Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home   |   Volume 7, Issue 06, Tuesday, February 07, 2012




Chunri - eclectic prints

In mid 80s, when the boutique culture took flight in Bangladesh, the new generations of fashionistas were swept off their feet by the advent of the chunri, the tie and dyed fabric on cotton. Two decades later, the statement is back!

The appeal of the chunri is of course in its vivid colours. It states a statement for the wearer who dares to go the extra mile. Although coming from the distance sands of Rajasthan, the chunri has been customised to the local flavour.

This Falgun, Star Lifestyle goes overboard with the dazzling, shades of chunri. Irrespective of whether you are looking for the suave look in a sari, or a symbol of 'carefree and careless' in a factual -- the chunri is here for you.

The use of chunri print clothes started in Rajasthan, India and spread throughout the subcontinent. Women from this part of India wear an ensemble called the ghagra, worn in the lower portion of the body, which is made of chunri motifs. Although chunri is generally made on cotton, they can also be found on silk and georgette and are popularly worn in bright colours such as red, blue, green, yellow, pink, turquoise and orange.

In Bangladesh, chunri prints are more common in three-piece shalwar kameez sets and saris and dupattas for both men and women.

Chunri saris are usually more appropriate for colourful, social events held in the evening such as holud ceremonies, where either the groom or bride's entourage can often be seen wearing chunri saris in different hues. Cotton chunri saris range from Tk 550 to 800 and can reach up to Tk 1000 or more when wax batik is added to the chunri.

Shalwar kameez
Chunri salwar kameez sets are usually made in cotton and because the demand for cotton rises in summer, the prices of chunri print three-piece sets also increase depending on the season.

Chunri print three-piece sets are priced between Tk 300 to 600 depending on quality. Chunri dupattas range between Tk 100 to 200 each. Three-piece shalwar kameez sets in wax batik are priced from Tk 400 to 650.

These days, chunri prints are also used in bed sheets. Both chunri and wax batik are applied to bed sheets and this product has gained popularity in recent years. Besides bed sheets, men's fatuas, children's dresses, curtains, door hangings and so on are made in chunri prints.

Chunri production in Bangladesh
Bunti, Narshingdi is the primary chunri production hub in Bangladesh. Ninety-five percent of people in Bunti are directly or indirectly involved in chunri production. The white materials used for production are bought from Gopaldi or Madhabdi of Narshingdi. Wholesale markets for chunri are located at Baburhat, Buntibazar and Gausia at Bhulta of Narshingdi.

How chunri print is produced
Firstly, they apply batik print according to the requirements of each chunri design. Then the half-processed material is sent to local women in remote areas to tie up with thread to make the chunri print. After this, the materials are dyed in colour pots and dried in the sun before the knotting is removed. This whole process takes around a week.

Problems of chunri production
Liton Mia is a wholesale trader of the Barek Mollah Supermarket at Bunti. He has been in this line of trade for around six years. He said, "The colour used for both chunri and wax batik require adequate gas for boiling but we have been running this business without access to gas for nearly 30 years. We have to depend on charcoal. As a result our production costs rise. Our local Member of the Parliament promised access to gas connections during his electoral campaign but that has not happened even after three years."

He also said, "We do not have any sewerage system to drain out the colours used for clothes. These colours contain toxic chemicals. As the colours are dumped in surrounding water bodies, the chemicals destroy the lakes and the river. Thus, some form of government intervention is highly necessary."

By Mahtabi Zaman
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Model: Airin
Wardrobe: Maheen Khan for Star Lifestyle
Make up: Farzana Shakil


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