Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   | Volume 6, Issue 44, Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Check it out

About style guru

Despite a thriving interest in fashion, there is a strong culture of replication in Bangladesh. In response to a need for fresh inspiration, STYLE Guru, a creative product of PURPLE productions, announces the country's first ever fashion designer hunt on television. The contest will be judged a panel of local and international designed who will test the technique and creativity of contestants. Winners will receive attractive prizes that will help them further their careers.

This is an opportunity of a lifetime for Bangladeshi nationals above the age of 18 who have an interest in design, follow international fashion, are able to sketch and showcase personal creativity.

The show will be aired on NTV and its title sponsor is Rangs Ltd.; a brand synonymous with quality, imported cars in Bangladesh. PURPLE Productions has also partnered with Raffles Institute of Higher Education, a Singapore based educational institution with campuses in 33 countries that specialises in teaching fashion design at the undergraduate level, fashion marketing and graphics design etc.

Terence Tan, College Director, Raffles IHE in Dhaka says, 'Local fashion designs cater mainly to local tastes and traditions which is important for the growth of the identity of a nation. The issues start when that local fashion is exposed to the international markets. While people can appreciate it as ethnic culture and design, it doesn't mean that they will wear it or adopt it as part of the international fashion offer. This is because the local fashion represents a specific culture that is not yet present or known to the rest of the world.'

The judges of STYLE Guru, through their advice on the TV show, will set the standards according to their experience in international fashion. Judges and consultants have experience working in the fashion industry in Europe and America, taking national concepts to the international runways. This however, does not mean that local designs will shift from their original inspiration. The final goal will be to improve the standards of the contestants so they can produce local fashion that represent their own culture but in a way that can be accepted and preferred when compared with international designs.

PURPLE Productions CEO Mishu Rahman said, 'We are going all out to bring the real excitement around creating trendy global fashion from Bangladesh. Registration is only possible online where you have to upload your own picture and a limited size jpeg of an original creation. Registration is absolutely free. The form is available at www.PURPLEonline.net . There is no age limit for applicants. We are just looking for creative minds who can impress a global fashion audience with their work. The final three contestants will be able to present their original collections at a grand fashion show organised by PURPLE. Other than this, exciting opportunities to establish a career in fashion design will be available for winners as well as being elevated to celebrity statuses through several episodes of TV appearance.'

Managing Director of Rangs, Romo Rouf Chowdhury believes that a program such as STYLE Guru is a much needed endeavour at a time when the RMG sector of Bangladesh is ready to move on to the next step and add value to international clients by providing design support for garments. And as a large corporate from Bangladesh catering to various lifestyle needs of Bangladeshis, Rangs understands the need to provide deshi haute couture that people can identify with and feel proud of on any platform.

Registration is open until November 30th, 2011.

LS Desk

LS pick

Nocturnal garbs

A girl sitting on top of a bed, in a room with the windows tightly closed, her hair and the curtains alike billowing madly as if a storm were lashing right there in the middle of the room.

A girl, with her hair hanging around and covering her face, sitting on a chair for days on end not even blinking an eyelash.

A girl staggering down an isolated hallway moments away from bludgeoning her next unsuspecting victim to death.

As you might have guessed by now, all the above scenarios depict scenes from famous horror movies. But, apart from that they have one other thing in common: the wardrobe for the antagonist. The trick to being a successful stylist for horror movies is simple! All one has to do is get a few yards of white cotton and make it into a long nightgown with long sleeves and Voila! You have yourself the perfect outfit for a blood-thirsty possessed 13 year old. These movies have managed to brand the classic night-gown as “ghost couture”.

Since I am one of the fragile-hearted individuals, after sitting through such movies the white long-sleeved nightgown has somewhat become an object with an eerie aura for me; something which could give me a near heart attack, if I were wearing it, at say, in the middle of the night and happened to catch my own reflection in the mirror on the way to the washroom.

But just because the white nightgown is a sort of fear factor for me does not mean that I have to wear day clothes to bed! There are loads of other non-scary and comfortable options to sleep in.

