Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 4, Issue 37, Tuesday September 18, 2007




Although certain subject matters are entirely unnecessary for the well-informed, column space dedicated to the tailoring industry of Bangladesh is essentially a form of need-based aid for the men who never understand and for the women (much more offensively) who think the whole obsessive, compulsive fascination with shopping and tailors is a dear waste. The industry in question however, has developed to such heights as to become one of the busiest and most sought-after lines of trade, to the extent that whatever the range of work they undertake, tailors can be called little else than mandatory.

So far ahead has been the development of the industry and so consuming have been its effects on our lives, the tailor culture has made way for several sub-industries and incorporated into its ranks several other services that have branched out into separate enterprises within themselves. These in turn have not only characterised our sense of style, but has become nothing short of distinctive lifestyles on their own.

A truly revolutionising trend to have hit our local fashion scene, the popularity of block printed clothes, from saris to salwar kameez sets to fatuas to panjabis is still running strong. The initial success of this industry has had staggering impacts on much more than only fashion and led many an ordinary housewife to believe that being an entrepreneur was something feasibly doable. Although it effectively made for financial freedom of the kind feminists would be proud of, it also gave rise to the almost absurd number of boutiques that our city sports today.

However, subscribing to done-to-death designs and frighteningly homogenous outfits is not a crisis you need endure, because at the same time that boutique this and boutique that was mushrooming behind every second door, our trusty tailors were gearing themselves up to rise to the occasion as well. Today, numerous tailoring houses across the country offer block printing services alongside their usuals and some run the extra mile in operating a separate house only for this purpose. Khaleda Hasan, a long-term client of Mou Tailors in Lalmatia says, 'Initially they offered both facilities under one roof, but after they attracted a separate clientele altogether for block, they expanded their business in terms of both work undertaken and physical space.'

The advantage this offers is that customers do not have to settle for someone else's choice in clothing and can have their own outfits block printed and custom-made. Just as certain tailors specialise in this form of print, certain boutiques also take orders and offer tailoring services to their customers. At Shaad- a block printing house in Mohammadpur-for example, after customers place orders and the initial block work is done, clients can either get the unstitched materials made by personal tailors or use the tailoring facilities that Shaad employs.

The Cut




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