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     Volume 4 Issue 65 | September 30, 2005 |

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Putting Bangladesh on the
Fashion Globe

Elita Karim

If attitude is an integral part of style then certainly Aneela Haque's designs have plenty of it. "I prefer my creations to stand out and show the right attitude," says Aneela, also owner of an advertising agency and a public relations and event management company. "I suppose that's what the people who walk into my store want as well."

Merging elements from the rural culture and urban sophistication, Aneela's designs are a combination of the east and the west. Having launched her fashion label, AnDes (ANeela's DESigns) about ten years ago, Aneela is one of the pioneers of Bangladeshi fashion today. She is also one of the seven founding members of Bangladesh Fashion Alliance that organised the first Bangladesh Fashion Week in 2004.

"My clothes and garments are like a passport to the world," she smiles. Her designs speak of the traditional Bangladeshi handicrafts, including the many influences that she has had.. "I love ghazals, karate, reading, gardening, interior designing, gardening and travel," she lists. "Travelling led me to work with different cultural motifs, for instance, fiery dragons from China, the hieroglyphics from Egypt, elements from Africa, Paris, India and also various elements from rural Bangladesh," she adds.

These elements are apparent in the 12 designs that Aneela created for the Bridal Asia collection to be held in October in New Delhi. Launched in 1999 by Indian designer Divyaa Gurwaara, Bridal Asia is a premier bridal show that showcases the latest bridal collections by the top designers in and around the country. "Bridal Asia is platform where one can actually see the obvious display of diversity in culture," explains Aneela. "Famous names like Ritu Kumar, Mona Pali, Arjun Khanna and many more are actively involved in this event. Even Mahin Khan from Bangladesh had represented Aarong from Bangladesh in this event last year."

Among the well known designers, Aneela Haque will be representing her own designs for the first time, representing Bangladesh this year at the three-day Bridal Asia event to be held at the Taj hotel in New Delhi from October 8-10. She will be unveiling, what she calls, "a poetic journal" where the "Majestic Royals by Aneela" will be displayed on the runway. "Travelling over the years has made me extremely sensitive to the cultural and social beauties of every country," she says. "There's something so beautiful in music, the art and the poetry that every culture represents. These art forms have a lot to say about one's own identity as a person as well. Every designer has his or her own character traits or identity marks clearly sprawled on the designs. One just has to look carefully at the clothes to know what exactly these characteristics speak of."

Her collection for Bridal Asia, in bold colours of red, black and white, is inspired by the writings of Rabindranath Tagore, Jibonanondo Das from Bangladesh, Chinese intellectual Li Bai from China and French poet Appolianaire.

"Marriage is a happy occasion and it reminds me of the colour red," she smiles. "There is so much romance in Tagore's poetry, which led me to use verses from the songs Tumi je surer agun and Tumi kemon kore gaan koro."

Aneela has used jute-silk, a variety of cottons, khadi, muslin and crepe-silk for her designs. "My clothes have various scriptures and calligraphy on them," she explains. "Being someone who appreciates being global, rather than pointing down to a particular culture, I have tried to blend my own culture with bits and pieces of the ancient cultures from Egypt, Paris and many others."

Aneela describes Bridal Asia as an event which literally breaks all cultural barriers and brings everyone under one roof. "The best part about this event is that there are cross cultural exchanges that take place and are very much welcomed by the artists present there."

Bridal Asia has had designers from the subcontinent coming together to display their designs and speak their expressions. Very soon, however, designers and creators from Singapore, UAE from the Middle East and London will be participating in this yearly event.

"Bridal Asia is coming to Bangladesh!" exclaims Aneela. "It will have one of its branches here in Dhaka very soon, which I will be heading. I plan to start work in December, merging festive occasions like Eid, Christmas, New Year, the wedding season together, not to mention winter itself, where a variety of designs can be created." Aneela also plans to involve designers from other countries such as Pakistan and India. "Eventually, we can move farther on the globe," she quips.


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