For an artist, anything can be turned into a canvas; be it a piece of paper, or a square of cloth. A graduate of Fine Arts from University of Development Alternative, Mehrin Sultana chose the latter as a medium to express her artistic self.
On materials like tashar silk and shamu silk, she creates digital prints of her own designs. She has also recreated digital prints of famous paintings like the "Sunflowers" series and "Girl with a Pearl Earring" on saris, panjabis and kurtis.
The clothing brand "The Sunflower" began its journey in March, 2020, and since then has become popular for its digitally printed clothes.
While talking to The Business Standard, Mehrin Sultana, its co-owner and designer, shared the kind of work the brand has been engaging in and its future plans.
Her journey as an entrepreneur began when she had a bad experience at work and decided to quit.
"I used to work at an IT company but it was not a nice experience for me and I promptly resigned. I saw that a lot of people around me were not doing jobs and happily pursuing their passions. It inspired me to do something on my own," she said.
In September 2020, she opened a Facebook page and after some research she thought of naming it after Van Gogh's famous painting series - Sunflower.
"I did not start with digital prints right away. At first I was only working with caricatures on T-shirts. But then I thought of working with characters from Bangla literature like Feluda. I began to make illustrations and put them on clothes. I also began to work with designs which were inspired by doodles I used to make when I was young," she shared.
The late actor Salman Shah was a popular fashion icon for youths. His clothing styles were copied by youngsters around the country. For Phalgun 2021, Mehrin came up with a "Salman Shah" print using neon shades of pink and blue. The print was an instant hit, especially among pop art lovers.
She said that although their brand is only a year old, the customer response so far has been sufficient to keep her motivated and go on with her endeavours.
The brand has a small team, as it has only begun its journey, so Mehrin also coordinates photoshoots and looks after the technical aspect simultaneously.
On the brand's future plan, she said that she would love to work with more traditional designs, those which reflect our culture. And although they started with digital prints, the plan is to expand with screen prints and embroideries and use materials like cotton and silk.
The Sunflower's price range is quite reasonable. The panjabis and kurtis cost between Tk1,200 and Tk 1,600, while the sharis cost between Tk2,000 and Tk3,400.
Customers can place orders through the brand's Facebook and Instagram pages. It usually takes them 10 days to deliver sharis and one to three days for kurtis and panjabis. All sizes between 38 and 52 are available.
"Sunflowers" is the name of two series of paintings by the famous painter Vincent van Gogh. The first series was made in Paris in 1887 and it portrays bright, yellow flowers lying on the ground. The second series was made a year later which shows a bunch of sunflowers in a vase.
Girl with a Pearl Earring
"Girl with a Pearl Earring" is an oil painting by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer which was made in 1665. Before this title of the painting became well established, it went by various other names. This painting is famous for showing the innocent, tranquil face of a young girl and only one of her pearl-drop earrings.