Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |  Volume 6, Issue 17, Tuesday, April 26, 2011


22/7 at Ogaan

By Kaniska Chakraborty

How many of us ladies relate good bags to international brands? Whenever the topic of fashionable and quality bags come up, how many of us think that it has been purchased from a foreign country?

I would say quite a hefty number of us would answer with the affirmative. However, there are an emerging number of brands that might soon be changing that mindset within a shorter time than we would expect. Such an upcoming brand is 22/7.

The brainchild of Amrita Islam and Ibnul Wara 22/7 is a Bangladeshi brand of leather bags. “We manufacture bags for the German brand Piccard. What we thought was if our products can sell for as high as 200 euros in Germany why not we cater to the market in our country?” says Amrita and Ibnul and thus, started the journey of 22/7 in 2009 with about 48 bags.

The bags are designed by Amrita and Ibnul themselves and the bags range from clutches to totes to evening bags. They also produce fashionable computer bags for ladies which are rare finds in Bangladesh. And all this is made from pure leather only, except at times a few designs consist of a combination of fabric and jute along with the leather.

The bags are produced maintaining top notch quality. The price range for the products is quite modest starting from Tk1700-6000. The products are targeted toward a varied customer base and the brand is named 22/7 which is the fraction denotation of “phi” the universal constant.

“We chose 22/7 as an indicator to the constant quality maintained by our products."

What's so different about this brand? The answer would be its exclusiveness. The only times 22/7's limited stock of bags are displayed are during their exhibition which takes place around three to four times a year.

“We needed a platform to display 22/7 that was when Ogaan came into the scene” says Amrita. Since its inception 22/7 has been arranging its exhibitions in association with Ogaan Signature Collection which is the local agent of many Indian designers such as Ritu Kumar, Kavita Binita, Preeti S Kapoor and Rachna Sevak (Lakme Fashion Week Designers).

“22/7 is a local brand which we plan to take international” says Amrita and Ibnul. Last year the brand was exhibited in Australia and received appreciation from Bangladeshi expatriates. “We constantly take feedbacks from our clients and try to improve our designs” says Ibnul. At the moment the brand can only be accesses through the exhibitions but, the owners are contemplating starting their own showroom in the future.

The spring-summer exhibition will soon take place on the 28th and 29th of April at Ogaan. So if you want flaunt an exclusive bag this summer be sure to drop by at Ogaan House#20, Road# 117, Gulshan-1, 9895088, 0197056060, 01937056060.

By Karishma Ameen
Photo courtesy: 22/7


Tagore and fashion

"Fashion and styles are miles apart” - Tagore.

Magnified many times, the statement is probably truer now than it was over a century ago. He was a fashionable man, a fact that is sometimes overlooked. Portrayals of both men and women in Tagore's short stories and novels are however distinct. Through his work the social aura of the time comes alive to us and interestingly enough, for readers of today residing in the current social context, Tagore's portrayals come alive with enduring relatable quality.

Books could be penned highlighting Tagore's fashion and style. In fact, the debate endures on whether or not Tagore was 'stylish' or 'fashionable'. Nine designers of our country have dived into the sea of creativity for such a discovery. Dhaka's British Council has only accelerated their creative ventures.

On 28 April 2011 the British Council has arranged for a Tagore Inspired Fashion Show to be held at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel (festival partner) showcasing re-interpretations of Tagore, his creations and imagination. The purpose is the glorious celebration of Tagore's sesquicentennial birth anniversary. The Tagore era -- Era of the British Raj -- was heavily influenced by British fashion of that time. The fashion show will highlight that influence.

The flamboyant band of designers will make Tagore's influences in his work and life come alive visually. It will also bring in a lot of elements of his work - music, art, dance together in a much more contemporary scene fused with influences. This will not only highlight the universalism of his work but also showcase his works in a brand new light, in an unusual artistic platform.

The designers have worked on nine separate themes, each well-crafted, imaginative and well-executed -- Rabindranath throughout the ages (Chandra Shekhar Shaha), Women in Life and Creation (Lipi Khonodkar), Nature (Emdad Hossain), Fusion (Bizly Haque), Camelia (Kuhu Phlemdon), Love and Worship (Shaibal Saha Kumar), Dance and Musical (Tahsina Sahin) Western Influence in Rabindranath's work (Farah Anjum Bari), Rabi in Lines and Colours (Sobyashachi Hazra).