Whoever came up with the idea of Bongo Bazaar and Dhaka College Market are lifesavers for girls and women. Along with western wear these places have a variety of nightwear starting from night gowns to pyjamas to negligees.

Quarter pyjamas have always been available at these places in fun prints and colours both in light materials for the hot, humid summer days as well as heavier materials for winter.

Teamed with a t-shirt this is what most girls wear to bed nowadays as well as throughout the day when staying at home. Apart from that they now have a range of negligees you can take a look at for next summer. If you are looking for more expensive negligees take a trip to Sweet Dreams and the Lifestyle store and check out their collection.

The half-sleeved nightgown popularly known as 'nighty' is generally seen to be worn by older women. Bongo Bazaar, Dhaka College Market and New Market have these in materials such as cotton and synthetic in various prints such as floral, stripes etc. These usually cost around Tk.250-300.

Aarong also has a collection of these in different designs with block prints and simple embroidery which are a little expensive.

Since winter is knocking on the door nightwear in flannel are good options. The above-mentioned sorts of pyjamas and nightgowns are also available in flannel. Along with these, flannel (also cotton) night suits, consisting of a matching pair of pants and shirt, can be found which can be worn by both genders. Those of you looking for night suits for kids can find ones with cartoon characters as well at Bongo Bazaar.

If you are not looking to buy ready-made nightwear you are sure to find materials and prints that you will like at Chandni Chawk and Gausia Market.

Whether you are a ready-made wearer or not these places have something or the other to offer everyone. So pay a visit to replenish your night wardrobe and sleep tight!

By Karishma Ameen

Check it out

Midnight feast @ Radisson


Dhaka is a city crying out for night-time recreation. With its traffic being one of the, if not the most, horrendous in the world, normal business hours are often not the best time to venture out into the city. For many, late night ventures seem to be the way to go, but choices are severely limited in this regard.

Fortunately for city-dwellers, Radisson Blu Water Garden Hotel has stepped into the breach with their “Midnight Buffet”, an exciting new initiative that will surely be welcomed by the city's night-crawlers.

“We had been approached often about arranging a midnight buffet, as people often like to go out late at night with their families,” said Radisson General Manager Madhusudan Jhingon to the assembled media personnel during the official launch of the Midnight Buffet at the hotel's Spice & Rice restaurant on November 2.

The buffet dinner will be laid out every Thursday and Saturday night from 11:00 pm to 2:30 am, and includes two salads, six main courses including both vegetarian and non-vegetarian items, two desserts, as well as tea and coffee.

“We will change the menu every week, as we know our customers will want variety from week to week,” added Madhusudhan. “This is also a great place for foreigners to come and relax and have a bite to eat on their way to and from the airport.

“The good thing about having a midnight buffet here is you can be assured of the quality of food, which at Radisson has always been excellent, and equally importantly you can be assured of your safety and security, which we know is very important at that time of night."

The Midnight Buffet was started in mid-October, and the hotel plans to continue it indefinitely so long as there is sufficient demand for the arrangement, which according to the hotel staff, there will be for the foreseeable future.

Guests going to the buffet will have other forms of enjoyment to avail of at the five-star hotel. Right beside the Spice & Rice restaurant, at the hotel's bar The Blaze, Radisson's in-house band Rhythm & Lights will entertain guests with popular songs, western and Hindi.

Maudhusudhan also took the opportunity to unveil Radisson's latest couple's package, which called 'Double Blu' which will be for 2 nights including breakfast, lunch and dinner at Taka 19,999/- only. During their two nights' stay, couples will also enjoy access to the pool and some of the hotel's spa facilities.

The Midnight Buffet costs Tk.999++. For reservations, please call 8754555.

LS Desk

Special Feature

Night football

Most of us, those who have entered the working phase of life, remember a time when life was all about the evenings of playing our favourite sport, be it cricket or football. The whole day centred around that -- coming back from school or university, dropping the bag off at home, maybe a quick change of clothes and a quicker bite to eat, and off it was to the neighbourhood field to release all the nervous energy garnered through a day of inhabiting 'the system'.

