Ahshan Habib, Head of Department Fashion Design & Technology, Sonargaon University: By: Mohiuddin Moin

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Let us know your childhood including family and academic background.

 Ahshan Habib: My name is Md. Ahsan Habib, I born and grows up at Keraniganj in Dhaka, We are two brothers and one sister. I’m in middle. After the successful completion of H.S.C from Ispahani University College, Keraniganj, Dhaka, I’ve got the chance to study B.Sc. (Hons) in Fashion Design and Technology (FDT) in the BIFT (BGMEA Institute of Fashion & Technology) now it is BUFT. After graduation, I started my career in the fashion industry as a Fashion designer. I’ve passed almost three years in Design & styling department and two years in an international sourcing manager. During this period, I came to realize I need deep & detail knowledge on fashion design and the modern concept of doing fashion business. So I didn’t late to take my decision, I went to the UK to study Fashion Design in London College of Fashion, after that, I completed my post-graduation from UoG (University of Gloucestershire), then came back to Bangladesh and started my career in the Sonargaon University (SU) as the Head of the Department, Dep’t of Fashion & Technology (FDT). Ah! I’ve passed over 5 years in this position and enjoying my career in teaching. I love this profession.

Why did you select fashion designing as your career and who inspired you most?

Ahsan Habib: I think I influenced by myself and my elder brother who motivated me to be a fashion designer because I was very passionate about art, illustration, doing a creative thing. I never felt like I had a choice. It just seemed natural to translate my ideas into a fashionable dress. To say I wanted to get just into fashion design would be a lie as my love for pattern making, digital fashion lead me to develop my design into reality. I can’t even imagine doing one without the other.

I have a split personality when it comes to my design ideas. I just feel living in dream and reality. I love to wear a new dress every day which is not possible and not affordable but design a new dress for others every day is possible. I love to play with fabric that’s leads me to encourage doing design. That’s why I choose my career in fashion designing and just started it.

Please tell us about your daily departmental activities. Why the student should choose your department?

Ahsan Habib: I started my career at the Sonargaon University (SU), Head of the Department, Department of Fashion Design & Technology (FDT). Though I’m playing the head of the Dep’t role that’s why I always engaged with academic &non academic activities my Major responsibilities include.

* Conducting all the Fashion design related Courses such as Introduction to Fashion Design, Pattern Making, and dress Design Courses-Basic Pattern drafting and design, bodice and bottom dresses Variation, Advanced Pattern Cutting & Design, Design & making Children’s wear, Eveningwear design & making Draping technique.

* Drawing Technique & Illustration Courses- Fashion Illustration, Surface Ornamentation, Product development, Portfolio Designing and Design Presentation Technique.

* Designing course outline and modernize course content & video tutorials. Organize & guide the Students Seasonal Fashion Shows, cultural program & Exhibition. Program Design for print media and TV Channels.

* Recruit & Selecting Faculty member for the Fashion Design department.

* Student’s Counseling. 

Why the student should choose your Fashion Design department?

Ahsan Habib: Unemployment is a great problem in our country after graduation and post-graduation. Now a day’s, students are very conscious about their future career, they are not only thinking about the degree but also thinking which higher education would give them a bright future as well as financial and social status. I think both of these things are possible in the fashion industry career in a short time Comparing with the other profession. That’s why a student should choose to study in the fashion design department.

Do you hold an exhibition or fashion show based on your work? What are the skills and steps need designers to make creative fashion design?

Ahsan Habib: Yes, I and my department organized successfully routine exhibition & fashion mela based on Bangla New Year, Eid-ul-Fitr and Durga puja at our won campus, different gallery and location to encourage our fashion designing student, this is also a great way improving student’s design work and a source of supportive income. From the Dept. of Fashion Design, we already make and showed a series of Documentary and fashion shows for Broadcasting on BTV, Channel 24, ATN Bangla, Independent, and Ekattor TV Channels.