Rabindranath relates to our lives intimately. Like many other artistic expressions the designers have found the scope to rediscover Rabindranath through fashion and style.

-- LS Desk

Man To Man

My toe, my toe, a kingdom for my toe

Last Tuesday (a day I consider to be the worst of all the weekdays, since it's right in the middle and you don't know whether to look forward to the weekend or be overcome by the thought of two more days like Sunday and Monday) was my best Tuesday ever. You see, I am not the most regular of people when it comes to personal grooming (I am not a barbarian, but neither am I suave).

Well, over the last six months, the nail on my big toe had started growing inwards into the flesh, and try as I did to remedy the situation by careful clipping here and there, it had become a hideous piece of nail mutation to the point that surgically removing it was the only way forward.

So I got up at 8 am and went to the hospital for my 12 pm date with the knife (though it seemed they would need a plier to remove it). Bleary eyed, I paid the bill and went to the day care department to wait for my call. What followed was pure, unexpected bliss.

On the downside, I had to wait for two hours; on the bright side, I could wait lying down on a day care bed, the reservation of which was the reason why I had to get up so darn early. The next two hours were spent in the deepest slumber, broken only at 12:15 pm when two orderlies came to take me to the operation theatre….. on a wheelchair.

As I nodded off on my journey while the orderlies talked among themselves about other orderlies who did not really deserve their positions at the hospital, I found myself wishing that the operation would be delayed, so that I would have to 'wait' some more. When we reached the doors to the OT, one of the orderlies asked me to lie down on a gurney and wait.

I was fully awake for the first time in two hours as I hopped on the gurney, and then I was fast asleep again, feeling like I won the lottery. Two hours later, the operation itself took five minutes, and after the initial discomfort of having three large needles poked into my toe, I almost nodded off again on the human-powered transport back to the day care department. I was positively gloomy as I limped my way out of the hospital.

But the fun wasn't over. The doctor -- what a wonderful people they are -- prescribed bed rest, and I enjoyed the rest of the day having people bring me water and make me special food (Thai soup never tasted better). And when I was tired of all the hospitality and pampering, I went to my room, turned off the lights, and woke up next morning.

All for a toenail. So if you plan on cutting your toenails today, it might be worth your while to think again.



Sofa andcouch upgrade

The word sofa is derived from the Arabic word “suffah”, meaning a long reclining bench where wealthy people sat and drank coffee. The sofa has been around for several thousand years. The ancient Greeks and later Romans lounged on sofas when they dined but the privilege was restricted to men while women sat on chairs to eat.

The “modern” interpretation of the sofa was not developed until the late sixteenth century, when wooden frames were padded with feathers and horsehair, introduced by the Germans, or dried sea moss favoured by the English. The seats and backs were wrapped in burlap and covered in rich velvet, wool or silk. These early modern sofas were very expensive and consequently were the prerogative of elites in Europe. The other classes had to make do with benches, chairs and stools.

This week our issue concentrates on upgrading sofas. There are various types of sofas available in the market; some are made of fabric, some use wooden structures with backs and seats made of fabric, some made of cane with cushions and some made of leather. Sofas are generally considered primary pieces of furniture for the living room, followed closely by coffee tables, center tables, book shelves and TV cabinets. Being of such central importance, a new sofa or a change to an existing one thus lends a whole new appeal to a room. If time, choice or financial constraints prevent homemakers from buying new sofas every year or every alternate year, they can easily opt for the latter option making changes to an existing sofa by changing upholstery, using a new fabric with a different colour palette and so on.

A sofa that was once covered in sleek leather upholstery can unfortunately take on a lacklustre appearance after some years, when the leather can be replaced by a more befitting fabric. A variety of textures and patterns for the fabric, cushions, throws can be considered. There are however, other determining factors to take into account as well, such as durability, laundry and maintenance and whether the materials used are appropriate for all seasons. A good option to use is thick cotton or fabrics with a sheen that reflect light in soft, retro shades or pale creamy tones.

Aside from colour palettes and upholstery, it is also possible to change the shapes and sizes of sofas. Large, space-consuming sofas with weighty hand rests can be modified by omitting the hand rest or making it sleek in the correct proportions. Structural changes however, involve major work, making them unfeasible in many situations. Alternatively, small changes can be made to introduce a new look to furniture. Throws and cushion covers are very effective in dressing a sofa up or down. A dull sofa fabric can be smartly concealed by an attractive throw. Throws provide quick makeover options that have become quite the rage in recent years and they differ in terms of size, with some as large as shawls and others as thin as runners.

