It is the dream of every fashion designer to have his/ her own boutique shop one day and have a well-established brand that would bring about a change in the fashion industry.
However, Ezmat Naz Rima refuses to fall under that category. She just wants to keep creating new designs, play with colours and fabrics, and ultimately give her clients what they desire.
"We often forget what clients want and try to impose our opinions on them. But the idea is to merge the client's wishes and our skills together to create something beautiful," she said. In 2014, she came back to the country after completing her studies at the Raffles Design Institute in Bangkok, Thailand.
She started her boutique in 2016 and by 2017, she became a member of the Fashion Design Council of Bangladesh (FDCB) and began to work on fashion weeks.
Her goal was not always to become a designer. She wanted to become a teacher when she was younger. Rima said, "After I passed SSC, I had some free time in my hand and I wanted to make good use of it. So, a friend and I decided to design clutch bags. She would sew them while I would create the patterns and take pictures of the products.
"Those bags that we used to make garnered a lot of attention. I remember two collections that we produced for Pohela Baishakh and Eid became quite popular, and everyone was praising our products."
"I juggled between wanting to study fashion photography and fashion designing and ultimately decided on the latter," she added When she enrolled at Raffles, the school had a threeyear Honours degree in fashion designing where the last year had to be spent in one of their international campuses.
Rima's parents were initially hesitant about her decision, but when they saw this is what she desired, they became supportive.
"I got married in 2014 and my husband's support, along with my family's, helped me go through rough patches. When my photo gets published on newspapers or social media, my father is the first to spot them and praise my work," she said enthusiastically. Within a year of starting her boutique, Rima became successful in becoming a general member of FDCB, something she is proud about achieving.
The young designer said, "I get messages from new, aspiring designers who ask me how they can become FDCB members. I tell them that they should work hard and carefully build their portfolios so that they too can get selected." Senior designers in FDCB are always helpful and they try to guide the freshers as much as they can.
"I am grateful about how some of my seniors in the fashion designing industry have helped me and groomed me. I want to be able to do the same with those who are next in line to me."
Currently, her studio is a two-room space in her house in Gulshan where clients can come in after making an appointment. She plans on opening a shop in future, but not before gaining enough experience.
Her choice of material involves local silk, khadi, muslin that she sources from shops within the city and her staff do the embroidery works. The factory is situated downstairs at the same building where she resides. Looking at her embroideries, it is apparent that Rima likes to design her clothes as neatly and precisely as possible.
She uses a variety of colours – from jewel tones, sparkles to soothing pastel shades and matte metallics. It was evident from her collections (the ones that were on display) that she likes to experiment with fabrics and colours. She showed us dresses from her very first collection where she kept in mind the season and picked the colour palette accordingly.
One of them had embroidered birds designed against a background of orange and green to embody spring. Pointing at the shelf behind her, Rima said, "I personally like to use pastel shades, but as you can see, I have fashioned pieces in lime yellow and electric blue because clients like trendy things."
Her collection is a fusion of traditional designs and global trends and consists of everything from sarees and kurtis to shirts, and even full-set salwar kameezes. Muslin and raw silks are her favourites for winter dresses and clients like them too.
"There was a time when people thought I only designed for fashion weeks and ramps since they had no idea about my boutique studio. It was my fault because I never pushed for marketing or advertising my brand. Self-promotion was not my cup of tea but now, I plan to amp things up and become more active", she smiled.
Rima is now active in social media and usually takes her orders through her Instagram and Facebook page. The time it takes to deliver a dress depends on how elaborate the design is, or how many pieces need to be made, but a simple one-piece can be delivered within 3-4 days.
Her dresses are priced between Tk5000-Tk14000 but some of the single tops are sold at Tk3000. "Right now I am designing for niche clients," she said. "But I will start working on customised regular wears. There is a misconception that the higher the price of designer clothes, the better their quality but I do not believe in any such thing. If the client wants, I am open to working on a budget."