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Bangladeshi Fashion

Nabil Sultan shares his insights about the newly launched blazer brand SULTAN​

by K TANZEEL ZAMAN

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Nabil Sultan, the owner and founder of clothing brand SULTAN converses with ICE Toady’s VERVE on the inception of his brand.

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Can you please share the inspiration behind Sultan? Who are the target customers?

We wanted to conceive a brand that resonates with the young generation of the country. Sultan was envisioned with that exact purpose. It is a royal brand for the youth, which is tailored to be fashionable and trendy. We want our customers to exhume confidence when they put on our suave attires. Not only they will experience the ultimate fit, but their apparels will also be cut out off from the finest fabric the market has to offer.

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Splash is known in BD as a streetwear brand. SULTAN is a product line of Splash how do you think consumers will react to it offering blazers?

The people of Bangladesh are becoming fashion-forward as the day passes by. Thanks to the boom of social media and cheap internet, we can easily be updated on what is hip and now. We have plenty of stylish youth and adults who want to attend the socialite events while donning a blazer and chinos or in some cases, even tuxedos. I am delighted to say that our youth is more self-aware when it comes to representing themselves as an individual through their ensembles. I believe both SULTAN and the consumers are ready for each other.

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The market for ready-made suits and blazers right now is a bit saturated, how is SULTAN going to differentiate itself?

When it comes to the fitting and standard of our products, SULTAN will be on a different level compared to other ready-made garment brands. Our expertise in the apparel industry ensures that consumers will be able to lay claim to our products with the highest quality of fabrics and bold designs. We wholeheartedly follow the notion that it is imperative to keep up our standard to date in the world of fashion by producing fashion-forward products. SULTAN will provide the right solution for the voguish men who love to be stylish and want to stay ahead in the game. The sole purpose of SULTAN is to present snazzy attires with the right prices, which will make the consumers fall in love globally with it.

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Can you please share about the range of products SULTAN is going to offer?

With proper and sound planning, we are willing to offer a 360-degree fashion-related solution to any and all ages of fashionable men. SULTAN was launched with attires under basics, casual, formals to party wear. Which means it has suave ensembles such as party and casual blazers along with suits and tuxedos. For ethnic-apparel lovers, we are offering panjabis, casual and formal shirts. With time, we will also introduce chinos, trousers, t-shirts and so on.

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What is your vision regarding SULTAN? Do you plan to introduce custom-tailored suits and blazers by SULTAN in the future?


We will strive to launch SULTAN globally soon. It will be a homegrown brand which will be on par with its international counterparts. We plan to acquire the ability to deliver our products to customers worldwide. If you want to succeed in boosting your brand across borders and cultures, it takes careful planning. There have been epic fails and relatively few successes, and we aim to be a part of the latter one. With our own sets of protocols and well-thought-out vision, we hope that SULTAN will become the first choice for any fashionable and trendy man.

Mehruz Munir on his inspirations and thoughts behind Zurhem’s latest sherwani collection for the wedding season​

by K TANZEEL ZAMAN

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If class, niche products, and customized ensembles are on the top of your list, then you shouldn’t be a stranger to Zurhem: the gem of a brand where young, hip and mature customers get introduced a bespoke sartorial journey. With its own parameters of bold tailor-made designs, attention to meticulous details, and the flawless craftsmanship delivered by Zurhem’s master tailors, one can be assured of quality. ICE Today Verve had the chance to meet the voguish man behind it all, Mehruz Munir the Creative Director and Co-founder of Zurhem.
In the midst of the wedding season, Zurhem has been busier than the last three years. This resulted in a collection consisting of suave wears like Sherwanis, Ethnic Vests and Bespoke suits designed by the man with the foresight. “New clients, mostly grooms, are coming to our new store in Banani. This surely indicates that Zurhem has grown and let’s just hope that it continues to grow”, he shares modestly.
In his own words, the inspiration for this year’s wedding collection came to him very organically. The opulent and grandeur architectures from places like Prague, Vienna, Budapest and, to some extent, Italy were the catalysts for the well-traveled man to come up with this year’s collection. “Those historic structures resonate with me whenever I visit them,” he adds.

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Each of the intricately designed Sherwanis took four months to make. The ethnic wears were handwoven and embroidered with bold and exquisite designs to bring it to fruition by the team behind Zurhem’s exquisite collection. “I am really proud of this collection,” he continues to say, “I wanted to express how bold our royalties were when they wore Sherwanis,” he said with contentment. Even though Zurhem is known for its elegant Bespoke suits, the Sherwani collection knocked it out of the park with it’s over the top designs.
Mehruz believes that Bangladesh is going through a significant economic shift where people have more disposable income. He further added that this only encourages more business like his to open up and increase employment. “People are traveling more, they know more about fashion, they know what they want thanks to social media. A scenario like this did not exist a decade ago,” he stated.
Despite its young age, Bangladesh is catching up really fast with the rest of the world when it comes to fashion. According to him, more people understand the importance of uniqueness and fashion statement. He added that people nowadays want to buy something which is made for them and the Bespoke suit is one of them.

