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Second Arka Fashion Week begins in style

UNB . Dhaka
14 Jun 2024 19:10:57 | Update: 14 Jun 2024 19:10:57
Second Arka Fashion Week begins in style
— UNB Photo

The much anticipated second Arka Fashion begin at the Aloki Convention Center, Tejgaon in the capital on Thursday, intending to democratize fashion along with other exciting offerings.

Initiated by Arka Studio, the summer edition of Arka Fashion Week comes with a commitment to provide equitable opportunities to all kinds of designers and brands in Bangladesh, after its massively successful inaugural edition back in October last year.

The first day of the four-day fashion week saw a bustling Marketplace with 80 stalls and was alive with a brilliant assortment of fashion and cultural festivals, despite the afternoon rain, resuming the transforming journey for the nation's fashion sector.

The event features specially curated runway shows, clothes and accessories by the country's best brands and designers, a dedicated food zone and diverse musical performances every night, along with its other exciting offerings — a dedicated Marketplace, an innovative Design Lab, The Runway and several exhibitions and exclusive seminars on different fashion-related topics.

The Marketplace, the heart of the event, is showcasing entrepreneurs and brands made and most importantly — designed in Bangladesh — offering a wide variety of fashion, fashion accessories, and fashion-related products.

A core philosophy to expect among the brands to be found in the Marketplace is sustainability, and most participants of ARKA Fashion Week Marketplace are small boutiques and/or e-commerce/f-commerce brands.

The Design Lab is an interactive space where one can create their designs and was one of the most popular segments in the maiden edition, and the concept offers to walk in and purchase a “canvas” product like a plain t-shirt, hat, tote bag or scarf, which can then be customized at any of the seven different design stations such as block printing, screen printing, hand-paint, patchwork, different forms of embellishments and more.

This is a segment that any age group can enjoy participating in and can use to channel their creativity, and the first day saw an influx of enthusiastic crowds.

The Runway this year is taking place over three days with four slots each day, beginning on Friday - showcasing a variety of designers including new and upcoming, trailblazers and some exclusive designer brands.

Curated by Azra Mahmood, Mehruz Munir, Nawshin Khair and Zarin Rashid, each of the participants on the runway was carefully selected and guided by the team. The runway also features students from design institutions in a cue curated by renowned Bangladeshi fashion designer Afsana Ferdousi. 

This year, a couple of new segments, workshops and seminars are being introduced at the Arka FW, to cover all aspects of fashion including the challenges and issues faced by the industry. The fashion week this year is facilitating an exhibition concerning Tangail weaving and ways to preserve the traditional art of handloom textiles.

To integrate Tangail Tant into the contemporary design conversation, Arka Fashion Week has connected seven emerging artists with the weaver community to create a collaborative exhibition that showcases the deep history, current artistic practices, and future possibilities of Tangail Tant.

Led by Nawshin Khair, Sk Saifur Rahman, and Tahsin N Choudhury, and curated by Jewel A Rob, the results of the initiative, titled Tangail Tant Exhibition are being exhibited at this fashion event, with the participation of artists Tulsi Rani Das; Asif Iftekhar; Tanisha Tasnim Kuasha; Anika Tasnim Anup; Sarah Jabin; Mohosin Kabir; and Najmun Nahar Keya.

Face of Bangladesh, the national precursor to the Face of Asia at the Asia Model Festival in South Korea, crowned its 2024 winners on the inaugural night of Arka Fashion Week's second edition.

This year's competition culminated with not two but three victors, as Zarif Shabab emerged victorious in the male category, while Aklima Atika and Dil Afroz were jointly crowned the female category titles. These winners are set to represent Bangladesh at Face of Asia 2024 in South Korea this October.

In the special categories, Abdullah Numayor took home the top award for his hair while Maria Akhter Mridula and Plabon Sinha were recognized for their best smile and skin, respectively. Additionally, Zarif Shabab received the People's Choice category, which was judged based on social media engagement.

This year's edition featured 7 female and 8 male contenders who were rigorously trained by prominent instructors including media personality Rafsan Shabab, renowned stylist Mahmudul Hasan Mukul, and Azra Mahmood, a celebrated media personality and founder of the Azra Mahmood Talent Camp, among others.

The judging panel boasted luminaries such as Kaniz Almas Khan, ceo of Persona, entrepreneur, and beauty specialist; Saifur Rahman, a fashion industry insider and heritage textile expert consultant for Haal Fashion and Prothom Alo; Raulen Lee, international cooperation director at the Asia Model Festival; Kuhu Plamondon, an acclaimed artist; Mehruz Munir, creative director at Zurhem; Asad Sattar, founder of ARKA Studio and Arka Fashion Week; and Shirin Akter Shela, Miss Universe Bangladesh 2019, Face of Bangladesh 2019, and Model Star 2022.

The inaugural day of Second Arka Fashion Week ended with grooving music of Firoz Jong and Karnival.