Nusaiba Islam is the founder and designer of Mariye -- a brand that started its journey completely out of passion. Despite being a business graduate from North South University, Nusaiba always craved to do something that would quench her thirst for creativity. The new bride getting all dressed up for her big day, the smell of fresh henna, the music and dancing, and the vibrant outfits always appealed to her. All these inspired her to start designing custom attires for brides.
“Back in 2016, while I was working full time at a financial institution, all I used to do sitting at my desk during my free time was design lehengas. I even designed the logo of my brand during that time. Seeing the rising eCommerce trend around that time in Bangladesh, I opened up a Facebook page with no expectations in mind. However, one day, a client called me asking for a meeting. Later on, she ended up ordering a customized wedding sharara and that’s how Mariye took off. After that, I began getting orders for customized bridal outfits almost every month.”
Fascinated by the idea of desi weddings, the young desgner finally decided to quit her job in 2017, and pursue what she always aspired to do.
This month, we caught up with Nusaiba Islam to discuss the process of creating a custom bridal outfit, from start to finish.
How do you come up with the concepts for your designs? Does it have anything to do with the personality of the bride?
Every bride has her own vision of what she would like to wear on her big day, like the colour and pattern of the outfit, jewellery, makeup etc. Since I make customized bridal outfits, I set up a meeting first and listen to all their requirements. Keeping those in mind and adding my own creative ideas by considering the personality and physical attributes of the bride, I start designing the outfit.
When is the appropriate time for the bride to approach you in order to design a custom wedding attire? How long does it usually take with the process?
I recommend brides who want completely customized outfits to approach me at least three months before their wedding date. If the design isn’t way too intricate, it usually takes two and half to three months in order to complete the entire process.
Apart from lehengas, what other options do brides have in terms of creating a custom attire, when they come to you?
Other than lehengas, my brand Mariye offers customized sarees, shararas, ghararas, and even fusion wear. For instance, I once designed a western styled off shoulder gown with a long train at the back, embellished with traditional desi embroidery patterns for a Swedish-Bangladeshi bride.
What’s the kind of budget that a bride should keep in mind when she approaches you to design an outfit for her?
Brides should have a budget of at least Tk40,000 to Tk45,000 when they approach me to design a customized wedding attire for them.
How do you pick and source the materials for your designs? Also, how do you manage to maintain perfection and flawlessness in your work while you’re in a time crunch?
I have extremely reliable suppliers who source good quality raw materials for my brand, from both inside and outside the country. Moreover, I am blessed to have very skilled personal tailors and artisans. They always understand my urgency and can do a perfect job even when I am in a time crunch.
With a custom design, how much of your own input do you get to incorporate into the look?
I would say, at least 50%. Some brides only mention their desired colour combination and allow me to design the rest of the outfit on my own. I’m quite lucky that most of my clients tend to trust me with the embroidery, motifs and patterns.
What are the three things you wish a bride would keep in mind when getting a custom couture outfit made?
Budget, total time frame, and specific preferences (if there are any).
Tell us about a memorable experience while working with a bride.
I had a client once who lived in the USA. Since she wasn't in Bangladesh at the time and didn't have anyone here to make an appointment and discuss what she actually wants on her behalf, we had to have meetings over Viber.
She had only two requirements – regarding the colour combination and the pattern of the outfit. I designed her entire outfit on my own, and she approved everything at one go! When she arrived just two weeks before her big day and saw her bridal attire for the first time, she loved it! In fact, she did not have a single alteration that she wanted to make. My brand had just started its journey at the time and what moved me most was that she relied on me entirely regarding one of the most important things during her wedding. The smile on her face while trying out my creation is what motivated me the most, I believe.
Any future plans or exclusives that you’d like to share with the readers of Avenue T?
I am currently working on my silk collection for the upcoming wedding season, which is going to fall under Mariye’s newly introduced semi formal line. In addition to this, I also have a new line of bridal designs coming up next year.