|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 2, Tuesday January 8, 2008|
With a BA Hons degree in Marketing and Fashion Design from the London College of Fashion, London University, and a diploma in Menswear Fashion from St Martin's College, London, Samuel H is the newest kid on the block in the men's couture scene in Bangladesh.
We caught up with him late last month as he prepared to launch his line in Dhaka, and in speaking about the state of men's fashion in the country, he said: "Currently fashion here is very Bollywood inspired. People see all these trendy actors in the movies and want to look like them. The problem is, what looks good on a celebrity, after s/he's undergone all the training and styling by professionals, may not work for a lay person. Now women here have many outlets to turn to, and specialists to help them along; but men's fashion is still a largely ignored sector here, in my opinion."
With that in mind, Samuel offers a brand new solution and a breath of fresh air: bespoke couture. He emphasizes that he is not starting another 'boutique' for his designs; nor is he a glorified tailor, rather he intends to work as a sort of style consultant to help his clients achieve their own sense of style and find a look that suits their personalities.
"When someone comes to me for clothes; be it a western outfit or a panjabi, I will first take some time to study him; his age, background, profession, activities, etc and try to grasp his overall personality, and then create a look for him that suits him as an individual, keeping his personal tastes in mind." The couturier modestly adds, "I feel that with my limited knowledge, I could offer him what I've learnt, and maybe learn some more from him as well."
As for Samuel's designs, they are an eclectic mix of western designs and traditional styles with a contemporary twist. There is an emphasis on details and finishing, which transforms an ordinary outfit into something stylish. What adds fun to his designs is that his fabrics and materials are all obtained locally. "People are always amazed when I tell them I get my cloth from places like New Market" he says, with an impish gleam in his eye. "I get everything locally and then add my own touches, be it embroidery, or foil work, or show buttons."
He is also planning to launch his collections thematically to go with special occasions like Pohela Boishakh, Valentine's Day, etc. "I'm doing a lot of homework" he tells us.
Samuel H launched a preview of his work on December 15 at a private showing held at PM lounge. Over soft drinks and finger food, guests had an opportunity to check out and buy some of his designs. The collection consisted of casual wear, traditional formal wear, sportswear and nightwear. There was a lot of classic white, which is Samuel's signature, as well as subtle blues, olive green, and shades of gray, perhaps inspired by the colours of the winter sky. Colour was provided by the bright scarves and mufflers, which were an added attraction of the collection. As he had stated earlier, a lot of research had gone into the pieces so as to result in styles that were subtle, and yet different.
With the casual wear priced at approximately Tk 1500-3000, and the bespoke formal wear at Tk 5000-10,000 the clothes not only look great, but also are easy on the wallet.
Samuel confesses that his ambition would be to design for the local film industry someday. "If I'm being honest, the clothes worn by the actors in the mainstream movies here are slightly tacky and don't do the wearer justice. There is a lot of potential to turn it all around. Proper styling could really turn it around and make people sit up and take notice of the movies."
Samuel H launches his design studio (he shuddered visibly when this reporter mistakenly called it an 'outlet') later this month. For now, his creations are available at Preema's Atelier, House 28 (3rd Floor) Old DOHS, Dhaka Cantonment.
By Sabrina F Ahmad
The shop down the lane
Even to the most skilled shopper, Bashundhara City shopping mall with all its blocks and lanes can prove to be a confusing maze. One shop that stands out from the puzzle is "Swiss Elegance." With a wide array of Swiss watches and knives to offer, Hasnat Enterprise at Level 6 Block D is a must for all who crave for quality.
The brand that instantly caught my eye upon entering the store is the 'Traser' collection. This sporty and fashionable range features labels like Military, Professional, Diver, Super Sport and Classic. The 'Traser' designs have incorporated Permanent Light Technology, a glow in the dark innovation, which edges radium or super luminova. For the tech savvy individuals, 'Traser' watches are priced between Tk 8,750 to Tk 49,000.
Bulova has been on the fashion scene since 1875 and boasts brand ambassador like aviation extraordinaire, Charles Lindberg. Though tagged at a higher price than almost all other designs at Hasnat enterprise, Bulova will certain appeal to fashion conscious individuals craving for the suave impression. Prices range from seventeen to ninety thousand. If Bolova is for the gentlemen, Grovana is certainly for the ladies. The sleek designs in rose gold, gold and silver are more reasonably priced than the lines for the gents. A particular design resembling a traditional bangle can easily be your wedding gift for your better half.
This review would be rather incomplete if the Wegner range of Swiss Army knives are left out. To the McGyver generation of Bangladesh, the gadget holds an air of nostalgia and manly definition. If you have a knack for handy tools, a Wegner can be yours for Tk. 1200 to Tk. 10,000.
By Mannan Mashhur Zarif
On The Cover
Start the year with some glitz and some glam, particularly with the wedding season still going strong. On a more specific note, turn to the Centrefold and Page 8 for handy hints for newly wed couples.
Photo: David Barikder
By Yamin Tauseef Jahangir
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