The vibrant city of Dhaka came alive on a Friday evening as internationally acclaimed fashion designer Bibi Russell, renowned for her innovative approach to fashion, took centre stage at Aloki on the capital’s Tejgaon-Gulshan Link Road. The audience gathered there was in for an unforgettable experience as they witnessed a fashion show unlike any other, one that combined style and substance in a remarkable way.
This was no ordinary fashion show; it was the inaugural edition of the ‘Blue Wrap Project Runway-Bangladesh.’ This groundbreaking event was the brainchild of a collaborative effort between the Rotary Club of Dhaka Pathfinders and the Partners for World Health (PWH), an esteemed U.S.-based organisation. Their shared vision was to use fashion as a powerful means to raise funds for a noble cause, and they executed it with remarkable finesse.
Bibi Russell, a name synonymous with sustainable fashion, graced the runway with her distinctive creations. But this wasn’t just any fashion collection; it was a testament to her unwavering commitment to sustainability. Supermodel Noyonika Chatterjee stole the spotlight as she walked the ramp, serving as the showstopper for the evening.
The show kicked off with a profound statement—a collection of dresses crafted from discarded surgical blue polypropylene. This opening segment was more than just fashion; it was a call to action. It aimed to recycle surgical waste, shedding light on an issue often overlooked in our society. Following this powerful introduction, the runway transformed into a canvas for Bibi Russell’s ‘Threads of Life’ collections. These ensembles were a dazzling display of 100 percent natural, sustainable, and handwoven cotton and Jamdani dresses. Each piece radiated an aura of craftsmanship, a tribute to the artisans who often remain unsung heroes behind the scenes.
As the models gracefully glided down the runway, Bangla songs filled the air, creating a synergy that connected the audience with the rich local traditions and culture of Bangladesh. It was a mesmerising experience that transcended the boundaries of fashion and art.
In her heartfelt welcome speech, Tabassum Hossain Tina, the president of Rotary Club of Dhaka Pathfinders, eloquently articulated the essence of this sustainable fashion initiative. She emphasised that this event was not just about fashion; it was about the transformative power of turning waste into art, symbolising Rotary’s collective commitment to a healthier world.
Elizabeth McLellan, the visionary founder of Partners for World Health, flew all the way from the USA to be part of this momentous program. In her address, she touched upon the significance of sustainability, particularly in the realms of fashion and healthcare. Her words resonated deeply with the audience, serving as a poignant reminder of our shared responsibility to build a healthier, happier, and more hopeful world.
The partnership between PWH and the Rotary Club of Dhaka Pathfinders in the healthcare sector has been a beacon of hope since 2017. PWH’s presence in Bangladesh since 2012 has yielded significant results, with this year’s initiative poised to train an impressive 700 nurses. This milestone achievement brings the total number of nurses trained through their collaborative efforts to an astounding 3,000, as confirmed by the Rotary Club of Dhaka Pathfinders.
In the heart of Dhaka, the worlds of fashion, philanthropy, and healthcare converged in a dazzling spectacle. Bibi Russell’s fashion show was not just a visual extravaganza; it was a poignant reminder that fashion, when harnessed for a cause, has the power to effect meaningful change. This evening was a testament to the unity of purpose, where style met substance to create a brighter future for all.