Walking the talk

A Night of Traditions, a fashion show by Friendship Colours of the Chars to celebrate 20 years of Friendship, and the advent of slow fashion.

The designers and prominent model, Mou (second from left) wearing an exquisite cultural dress made out of silk. ©Friendship
by Tamim Khan 
December 8, 2022 

Friendship Colours of the Chars organised a fashion show titled “A Night of Traditions” on November 25, 2022, at the Grand Ballroom of InterContinental Dhaka to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Friendship’s work, and the popularity of slow fashion in Bangladesh. Friendship Colours of the Chars is the country’s leading slow fashion brand, providing training and employment possibilities to Bangladeshi women from marginalised char districts.  

Chief designer Imam and lead model Mou on the final walk during the show. ©Friendship

Fashion has started the transition to sustainability as climate change and ecofriendly come to the forefront of every aspect of daily life. However, it might be challenging to define sustainability in the apparel industry. It necessitates lessening the effects on the environment and having the ability to produce goods that must adhere to regulations aimed at decreasing the cost of pollution. It requires protecting the environment and thinking about the welfare of society. Each actor must operate effectively in the intricate combination of costs, trends, economic interests, supply chains, and societal preferences. We can only designate a garment as “sustainable” once all of those issues have been resolved. 

Girl child evolves through three stages of her life, as part of the performance on stage. ©Friendship

Friendship Colours of the Char uses all the necessary techniques to develop a sustainable clothing line, including handloom fabric production, natural AZO-free dyes, and the revival of ancient weaving traditions from before industrialised fabric production.  Designer Imam Hassan’s exquisite collection then showcased in six separate categories after the opening act: handlooms, jamdani, khadi, heritage, upcycle, and global, with choreography by Azra Mahmood. Every item on show was handmade and had distinctive designs and colours created by using natural dyes on a range of saris, kurtas, scarves, jewelry, and other items. 

Stage act: a young girl concerned about her future, reminisces about her childhood reminded by the doll in her hands. ©Friendship

The fashion show included a stage play about the marginalised women of the chars. The act told the story of a young woman forced to marry a man twice her age, burying all her goals and hopes of ever creating a name for herself. It then goes on to demonstrate how the torment and suffocation of an early marriage left her alone and yearning for a ray of sunlight to turn her life around over the years. Friendship comes in as the light at the end of the tunnel, giving her opportunity, dignity and hope. Musician Sadia Islam Mou also performed on stage, clad in an ash-blue and yellow sari made from natural fabrics and celebrating the architectural monuments of 15th-century Bengal, which was featured in the heritage concept. 

Stage act: without cause, the husband abuses the protagonist of the tale. A typical day in the life of marginalised women in Bangladesh. ©Friendship

A Night of Tradition was sponsored by Indigo Marble & Granite, Sunsilk, and Unilever, with media partners Ekattor TV and Star Lifestyle. The event, attended by 200+ leaders from various international organizations, showcased the brand’s concept collection for 2023. 

Stage act: the divorcee being encouraged by weavers to develop weaving skills so she can fight for her dignity and opportunities. ©Friendship

The event was attended by Dr. Farhina Ahmed, honourable secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, H.E Robert Chatterton Dickson, British high commissioner in Bangladesh, and Runa Khan, founder, Friendship. 

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