Well, we had to say goodbye to that release when we started working, as Dhaka's unforgiving traffic means that the days we come back from work early enough to enjoy an evening outdoors are few and far between. Even if we do come back on time, it is more than likely that with being busy for work, we have lost those connections that enabled us to just go out to the field and play. It is in this scenario that the recent advent of night sports has really been a boon.

Around the turn of the millennium, various localities organised night-time cricket and football tournaments under the bright glare of floodlights, lending the proceedings a grand feel. But that endeavour soon ran into a roadblock -- namely the banning of floodlights for sporting purposes in 2010 because of the drain they caused on the city's electricity supply.

That paved the way for certain groups to take matters into their own hands, such as the one that plays around five nights a week at the Dhanmondi 4 field.

“A group of us bought the lights with our own money, with everyone contributing,” said Alamgir Kabir, an E-Commerce Manager, Marketing and Communications at HSBC Bank who has been playing night football for the last five years. “Last year the government banned night football because of the strain it put on the electricity supply, so we bought our own generator to power the lights, and we split the fuel costs too.”

The group started playing in 2000, and over the years have gathered around thirty-five members. Not all of them play regularly, but it is evident talking to Kabir that the whole operation is run on a gentleman's agreement.

“There are about thirty-five to forty of us who play football, and each of us contributes Tk.1000 per month,” he explained. “Most of us do pay the fee, but as you know there will always be some who will not pay.

“The costs are usually split evenly. But not all of the 35 or forty members are regulars -- about twenty are. Sometimes, in emergencies some of us have to pay more. For example, last month a mongoose got inside the generator and caused about Tk.18, 000 worth of damage. We had to bear that cost, and the group raised around Tk.14,000. The rest was paid by one person.”

The popularity of the game played at night is widespread and evident in the varied ages of the people who play the beautiful game under lights. A young boy was on view, brimming with energy as he ran circles around his older playmates. Upon inquiry it was learnt that he was only 13. At the other end of the spectrum was a 61-year old man impressively giving as good as he got.

“As you can see, there is a wide sampling of age groups here,” said Kabir, who is 37, while pointing out the two extreme samples. “But if you were to ask for an average age, I would say it is people like me in their mid-thirties who have to work and need to blow off some steam at the end of the day.”

Other than the pure enjoyment factor, there is the obvious health benefit of exercising, especially for people in Kabir's age group who spend the entire day indoors behind desks and monitors. “Before I started playing here, I had a migraine problem. Once I started playing, the problem disappeared quickly,” related Kabir. “It's one hour of the best stress relief.”

With night-time sports in a residential area, an obvious concern is whether it disrupts the neighbourhood. Kabir insisted that it did not. “The only way it could cause a disturbance is the loud noise that generators emit. We thought of that, and so we took the initiative to buy a more expensive generator because it is quieter.

“Plus, before we started playing here, there were stories of unsavoury practices going on in the field at night; but now that it is used for sports five nights a week, such happenings are rare. So on the whole it is beneficial to all.”

There are also other areas where football enthusiasts have taken similar initiatives. At the Lalmatia Block D field, unlike the Dhanmondi 4 one, the focus is on tournaments.

“There have so far been three tournaments held,” revealed Arif of the neighbourhood store Arif General Store. “Each tournament costs around Tk.8000 to Tk.10,000 to organise, and the entry fee is Tk.100 or Tk.1000, depending on the number of teams.”

“The electricity is supplied by the man whose house is next to the field,” explained Arif.

Unlike in Dhanmondi, it is not an entirely independent initiative. The Thana and Commissioner's office were involved as it was a public area, and local influential figures also lent their support, as well as the Secretary General of the area.

These are only two areas out of many that have used local initiative to bring about a positive effect on their community. The results are mainly positive, especially in times when the heart and soul cries out for recreation. Moreover, even if in a nutshell, these are excellent examples of how some initiative and independent thinking from small groups can bring about meaningful changes a model that can and should be replicated in other sectors.

Photo: Zahedul I Khan


preparation for NEWBORN BABIES

Luggage for delivery


Shahria Hossain Prity (32) works as an announcer at Radio Bangladesh. She is going to be a mother for the first time. The last week of November is Prity's EDD (expected date of delivery). Over the past month she has been whiling away the time shopping with her husband for the newcomer who will change their lives irrevocably. They have already bought everything they thought they would need, and now they are shopping for things that other family members have convinced them they need.