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Not surprisingly, Zurhem’s Bespoke suits have become a personal preference to many in the season of the wedding in Bangladesh. Let it be for a fashion statement or self-awareness, citizens of Dhaka and other major cities are seen in Bespoke suits in socialite parties and weddings. Thus making the hands full of the Zurhem team members.
Mehruz Munir plans to go back to his roots of inspiration for his next collection. For his new followers, it means that his next anticipating ready-to-wear collection will comprise of lots of black, gold and military details. “Since we have already established our Bespoke market, we want to focus on our ready-to-wear collection,” he adds passionately.
For the soon-to-be-wed grooms, the Creative Director of Zurhem urges them to shake things up a bit. “It is your wedding. Be grand, be bold and be colorful. If your wife puts on a lot of work to look like a bride, you should reciprocate to look like a groom. It is your wedding too,” he concludes.

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Wardrobe: Zurhem
Model: Nahid, Hasin
Photographs: Riyad Ashraf
Makeup & Hair: AURA Beauty Lounge
 

Sailing Towards Success​

by ICE TODAY

Raimah Chowdhury, Managing Director of HR Lines Limited on heading a shipping business, bringing global franchises to Bangladesh and the importance of values in both politics and business

As the Managing Director of HR Lines Limited, the only operator of Bangladesh Flag container vessels, what are your day-to-day challenges? Do you think being in a business which is mostly dominated by men, you are more prone to facing challenges than a man?

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Raimah Chowdhury
Managing Director
HR Lines Limited

Shipping is an industry that is constantly evolving and is of changing dynamics. You have to have your feet anchored in the present but also be focused on the future. Being Bangladesh’s only container flag vessel owner and operator places additional responsibilities on us as we are a private entity flying the national Flag. Expectations are high and given that the current feeder scenario has been the sole monopoly of non-Bangladesh Flag vessels literally over decades, the competition is also intense.
I am very fortunate to have a focused and enterprising team that is able to respond to challenges as and when they emerge. Coordinating a 3 Port operation involving Chattogram, Singapore and Port Klang at a time when the latter two are experiencing uncharacteristic congestions and delays and yet maintaining schedule integrity which is so critical for our time sensitive RMG related cargoes, is no easy task.

Although shipping in Bangladesh has particularly been male dominated, I see this more as an opportunity rather than a challenge. Yes, to begin with, a few eyebrows must have been raised but at the end of the day what matters is how I steer, navigate and take the company forward.

As the president of WISTA, Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association, what has been your vision and how close are you achieving your vision so far?

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When it comes to WISTA Bangladesh, my vision is simple. I want to see women challenging and shifting career dynamics in shipping and logistics in our country. I want to see more Bangladeshi women in operations, in positions of higher management, more women given the opportunity to join the Marine Academy, women sailing on the many ships that call Chattogram Port.
I want women to not just come into the conversation but actually contribute to the changes that are needed to grant women access to these opportunities. Is there anything more incredible than a global network of women coming together to reinvent, challenge and push boundaries in an industry that has been catered by and to men since the beginning?

WISTA Bangladesh is young but we have met mentors, found friendships and shared a common goal that will last lifetimes. It’s just the beginning of a long but exciting and necessary journey.

You come from a reputed political and business family. How did it contribute to forming your persona in both personal and professional spheres?

Whether it be politics or business, they have to be grounded in values – they are both meant to promote the welfare of people and the advancement of the country. My grandfather laid the foundations of our family business and it was only possible because of my grandmother’s support. I am privileged to have a solid base to build on because of them. Looking after our employees and their wellbeing continues to be a priority, as they are the most important pillars of our businesses.


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From my grandmothers, I have learned and been left with values of perseverance, patience and sacrifice. My father has always viewed politics as a means to enrich people’s lives and prepare for a better tomorrow. This same motivation also applies for me professionally and personally.

I have been raised to believe that it is not just the commercial success of our ventures but rather giving back to communities is what matters most.

W for Women, U.S. Polo Assn. & Skechers are renowned global franchises. What intrigued you to bring these brands to Bangladesh? How is it going to make its marks in the local fashion scene?

As a third-generation company, we are always exploring new areas of interest in our country. With one of the youngest and most active internet user populations in the world, I admire Bangladesh for being a place that has so much to offer.
The intrigue to bring these brands revolved around the opportunity to offer products and customer service in our country from some of the best retailers in the world. These are all brands that give people the chance to define and redefine themselves and their style. In our world today, this means so much more than fashion and we are so excited to be a part of that movement in Bangladesh.