Different sizes and shapes of cushions can also be used to upgrade sofas, with unusual sizes like 12`` x 20`` or 8``x 8`` cushions occasionally looking more attractive than regular sized ones. Cushions strategically placed on one end of the sofa as opposed to both ends or sofas covered in slips fitted with ribbons or show buttons can be surprisingly effective in enhancing a sofa's appearance. In endnote, the choices really are endless; try out your options today!

Nazneen Haque Mimi
Interior Consultant
E-mail: journeyman.interiors@gmail.com
Photo credit: Journeyman Archive

New In Town

Raffles Design Institute

There used to be a time when parents wanted their children to become engineers, doctors or lawyers. However, that scenario has changed in the recent past. Gone are the days when students used to prefer only such conventional subjects to study.

Nowadays students prefer to study those subjects that actually interest them, be they conventional or unconventional. Designing students now have a broader range of subjects to take up for higher studies.

However, such scope is quite limited in the country with very few institutions providing education on unconventional subjects like Fashion Design and the likes. With the intention of providing Bangladeshi students such an opportunity, Raffles Design Institute (RDI) arrived in the country.

Raffles Design Institute, with 37 branches world-wide, has just started its Bangladeshi branch this year.

“There is a lack of good quality, international oriented tertiary education institutes in Bangladesh. We feel Raffles can offer something of value in that context, to the students here by following an international curriculum,” is how Terence Tan, College Director, puts it.

The subjects offered at Raffles are Fashion design, Business, Visual Communication, Fashion Marketing and Management and Biomedical Science depending on their demand.

Raffles provides a 2 year diploma program after which a 1-year Bachelor degree program is provided. On completion of the Bachelor degree graduates are required to finish a three-month internship.

The minimum requirement for enrolling into Raffles is an Ordinary Level degree. This is a fast track program which allows students to complete their Bachelor degree within three years after their O' level exams instead of spending two years for an Advanced Level degree and the usual 4 year Bachelor program.

This form of fast track program is quite popular outside the country and allows students to join work quite early in life. One other objective of Raffles is to offer tertiary education to working adults, thus people belonging to older age groups may also join the institute.

Moreover, students have the option of completing their Bachelors degree from any of the other 37 branches across the globe which will give them the opportunity to have a multicultural experience.

“I heard about Bangladesh from friends and thus took up the job at this branch of Raffles. My current students are wonderful and have a lot of potential and in the near future they will be participating in various fashion weeks,” says Lorena Mariscal Pagola, Fashion design lecturer from Spain.

Her student Musarrat Hasin Rahman says, “I wanted a basic education in Fashion designing and this institution will allow me to get Bachelor degree in any part of the world that too in only 2 years time. The faculties are fantastic and the campus is really nicely done”.

Raffles Design Institute employs international faculties who are familiar to the international market and are thus aware of what kind of knowledge will be useful for the local students to be successful on an international platform.

RDI maintains strict consistency in terms of curriculum across all its campuses. Internship and job placement is facilitated by RDI which is attributable to its extensive industry contacts.

RDI pays attention to each and every student's needs by limiting the number to a maximum of 20 in every class and keeping the classes small and personal. The campus provides superior facilities and separate floors are devoted to the different subjects. The campus is well equipped with a Mac lab mainly for graphic designing purposes and also a PC lab.

“I was initially attracted to RDI because of its reputation. Classes are very interactive and I fell Raffles will help enhance my capabilities. We get to access a huge assortment of books in the library and wi-fi which is very rare in most campuses” says Musa Khan, a Business Administration student.

The Business Administration lecturer Christoff H. Wiethoff from Germany puts it this way, “Raffles is completely different from what I expected. Working conditions are very good and the facilities are in fact better than the public schools in Germany”.

For those of you who feel that you want a change from the usual educational institutions of the country and want a more international touch to your education then Raffles Design Institute is the place for you situated at Saimon Center, House 4A, Road 22, Gulshan Commercial Area, 989 3336,0119 040 8769,email : enquiries-dhaka@raffles-design-institute.com.

By Karishma Ameen
Photo Courtesy: Raffles Design Institute


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