Re/DRESS (role) models live in or are passing through Bangladesh. Committed to the vision of Re/DRESS they have volunteered to demonstrate how versitle the collection is, by bringing their own accessories and showing off their individual personalities. (Photos: Monon Muntaka Shova)
Ruxmini Reckvana Q Choudhury, age 29, art curator and researcher, born Rajshai, Bangladesh. 'As I am the daughter of two artists, I consider myself a collaborative artwork. My sense of style is a mess! I love loose clothes, colourful scarves, I throw together my outfits without thinking as I run out the door... over the years this has become my signature style.'
Aidha Cader, age 51, Islamic geometric artist, freelance journalist, management accountant, born Colombo, Sri Lanka. ‘I’ve been in fashion as a designer and have had my own retail label. I started wearing the hijab when my daughter was two years old. I want to be stylish within the framework of Islamic modesty—to teach my daughter that we can be fashionable yet modest. I say: ‘my choice, my hijab.’ I aim to break the stereotype of a hijabi woman.’
Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo, age 31, curator, artist, organiser, born Dhaka, Bangladesh. 'I try to exist by pushing through this dysfunctional functional reality by committing to the true unpredictability of the future. I love exploring the safe pockets of this madhouse of a city (Dhaka) and I try to connect them in one knot. I love germinating and cross-pollinating ideas between these spaces to create madness.’
Carlos García Hernàndez, age 37, facilitator of global education programmes, born in Valencia, Spain.‘I was born in a small village in the Mediterranean, surrounded by olive trees and mountains. I’ve been able to observe the beauty in diversity. I’ve circumnavigated the southern hemisphere in the peace boat as a volunteer. Since 2016 I’ve been leading programmes with teens in the global south. I love music, Mediterranean food and hiking.’
Ørjan Færøykavlen Ellingvåg, age 55, photographer based in Switzerland and Bangladesh, born on the west coast of Norway. 'My middle name Færøykavlen stems from a twenty acre big island outside Florø on the westernmost tip of Norway. It literally means the tiny island next to the Sheep Island. That’s where my mother’s family have homesteaded for 80 years. My family name, Ellingvåg, means the Bay of Ducklings, and has been in my father's family for generations going back three centuries. I cover politics, finance, breaking news, the arts and stories related to climate change.'
Luva Nahid Choudhury, age 60, architect and arts organiser, born Karachi, Pakistan. 'I really care about what things are made of and how they are made. I usually wear a saree, and love the fact they can be passed down from generation to generation.'
Laura Sophie Schnieders, age 32, development advisor, born in Germany. 'You are what you wear!'
Zareef Cader, age 52, professional accountant, (CPA- USA), born in Colombo Sri Lanka. Joined the fashion and apparel industry in 1997. Lived and worked in the USA, Sri Lanka, India and in Bangladesh since 2009. From my days working with Victoria Secret lingerie to high street formal wear I have witnessed the change in the industry over the last 25 years. Body positivity, diversity, sustainable fashion and recycled fabrics - all positive inroads to the ever changing fashion and apparel industry.
Pat Kerr, age 71, founded and runs a residential mother and child home in Bangladesh which opened in 1989, born in Lostwithiel, UK. 'Working with women and children in rural Bangladesh my priorities with clothing are comfort and propriety. In the summer I just look for whatever seems coolest- a far cry from an earlier life as a flight attendant! Up to six hundred people live here at any one time and our recycling and cleaning programmes are important elements of our empowerment process and sense of community. So I love this range of clothes which is ethical and cool and comfortable with an edge to the simple lines!'
Ruhul Abdin, age 36, born in Maulvibazar, Bangladesh. Community organiser/urbanist working in Korail, Bangladesh. 'I am living and working between London and Dhaka across realms of socially engaged art, architecture, urbanism, and design education.'
Esther Comino Álvarez, age 33, ceramicist, born Madrid, Spain (daughter of Mercedes and Jose).'I quit my job after lockdown and started living the life I wanted. I choose to be who I am.' Esther is wearing earrings from her own collection of ceramic jewellery.
Sarah Karim, age 47, born in Kolkata India. I am the designer and owner of the brand ‘Sarah Karim Couture' (www.sarahkarimcouture.com) which is Bangladesh’s leading known fashion house specializing in bespoke bridal wear and couture. Tracing our roots to the Dhaka Nawab family, it was my grandmother who started this organization as a charity almost 40yrs ago. her idea was to create employment for artisans who no longer enjoyed any patronage from erstwhile nawabs and zamidars. I took it upon myself to continue this rich legacy and revive certain dying crafts, especially ones which are labour intensive like the Zardozi and Karchopi. We’ve reinvented many designs and started a new line of formal wear with modern cuts and drapes. I feel fashion should cut across boundaries and the juxtaposition of the traditional and the modern is a hallmark of most of our creations!
José Comino Pulido, age 75, psychologist, born Madrid Spain (partner of Mercedes). 'I am an eternal seeker and a forever learner. Happiness in life comes from loving people and loving nature.'
Taiara Farhana Tareque, age 28, artist, art curator and gallerist, born in Dhaka, Bangladesh. 'There is an innate sense of beauty inside all of us, we know, even when we doubt ourselves, we know what true beauty feels like. May we live to experience the lives of many, in one.'
Mercedes Alvarez Bustamante, age 75, psychologist, born Zafra, Spain. 'Now that I've reached this age I realise we don't have to have any limits. Let us enjoy our lives in a positive way and in solidarity with each other.'