Since you wear so many hats, how do you ensure a work-life balance?

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Technology has been a life-saver for me when it comes to creating a work-life balance during a global pandemic. Being able to connect and work remotely with Karnaphuli Group’s diverse business activities has been both rewarding and refreshing. Outside of work, I am very lucky to lean on a support system of group chats consisting of friendships, sisterhoods and family that keep me constant company. This along with taking the time to self-care, do yoga, hug the pet and human members of my family and read has been a wonderful way to create balance.

How can we have more successful entrepreneurs?

By listening and learning. There has never been a more important time than now to just listen to one another and have conversations that allow people to be open-minded to how different realities maybe for others, despite having a shared goal for a successful venture.

I am proud to belong to a country that has so much energy, creativity, and strength to move forward despite the many challenges we face.

We should all be working to create these spaces to learn from one another on a greater scale in Bangladesh, a place with infinite potential and growth.

Road to The Riches​

by IRFAN AZIZ

The concept of priority banking has always existed in Bangladesh. If you look at in the traditional sense, being a priority banking customer meant having access to novelties such as a special queue, separate seating arrangements, discounted fees, etc. However, City Bank has taken the idea to another level with Citygem. If you enter their premises at Gulshan Avenue, you will see how the bank has left no stones unturned to woo the high-net-worth clients. Interviewing Fahria Huque, SVP, and Head of Citygem Priority Banking was quite an experience as she unfurled the world of luxury banking and her journey as a maverick in the field for the readers of ICE Today.

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Fahria Huque,
SVP, and Head of Citygem Priority Banking

A knack for challenges
Being brought up by parents both of who were highly independent and successful individuals imbued an eagerness in Fahria from an early age to land a career that would treat both genders equally. Eventually, she had her heart set on the banking sector and took the first leap during the final days of her university life as an intern for HSBC. Her determination and passion to create her own identity as an ace banking professional saw her climb up the ladder rapidly. “I started out as a relationship officer and within a short period of time, got promoted to the Service Manager. Then I got the opportunity to work as the Department Head at HSBC Select, their Priority Banking Segment”, she added. After nine prosperous years with HSBC, Fahria believed that it was time for her to take the next step in her career. This step came in the form of Citygem where she was in charge of the Flagship Center at first before being appointed as the Head of Priority Banking. “What I always looked for was not a job, but a career and in the banking sector, I found that. My experience over the years has shaped me to become a more mature and confident individual capable of taking on great challenges, explore new horizons and chase my dreams,” she stated. Under her leadership, Citygem is continuously raising the standards and setting the benchmark through its offering for the priority segment.

A cut above the rest
The City Bank can be credited as one of the true innovators of the banking sector who never shy away from thinking out of the box and introducing new concepts. They were the first to bring Amex in Bangladesh. Their initiative known as City Alo is already making headways by empowering women not only through banking but numerous workshops as well to help them realise their dreams and potentials. “The City Bank has always believed in promoting the strength in women and we translate that philosophy within the bank as well as outside. At the moment 17% of our employees are women and one-third of our active Board Members are female. In fact, our DMD Ms. Mahia Juned is one of the very few female DMD’s in the country’s banking industry. We are frontrunners when it comes to shattering the glass ceiling,” she exclaimed. It is truly an institution that takes care of their female employees and is an active advocate for gender neutrality. However, their effort in ensuring women empowerment isn’t the only thing for which City Bank has been receiving plaudits lately. They have also ushered in an era of highly personalised and luxury banking.

Truly a Gem
As I have mentioned earlier, their flagship priority center is unlike any other bank I have ever been to and their meeting rooms (which have their own themes such as topaz, pearl, amber etc) will rival most five-star hotels in Dhaka. “We began changing the scenario of the priority sector by developing our Human Resources first. We developed Relationship Managers who act as experienced financial advisors for high-end clients,” Fahria explained. Citygem offers a unique value proposition to its clients, starting from virtual office for private business meetings, exclusive locker facility with state of the art powder room, property and real estate information desk, Limousine for 24/7 airport transfer along with our personalized meet and greet services Dhaka and Chittagong airport, unique and innovative travel/lifestyle and health packages for the clients. Recently they have also launched an exclusive service proposition for the ultra-high net worth customers known as Sapphire which pledges unprecedented privileges, trust and exclusivity features tailored to their esteem and lifestyles. “We believe in top-notch service and we go above and beyond to provide that, which sets us apart. This philosophy has helped us to attract the most high profile individuals of our country in a span of six years, we have managed to acquire more than 5000 high net worth clients, having a sum of deposit and asset portfolio of BDT 3500 Crore” she added. For their efforts, Citygem has been awarded ’The Best Bank for Premium Services’’ by Asia Money, a leading financial publication specialised in the banking sector and capital markets consecutively in both 2018 and 2019. And Fahria is one of the key individuals who have helped City Bank reach the pinnacle.

