Dhaka International Trade Fair 2011
The Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF) is a widely anticipated event for Bangladeshis, who eagerly await this event throughout the year.
Although many people have come to this fair for the 8th or 9th time, their eagerness does not seem to diminish, especially women and children. The fair offers a festive atmosphere and many people come here with their friends and family members. They visit different stalls and pavilions, take photos on the fair grounds and have lunch or chotpoti, fuchka and ice cream. This year a fantasy park with five rides was added to the list of attractions at the fair for children.
According to many visitors, one of the main reasons for repeatedly visiting the fair are the otherwise limited options for entertainment in Dhaka. Limon, Faisal and Asif are cousins studying at different private universities across the city. They came to the DITF with their cousin from USA, Samir, who works as a fashion designer in New York. 'Although the fair is not at par with international standards, I spent the whole day with my family at the DITF and we had a lot of fun', said Samir.
Popular choices for women at the fair are household products such as aluminum and stainless steel utensils and ceramic products, jewellery, clothing, footwear and home décor goods.
The Turkish and Iranian stalls remain especially crowded every year. This year the Turkish stall has added ornamental ceramic products and wall hangings to their product list.
The aspect of participation from foreign traders in this fair is an added attraction to shoppers and visitors, who expect to find new products at the international stalls. This year there are stalls from Thailand, Iran, Pakistan, India, Korea and Turkey among others.
Interesting to note was the fact that Indian and Bangladeshi stalls for aluminum products were located side by side but larger crowds were attracted by the Indian stall.
Some shoppers, however, do not share in the enthusiasm for foreign products. “Besides poor participation of foreign countries, the quality of products is not satisfactory. These products are also available in Bangladeshi shopping centers. The products are also priced at rates higher than the existing market price.” said Fahmida Mahbub, a housewife.
Sales executives add a different aspect of flair to the fair, making it more lively and attractive. Well-groomed, smartly clad sales assistants can be seen catering to clients with much expertise.
The youth of Dhaka eagerly waits to take part in the salesmanship of this fair every year. In most cases the reason behind their eagerness is to gather work experience before applying for full time jobs.
The stalls are tended by members of both sexes in equal numbers. “Most employers in Bangladesh demand experience from new applicants but the opportunities to gather honourable job experience in Bangladesh is very limited,” said Nishitha Paul, who is currently working at the Legion Herbal stall. Nishitha, a 2nd year Sociology student of Eden Girl's College is working part time at the trade fair. She has to introduce 19 products of Legion Herbal including six new ones to customers. Besides introducing these products, she has to convince customers to make purchases. “I deal with different types of clients, try to know their psychology, promote my products, prepare vouchers package the products,” Nishitha said.
In developed countries, students have the opportunities of seeking part time employment where they are appropriately paid. In Bangladesh, the scenario is completely different. The concept of odd jobs has a certain stigma attached to it. Generally jobs that require any amount of physical exertion are considered degrading, restricting students from working in retail outlets or restaurants and so on. These jobs are also ill paid, further narrowing the scope and incentive for part-time employment.
Jannatul Ferdaus, another sales girl at Intraco International pavilion is working as a full-time attendant. She has to work at the pavilion from 10:00am to 9:00pm everyday. A diploma student of Pathology, she said, “I am enjoying the job but it is also hard for me, because I have to leave home by eight in such cold weather. After a whole month's work, I will get Tk10, 000 with which I will buy books for my course”. She added, “However I have learnt how to behave formally with different people from different age groups.”
Some organisations of DITF advertise sales assistant vacancies in local newspapers to employ students at their pavilions and stalls. Most of the organisations employ these new comers on references and sometimes their own employed sales representatives of different outlets are also employed at the DITF. Deputy General Manager of Bestway Foundation Limited Md Zafar Iqbal said, “Both the boys and girls work equally well. Our satisfaction level with the newly employed girls and boys is almost 99 per cent. As the job is new to them and they are gaining practical experience in sales, they enjoy the work very much. Sometimes we find the performance of the girls is more appreciable, because their patience level is higher than that of the boys.”
As visitors and sales representatives participate in the DITF with great enthusiasm, the fair gets enriched every year. Although many people feel discontent after visiting the fair, they never lose their attraction for it and that is the strength of this fair.
