What are your plans for the summer/Eid collection?
Traditionally, Bangladeshis are used to wearing bright colours in the summer. I want to aim for optimum comfort by experimenting on subdued hues and prints. Not only do softer colours flourish on the canvas of cotton, it’s also very soothing and comfortable.
What is your current inspiration?
For this season, I’m obsessed with florals. I’m playing with prints, delicate embroidery and hand paint on cotton fabrics.
Currently what are mostly favoured by customers?
Contemporary aficionados are very keen on unusual cuts and unique colour combinations, so the challenge is in going against the grain.
What are your colours of choice for the season?
I know I said I’m favouring subtle shades, but I’m also leaning a lot towards orange, which is anything but, since it’s trending internationally. After that, there’s light purple. My inclination overall, is still for softer hues.
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Bangladeshi summers are brutally hot and survival means going minimalistic. But Eid demands dressing up. How does one strike a balance?
The key to surviving Eid in this heat is to go for mix and match. Throw out the idea of complete ensembles and opt for trendy, cool separates combined in startling ways to create an impact. Play with prints, subtle embroidery, and choose light fabrics like cotton and chiffon.
For summer party wear, there is a demand for long kameezes or gowns. This is also a great way to look good without needing many layers.
How does Emdad Hoque beat the heat?
I always keep in mind both tradition and trend. I personally prefer wearing white, off white and any soft base. For casual occasions, my go to is cotton. And for dressier events, I opt for dupion and endi silk.
This year, particularly since Pohela Boishakh, has seen somewhat of a return to fashion that’s essentially “Bangali”, such as cotton saris and panjabis in deshi motifs. Do you feel like this renewed popularity is a passing phase, or here to stay?
I really like the way local motifs have been incorporated into designs. For me it is a great way to introduce our cultural heritage and local motifs to the new generation while replenishing and keeping it alive.
Fashion is cyclical. One trend may be absent for a while, but it eventually comes back, adapting to new sensibilities. The more we use our own motifs the more we will develop our own heritage.
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How was your experience of last year’s khadi and weavers’ festivals? Do you feel that the wider public is starting to give local handloom the attention it deserves?
The Khadi Festival is an achievement of Fashion Design Council of Bangladesh. Over the last two years of festival we focused on Bangladeshi folk motifs and heritage elements, as well as local fabrics.
We are continuing experiments with this initiative. Our vision is to incorporate khadi into the international platforms for fashion and contemporary trends.
Even though local handloom hasn’t attained the level of attention it deserves yet, awareness has expanded for sure. Immense improvements are being made in quality and design.
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What’s your favourite place for a vacation?
I love exploring different places. Any place by the sea is my favourite.
Name a country you haven’t visited yet that you would want to.
Is there a particular book/song/work of art that had a profound effect on you? What is it?
Book - Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay’s Jao Pakhi
Song – Jodi tor dakh shune keu na ashe.
Work of art – Quamrul Hasan