When a Fashion Designer work for something new or creative design for the client, the designer must concern about the package which comprises

  • First of all, need to understand the client’s taste/demand and offer him or her the right design, for that reason a designer must have a good eye for color, texture and analyze or predicting trends in fabrics, colors, and shapes in word creativity, innovation, and style.
  • Creating concept and mood boards (a collection of items to capture a mood, like photos, images from nature, structural photo and fabric pieces or color samples).
  • Sketch and Fashion Illustration skills
  • Technical knowledge like creative pattern drafting and

sewing skills.

  • Producing designs by hand or by using computer-aided design (CAD) and must have skills in graphic design
  • Develop some tailor Block patterns
  • Estimating costs for materials and manufacture and

promotion

  • Finding suppliers
  • Supervising the making up of sample clothing items
  • Interpersonal, communication and networking skills and

ability to negotiate and to influence others

  • Making in-house presentations, for example, to finance departments and merchandisers

‘Fusion in Fashion’ is a very common term in the Fashion Industry. Would you please explain the brief history of this and what are the elements of fusion fashion?

Ahshan Habib: The fusion fashion also called An Indo-Western fashion or hybrid fashion, the mixing and matching of Eastern fashion elements with the western fashion elements and the result is called fusion fashion. Fusion like painting, song and fashion also plays a main role in the fusion of different cultures and influences. Eastern and Western cultures engage in an important part in the Fashion trends of today. These two are fused in the fashion industry in many ways, like British borrowing from the Russians, India from the French, Japan and Germany. When Western fashion was appropriating elements of Indian dress, Indian fashion also absorbed elements of Western dress. This practice of mutual appropriation continued throughout the 1980s and 1990s, as multiculturalism in fashion design took hold, with Western designers incorporating traditional Indian crafts, textiles, and techniques at the same time as Indian designers allowed the West to influence their work.

Some Distinctive elements in Indo-Western fashions

Sleeve length – The traditional salwar has long or short sleeves dress. But An Indo-Western design might do without sleeves altogether, or replace the sleeves with spaghetti straps tops, resembling the style of a tank top or halter. There are also poncho-styled tops and one-sleeve designs that follow fashionable Western trends.

Shirt length – Indo-Western kurtas and salwars tend to be much shorter than those traditionally worn, so that they resemble Western-style blouses.

Necklines – Some Indo-Western tops are available with dipping necklines, in contrast to the traditional styling of salwars and kurtas.

What is the real position of Bangladesh Readymade Garment (RMG) Industry in the world fashion industry?

Ahshan Habib: Readymade Garment (RMG) Industry occupies a dominant position in the export-manufacturing sector of Bangladesh. The advent of the RMG sector happened during the early 80s in Bangladesh. Since then, due to supportive policies of the Government of Bangladesh, this industry has experienced significant growth. In 1988, And since then this sector has continued to consolidate its predominant position in the export basket of Bangladesh. According to the export promotion Bureau (EPB) data of 2003-2004 financial years, the export earnings of the RMG sector were 5686.09 million US dollars which represent 74.79 percent. Whereas the 2015-16 financial years is 28094.16 US Dollars (Data Source Export Promotion Bureau Compiled by BGMEA), which is 82.01 percent of total export earnings.  the industry, which started with only a few factory units during the 1980s and in the year 1984-85 there was only 384 factories now 2015-16 in boast 4328 factories.( BGMEA) units employing around 1.6 million workers. In 1999, and in the year 2015-16  the industry employed directly more than 4.0 million workers, about more than 80% of whom are female (BGMEA). So we have very good advancement in the fashion industry and holding up a significant market share in the world fashion industry and its increasing day by day.

Tell me something about your latest work and your future plan.

Ahshan Habib: Basically now I’m doing research for development RMG (Readymade Garment) industries based, I’m trying to find out how to increase the export volume from Bangladesh to EU (European Union) and Non-traditional markets. The research mostly covered Designed new product & product development, eco-friendly fashion, Eco-fashion clothes and fair trade policy, Green factories and compliance, product and market diversification and as well as my personal freelance designing.

Message for the young generation who wants to build their career in Fashion Industry.

Ahsan Habib: My message for the young generation who are planning to build up career in the fashion industries as a fashion designer must have interest in creative work, hard worker; need some freehand and computer based drawing skills, textile knowledge, good idea about the local market and local supplier and sound in presentation skills.

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