,” suggests our source, “Sadly, this attitude has yet to be adopted by the Bangladeshi majority.”

The product line of Soul Dance is divided into four distinct departments: 'Jeans System', 'Clothing Equipment', 'Dance Edition' and 'Smart'. The “Clothing Equipment” section focuses on utility clothing such as pants with multiple pockets and zips. While the 'Dance Edition' is more “earthy” permitting loose-fitted comfort wears, 'Smart' takes the other route- corporate wear that blends in the casual with the classy. And the 'Jeans System' is self-explanatory, providing denim apparels and accessories.

The brand also employs 'visual merchandising' as a major marketing tool. The stores all follow the same colour fusions, music style and theme. The ambience is trendy with strong tinges of youth culture.

In terms of affordability, the price tags may be more than most can reach out to. However, Soul Dance representatives have good justification: “Consider big brands- Armani, Diesel, etc. We, like them, sell quality for a price. Nonetheless, this quality would cost a lot more in cities like New York and Milan. The T-shirt that would have cost around Tk.20,000 abroad is available at so much less. Moreover, the quality we deliver goes unquestioned.”

Soul Dance is also unique in its own standard. It promotes healthy youth, advocating movements that discourage drugs, alcohol and other addictions.

By Shahmuddin Ahmed Siddiky
Photo: Amirul Rajiv

Reader’s Chit

A special milestone reached

It is an awe-inspiring day for all those students who have finished their college education successfully. It's a glorious day for all those teachers who have worked hard to enlighten their pupils with the brilliance of higher education. It is an exciting day for all those parents, who have waited two decades to see their children reach an important milestone in life. It's the convocation ceremony, when degrees are conferred upon students! Convocation is a chance for every university to salute its students for their tremendous efforts and accomplishment while enrolled in college.

The electrifying environment that evolves around a convocation ceremony venue is difficult to express in words. Every face shows the pride of meeting one of the biggest turning points of life. The black gowns and the hoods make it difficult to distinguish the students from each other. The ear-to-ear smile that adorns every face shows the promise of a new future. In 2004, I was at my university's convocation ceremony as a volunteer. The day is still vivid in my memory. Tears glistened in many graduates' eyes when degrees were conferred upon them. I too was touched when the students threw their hoods in the air and then caught them. Since then I waited for my day! And my day had finally come.

As we all queued outside the main hall of the Bangladesh-China Friendship Conference Centre, the crisp weather of an early autumn morning had little effect on us. The warmth that radiated from the students and their laughter beat the cold of the approaching winter season. Many a good memory of college life was recalled and laughter broke out among the students. We remembered the long evenings spent in the computer labs typing project reports frantically. We remembered gossiping over steaming cups of coffee in the college canteen. We remembered having fun in the classes, discussing upcoming events in club meetings, arguing with friends over the topics of term papers, pleading with the professors to be less strict while marking exam scripts and what not. Simple things like waiting in the queue to the elevator or showing ID cards to the security guards burst from the memory cells. Those days are now lost forever. Never again shall I have the pleasure of listening to the lectures of my favourite teachers or shopping with friends in the break between classes or having a quick bite in one of our favourite food outlets of Banani.

While our Vice Chancellor handed me the most coveted certificate, a chill of excitement ran down my spine. For years I waited to stand on this podium to receive the certificate, which is the token of all the hard work of college. For years I waited for the moment when it would be declared loud and clear that “You are now graduates!”. As we moved our tassels from right to the left, the conferment of degrees upon us were declared. The claps and shouts that followed the announcement, I believe would continue echoing in my ears for the rest of my life.

By Wara Karim



home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2007 The Daily Star