First-time mothers like Prity experience this intense excitement due to their lack of experience. They build up a sizable collection of bags and suitcases, storing it with both necessary and unnecessary things to take to the hospital when the time comes. Even then they feel restless thinking that they might have missed some essential thing, with the constant fear hanging above them that something will go wrong when they reach the hospital.

Dr Selima Kausar, senior consultant of Gynaecology and Obstetric of BSMMU weighs in with some essential tips: "Rather than being over-excited, mothers should bring some essential things in their luggage to prepare them for delivery. These essential things are comfortable and clean clothes and towels to wrap up the baby, dresses for babies in light, cotton materials; such dresses are available at any market in the city. These dresses should be washed properly at home before use. Mothers can take a teaspoon for the baby as part of a contingency plan in case of the child failing to take breast milk. She can take a flask and a glass for herself. Lastly, adequate napkins, extra dresses, soaps and shampoos for stay in the hospital are also needed."

What you should take to the hospital depends on which kind of hospital you are going to. There are some hospitals in Dhaka where you will have to take nothing with you as delivery preparation, where the hospital will provide you and your baby all sorts of support. Justifiably, the cost of having a baby at these hospitals is higher. Private and foreign hospitals fall in this category.

On the other hand, there are some hospitals where you have to take almost every essential commodity with you. Government and semi-government hospitals are of this category. As the delivery cost is much cheaper at these hospitals, you have to be responsible for arranging the necessary requirements.

Baby clothes
The correct type of clothing for newborn babies is vitally important. As newborns are very fragile and sensitive, you have to be extra cautious while selecting clothes for the baby. Three things should be kept in mind when you buy these outfits: the season, comfort and aesthetic appeal of the dress.

When buying clothes for the baby, you should ensure that the material is eligible for the newborn baby depending on the season. As the duration of winter is very short in Bangladesh, summer occupies the lion's share of the total cycle, so the dresses should be cotton in any season. You should also ensure that the dress material for winter is not synthetic, as they cause itching and discomfort. The baby's dress should be loose; if it is tight-fitting the baby feels uncomfortable and consequently you will suffer. As the child itself cannot express its problems, as parents you will have to anticipate its needs, and comfort is paramount.

Also, the dress should have vibrant, bright colours so as to engage the baby's senses as they are naturally attracted to vivid colours and patterns.

Readymade dresses are available nowadays. Newborn babies typically wear cotton nima, cotton pants or triangle cotton nappies. These dresses are available at any market. Washing them at least once is a must, wherever you buy it from. Popular places for winter dresses for babies up to 3 months old are New Market, Hawkers Market, Bangabazar and of course, the big superstores and recently, even at some boutique shops. Caps, socks, hand gloves and sweaters made of wool are also very important during winter. As a child of this age urinates frequently, you can buy two dozens of pyjamas so that you can change them according to your baby's need. Using diapers sparingly is healthier for babies in Bangladesh.

Warm clothes are not available in the market yet. Shoes made of cloth and foam is available however. To protect your child from the cold you can by a couple of pairs. You can use them alternatively by cleaning them.

Baby bags
Baby bags are part of the essential things you will buy during this wonderful experience. It's best to buy the bag before the birth of your baby, because you may have to venture outside within one week of the child's birth. The necessity may originate from the illness of the child or the mother, or the need to vaccinate the baby.

You also have to consider the size of the bag. If the season is winter, then the number and size of the clothes require more space in the bag. So, buying a big baby bag would be wise in such cases. The size is determined by what may be its regular contents, ranging from dresses, wipers, diapers, wet tissues, if necessary feeders, flasks, milk pots and medicines. Don't forget baby oil and lotion.

Prices of the bags vary according to the bag's size and quality. You can avail different types of baby bags starting from Tk.400 to Tk.2000. You can get them from Dhaka New Market, DCC Market at Gulshan 1, at any large super stores and at the plazas. Remember, from the time of its birth till it reaches at least two years of age, this baby bag will be your essential companion.

By Mahtabi Zaman


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