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She encouraged young women everywhere to dream big, be passionate and work hard. “If there is a will, there is away. This saying has helped me overcome every obstacle in life and I truly believe that if your heart is in the right place and you have enough willpower, nothing will stop you from achieving your goals,” she concluded.

Shades of the Earth​

by ICE TODAY

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Model: Tasnim khan, Ansa Tasfiha Suhi, Josh Mirza, Ayaan Kazi
Wardrobe and Accessories: Aranya
Makeover: Aura Beauty Lounge
Photography: Mahinuzzaman Piyan

 
Long way for a relative nobody to come and make a name like this. Tells you how rapidly things are changing in Bangladesh.

Sonia Musa's Eid collection for women 2022

CNN "New Frontier" news piece
 
Azmeri Haque Badhan in Sonia Musa's Garb
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And in her own 'normal' outfits
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Snigdha
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Eitee
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Prova - controversial Bangladeshi actress
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Some years ago I had enquired with a reasonably big tailoring shop about getting myself a jacket with leather patches on the elbows and all that. They told me it would cost more than 9000 rupees ( not that I can afford that now being a poor Communist though being a stylish Communist ). Maybe I could wear it if I go to some hill station.

Snigdha
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Prova - controversial Bangladeshi actress
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I thought Snigdha was usually a Marathi name. And why is Prova controversial ?
 
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Some years ago I had enquired with a reasonably big tailoring shop about getting myself a jacket with leather patches on the elbows and all that. They told me it would cost more than 9000 rupees ( not that I can afford that now being a poor Communist though being a stylish Communist ). Maybe I could wear it if I go to some hill station.

Jackets with leather patches on the elbows are very common even for store bought items in the US. Usually elbow patches will come with heavy woolen weave sportcoats (or what the English call "hunting jackets"). 9000 Rupees for that is pretty steep ($117). In the US sometimes you can get this before winter for about $75 on discount. Indian tailors don't know how to tailor a nice jacket (usually they will f*ck up the "drape" of the jacket) and the lapels won't sit properly. Just buy a nice store bought jacket from Macy's when you can afford it.

I thought Snigdha was usually a Marathi name. And why is Prova controversial ?

Snigdha is a very common Bengali name too - ask @Joe Shearer dada. Lot of common Sanskrit/Pali/Bengali names for women in the subcontinent. Sometimes women in Bangladesh will have a proper Muslim name and a nickname in Sanskrit like Snigdha or Prova....

Prova in her early career (some seven years ago) inadvertently published a very "R" rated intimate video. That is all that can be said. It was very viral for the Bengali community. Almost every Bangladeshi knows. :-)
 
Jackets with leather patches on the elbows are very common even for store bought items in the US. Usually elbow patches will come with heavy woolen weave sportcoats (or what the English call "hunting jackets"). 9000 Rupees for that is pretty steep ($117). In the US sometimes you can get this before winter for about $75 on discount. Indian tailors don't know how to tailor a nice jacket (usually they will f*ck up the "drape" of the jacket) and the lapels won't sit properly. Just buy a nice store bought jacket from Macy's when you can afford it.

Well, this was a few years ago so it might also have been 7000+ rupees, my memory is hazy on that. :) And I checked Macy's website - no Indian store. :( And if it comes to the stage where I can afford a nice jacket or two I will model it on what the dashing Pakistani actor Fawad Khan wore in the 2014 Indian Hindi film Khoobsurat ( the cream one in the middle picture ) :
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Most of his clothes in the film had nice cut and mix-n-match.
 
Well, this was a few years ago so it might also have been 7000+ rupees, my memory is hazy on that. :) And I checked Macy's website - no Indian store. :( And if it comes to the stage where I can afford a nice jacket or two I will model it on what the dashing Pakistani actor Fawad Khan wore in the 2014 Indian Hindi film Khoobsurat ( the cream one in the middle picture ) :
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Most of his clothes in the film had nice cut and mix-n-match.

You can get nice off-the-shelf sport-jackets in the Middle East (Gulf) markets. Maybe one of the Pakistani bhais here can suggest clothing or menswear chains in Dubai and Abu-Dhabi for jackets and Mens' suits. Not familiar with that area so I could not tell you. Would be more reasonable and higher quality than bespoke Indian or Bangladeshi stuff for sure...

Some jackets and suits made in Eastern Europe (Poland for example) which you can get in the UK are even more reasonable.
 
Pinky Promise is a sleepwear brand in Bangladesh - they specialize in sleepwear such as loose tunics, kaftans etc.

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Nusrat Faria
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