'Made in Bangladesh' is a tagline that the entire world is familiar with, but sadly, it is associated with fast-fashion, cheap, or low-quality products.
"It is essential we break away from this as it severely undermines our deep rooted and rich history of textiles and clothing and our capability as a nation," says Nabila Nabi, the creative director of Nabila, a renowned name in Bangladesh's fashion industry.
"Our clothing is expensive, exclusive, and the result of a distinct design process with thematic elements that bring out the various components and elements of Bangladesh."
The brand Nabila began its journey in the early 2000s. The fashion brand is the outcome of its founder Shamima Nabi's - Nabila's mother's - passion for design.
Shamima has been an entrepreneur in the garments industry since the 1980s and she was always keen on developing a luxury clothing brand in the country.
Nabila has been involved in its design and marketing positions for the last 10 years.
In an interview with The Business Standard Nabila discussed the brand's motto, how the designs evolved over the years, and their exclusive new collections for Eid-ul-Fitr.
Nabila's design lines focus on Bangladeshi-made apparel and represent the country's craftsmanship, and they also have a retail component where they sell exclusive merchandise from overseas.
Nabila Nabi said, "Before I officially began my journey as Nabila's creative director circa 2016, my mother was adamant about the requirement for my formal training/education in clothing and fashion. It was after I was engaged in my PhD and received training in fashion design that I was permitted to officially take my current position at Nabila."
On keeping up with current trends and how the brand has evolved over the years, Nabila Nabi said, "Nabila began its journey wholly with Bangladeshi made products, however, at the time the Bangladeshi consumer market demanded imported goods, particularly from India and the country strictly followed Indian trends. However, since then, over the years the market itself has matured, especially with the younger generation showing greater appreciation for Bangladeshi-made and innovative apparels. This encouraged both my mother and me to truly promote our individual lines, with a focus on local textiles and artisans and we decided to bring them to the spotlight."
Ever since Nabila started its journey, the brand has been a trend setter in the fashion world.
In 2017, Shamima Nabi created jamdani for men and jamdani fusion wear. During the opening of their flagship store, national team cricketer Shakib-Al-Hasan wore the jamdani jacket and ever since, these jackets have become a staple at Nabila and have been replicated numerous times by others.
Their hand-painted, muslin lines have also garnered a lot of attention because of their neat, eye-catching designs on beautiful shades.
The brand is currently offering online services and live-video calls for online purchases and has an active social media page through which consumers can place orders.
Their exclusive collection for the upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr, 'The Dhaka collection' by Nabila Nabi includes unique designs constructed from jamdani, muslin, velvet, and chiffon based on the colour palette, elements, and stories of Dhaka.
They will be launching 'The Opulent Jamdani' by Shamima Nabi, a new era of luxury jamdani adorned in crystals and pearls.
Shamima Nabi's designer line for Eid-ul-Fitr also includes, 'The Queens of Bengal series' which showcases the extreme high-quality of design and craftsmanship that is attainable in Bangladesh.
These collections are available at their flagship stores and are also available for purchasing- through messaging their social media pages or through calls.
Nabila currently has their flagship store on Gulshan Avenue and another one in Uttara.
Each piece of artwork that Nabila Nabi creates has a story. For example, for 26 March of this year and Bangladesh's 50th year of Independence, she created a saree with the story and illustration of a phoenix which represented hope, renewal, rebirth, immortality, and resurrection. The saree was worn by renowned celebrity Nusraat Faria when she met the
Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi during his state visit to Bangladesh. Their picture was featured on Narendra Modi's official social media platforms.