By Mahtabi Zaman
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
A cut above the others
Uttam Ghosh, who won the Best Designer Award in November 2010 for Dhaka Fashion Week at Shilpakala Academy, had also won an Indian President's Award, for being the best student in Shantiniketan. Since then he has made a documentary film on the fashion designer, Bibi Russel, and had several painting exhibitions in Dhaka. The last two, the film and painting exhibitions, were well covered by the media.
Ghosh has studied at Shantiniketan, on a prestigious Indian scholarship, learning drama, visual art, music etc. He has been taught by reputed Indian teachers such as Subramanayam.
Ghosh is well aware of both famous Parisian and Indian fashion scenes. He has worked for several well-known fashion houses in Dhaka and has been known to present his well-wishers with fascinating kurtas and saris, which are embellished with subtle dyes along with silk threads, sequins, satin trimmings in the form of breathtaking ribbons etc.
One has known him to sing request songs, non-stop, from Gazipur to Dhaka. He is well- known for his recitation skills too.
Well-mannered, this tall family man -- with a thick jet-black crop of hair -- has his mother and sisters as his first priorities in life.
He has combined jute with threads to make a fibre, which is like the traditional jamdani. With this fabric, well known for ages, since Roman times in Europe, he made designs, which he has recently presented on the ramp.
When speaking with The Daily Star, Ghosh agreed that one must only copy what is in vogue, but should wear what suits the person and age, especially the bourgeois working woman. He admits that one must look good to feel good. “Ours is a young country. We have various hurdles to still overcome. Nevertheless, we have better support from nature, than in many other places. If we are able to harness the gifts from nature, we can match many European and subcontinental counterparts.”
Ghosh grew up in a family at Norshindi that encouraged curiosity in cultural fields. His grandmother and mother sewed salwar kameez sets with designs and embroidery of their own. While studying in Victoria College, Comilla, he designed and made his own shirts and fatuas.
He studied in Shantiketan for six years, beginning in 1992. He has developed his penchant for cultural interest, painting, acting and music with teachers there. This included Porish Bandhopadya (drama plus painting), Taruk Sengupta, Dibesh Rai Chowdhry (drama), Kanika Bandhapaddya (music), Gora Sorbhodokari, K G Subramaniam (painting), Buddho Devdas Gupta (film, which includes recitations and singing), etc.
Earlier on, Ghosh studied in the Commerce Faculty at Dhaka University.
Returning to Bangladesh, he learnt spinning and weaving with traditional jamdani weavers. From what he has learnt, he feels that each weaver makes something remarkable. Combining their designs and those of his, he believes that he has come up with something that is fresh and new.
Ghosh says that he owes his know-how and inspiration of designs to Paritosh Bondhopadya (1992-1996). Returning to Bangladesh he worked for various boutiques. Earlier on, back in India, he had experimented with “kantha” stitch. He had them done by Santal girls and the outlet was “Aarong”. For Eid and Pohela Boishak he continued dress designing, along with his other interests like painting and music. The other outlets of his penchant for fabric creations were “Onno Mela”, “Darkak”, and “Ekkatur” and many others.
By Fayza Haq
CHECK IT OUT
Fair Distribution Limited (FDL), a renowned distribution company, has introduced Olitalia, the renowned pure, olive oil producing company of Italy. The product has already created a huge market demand among consumers as a very effective skin care solution for babies and people of all ages.
The Vitamin E and biological anti-oxidant in Olitalia prevents skin ageing by decreasing skin sagging and wrinkles and keeps the skin re-vilatised. Men and women of all ages can prevent skin damages by applying Olitalia daily on their skin. Available in 100ml, 150ml and, 250ml bottles, Olitalia is available in all reputed outlets of the city.
Olitalia is one of the leading edible oil companies of the world and is also the most distributed olive oil brand, reaching over 130 countries at present. In 2006, Olitalia was awarded the Superior Taste award by International Taste and Quality Institute - an institute comprising of the most famous European chefs and taste specialists.
In Bangladesh, Olitalia is working alongside Diabetic Association, Bangladesh in creating awareness for the prevention of diabetes in Bangladesh.
There are 10 different Olitalia oil and vinegar products in the market at present.
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