Our treasure trove of local fabrics is quite rich. Muslin, Jamdani, Khadi, Silk, Taat, Monipuri - all these local fabrics are unique in their texture, material and weaving technique. But how many of us regularly opt for these fabrics while buying clothes?
Sisters Zarin Tasnim Reza and Nazifa Tabassum are exceptions in this case. Since childhood, they have worn clothes made from locally-sourced fabrics.
"Unknowingly, our love for local fabrics grew. Later, when we started making conscious choices, we stuck to our old habits and our love for local fabrics inspired us to create our own clothing brand named 'Piran'," said the younger of the siblings, Nazifa Tabassum, the co-owner and coordinator of Piran.
Piran promotes the locally-sourced fabrics from Bangladesh by making trendy clothes out of them, targeting especially the youth. The fashion brand has already created a buzz over the last four months with their fusion Jamdani clothing - tunics, fatuas, kamiz sets, tops, and panjabis.
Up until now, Piran has served over 250 customers and the demand has been pretty high. Both men and women take interest in their clothing, even though it is assumed that Jamdani is only to be draped on female bodies.
"Perhaps we will be able to break this notion and make Jamdani a gender neutral fabric. Men in their 30s have expressed interest in our clothing. But we are still experimenting with men's clothing as we are a female-run team, which is why we are having a hard time understanding men's fashion. Hopefully we will come up with something exciting for them, too," said Zarin Tasnim Reza, the co-owner and chief designer of Piran.
Alongside breaking free from stereotypical notions, Piran is working to bring recognition to the artisanal craftsmen. The siblings believe that these craftsmen are the torchbearers of Bangladesh's rich history, culture and heritage of Jamdani or any local fabrics.
The fact is, most artisans are losing interest and discouraging the next generation to pursue this profession. In the future, a part of our culture might become extinct with the artisans themselves.
"We have not hired any craftsmen yet because we are trying to establish ourselves in the market. But we have a plan to introduce our craftsmen with our clothes in the future," informed Nazifa.
To survive, these artisans need a continuous supply of orders. And for that, clothing brands like Piran have come forward with trendy designs with a twist, that also carry fashion and culture well.
Although Piran has plans to work with all the locally-sourced fabrics, they started with Jamdani due to its easy-to-source nature.
In the beginning, the concept of Piran was to upcycle Jamdani sarees as the siblings believe in sustainable fashion.
Later, demand from customers made them drop this plan and start working with yard cloth. Piran uses Jamdanis of medium to higher-medium quality to make the clothes.
Piran has plans to produce clothes of premium quality and introduce Jamdani sarees to the line as well.
They want to make clothes for all three generations, which is why all sorts of attire will soon be available at Piran. It will be a diverse fashion brand for everyone. Hence, Piran's affordable pricing, ranging from Tk1,400 to Tk3,000.
Recently, they started experimenting with other locally-sourced fabrics such as silk.
The entire Piran team's operation is online-based. "As we are siblings, we complement each other most of the time. I take care of the operations wing and my sister oversees the production, starting from fabrics, to design, to fashion. Our other team members also work hard to keep up the spirit of Piran," Nazifa voiced.
A few of Piran's clothes are showcased in a shared space at Jatra Biroti, Banani. The owners of Piran have plans to set up their own factory, machineries and outlet in the future. The sisters believe that this will help them export Piran's clothes as well.