Bangladesh’s fashion artisans face ‘extreme distress’ in pandemic. The pandemic, however, has been a learning curve for many, especially Deshi designers. With smaller teams, open minds and a willingness to adapt, they are riding out the storm by recalibrating their businesses. New collaborations are helping increase sales, a sense of community — where many are extending a helping hand (or e-store) to other designers — is strengthening the fraternity, and exploring new verticals like interior design is gaining them new clients. We speak with a few who’ve stayed strong, on how they changed their course.
HerNet team in conversation with the fashion designer & owner of Kimaya Design studio Nadia Ali & Mimel Nizam .
Q: Bd designers rely on artisans. With factories closed and workers attempting to go home, what impact will it have on production?
Nadia & Mimel- Well to be honest, definitely it’s gonna turn towards major loss which will take months and months to recover.
Q- With regard to couture collections timed for the eid festive, do you expect buyers will continue to spend lavishly?
Nadia & Mimel- Eid is definitely the most awaited month for any kind of clothing line, but unfortunately keeping this prolonged Covid season in view, and the condition where we are hearing from 80% families losing their dear ones, it really doesn’t seem like major part of the society would prefer spending lavishly on expensive clothing.
Q- As a Fashion designers what u faced in terms of heavy rentals for retail spaces, do you think there should be a policy on relief in this matter across the board?
Nadia & Mimel- Well luckily we didn’t have to face much in this corner of the hard phase; as we have rented this place more than a decade, and keeping that in view we didn’t have to face hard and fast rules and regulations. Yet again, there should definitely be a proper policy for rental boutiques during this crucial time.
Q- How long do you think the domestic fashion industry can sustain itself without sales. ?
Nadia & Mimel- Well, we don’t think that there will be ever a phase when there ‘won’t ‘ be a sale, but yet again the sale can go much more lesser than usual. 5.Share the collection that kimaya planned for coming two eid? Well if you guys have already seen our recent Eid collection pics, then you might have got the idea that this Eid we are going for rather simple and light work dresses with quite reasonable prices.
Q- How are you spending time in isolation and how do you think COVID will change our psyche?
Nadia & Mimel- Well, I(Nadia )must say that this isolation period has definitely made our family bondings much more stronger, I got to spend 100% more time with my family now, and yes, have been also experimenting many new recipes from YouTube. Well Covid has already changed our personalities to some extent; such as our patience level and that confession that ‘mankind is definitely helpless in front of Allah’s will.
Q- Most of the fashion boutique are very small scale , run by women from home online or stores. What should be their strategy to combat this uncertain period?
Nadia & Mimel- For that specific category of boutique owners it’s definitely a very challenging phase, For a particular time period they can avail the opportunity of online selling procedure with the stock that they’ve already stalked up, and we hope soon this crucial time will go away. (Inshallah)
Q- Do you think is it a time for fashion to go for green wear rather than luxury and expensive?
Nadia & Mimel- it depends; kimaya is actually experiencing almost all kinds of customers; few are going for casuals, yet again there are customers coming who are about to celebrate their new phase of life for which they are looking for a bit of formal wear.so basically all the customers are not experiencing the same lifestyle. So in that case boutiques can showcase all different kind of collections
Q- Should fashion wear producers start to worry, as the world economy has been hit?
Nadia & Mimel- We personally feel that it’s a prolonged crucial phase which we are facing, but then again it’s a phase that’ll go away so they shouldn’t be worried.
the conversation concluded with being fashion-forward in the current times means staying up to date with the latest trends, but this also leads to the growth of excessive fashion wastes. Tere is a growing demand for sustainable clothing produced through non-polluting raw materials and zero-waste production facilities. In fact, the pandemic has accelerated this demand while also supporting the livelihood of local communities.
In India In order to aid that concept, a sustainable fashion COVID-19 response campaign called ‘RE-Think. Act. Create’ launched the ‘RE.purposed’ initiative. This initiative drives awareness among consumers and fashion stakeholders about social equity, slow fashion, the rich Indian textile heritage, and fashion choices’ impact on climate & Bangladeshi designers can implement this very concept with more improvisation.