Posts Tagged ‘Bangladesh’

Bibi Russell


Bibi Russell  who is an UNESCO Artist for peace, is a household name in Bangladesh popularly called “The pride of Bangladesh”. She is an inspiration for the rest of us in Ethical fashion and craft communities. 

Bibi is a fashion designer and former international model from Bangladesh. Born and raised in Bangladesh, she was the first Bangladeshi girl who went to am international fashion school. She studied in London College of Fashion, earning a graduate degree in 1975. Here she was encouraged by a teacher to model for her own graduation collection and she did so in front of the best in the fashion industry back then.Her first assignment was a grand 14 page shoot for Harper’s Bazaar! She has worked as a model for different magazines including VogueCosmopolitan and Harper’s Bazaar. She also worked as a fashion model in fashion shows until 1994, working with Yves Saint LaurentKenzoKarl Lagerfeld and Giorgio Armani. Bibi believes this has given her the knowledge and understanding of the industry which helped her become the role-model she is today.

Bibi didn’t let this success get to her head. Her vision was clear. She was not in fashion to become a supermodel or a famous designer for any international brand. Although people still remember Bibi as the first Asian supermodel, what she wanted out of all that learning in fashion was to strive for Bangladesh and its craft. She gathered enough strength and focus to cut out from everything else and returned to Bangladesh in 1994 to save and revive the crafts of her country. 
Bibi Russell
(Image courtesy: Robert Frank Hagens of 1we-One world experience)

Bibi started Bibi Productions, her own fashion house, fusing indigenous Bengali cultural elements into her line. With assistance from UNESCO, she organized her first European fashion show in Paris in 1996. As of 2004, her company employed 35,000 weavers in rural Bangladesh..She has won many awards and accolades and still continues to be a role model for all women working with communities for the greater good. The Asiaweek magazine highlighted her as “one of the 20 people to watch in the millennium”

When I spoke to Bibi recently, I was amazed by her dedication and respect for people. Nothing deters her from her motive of working endlessly for the people of her country. She is truly the messiah for Ethical fashion and someone who’s footsteps we should all follow. In Bibi’s words, “The people of Bangladesh have made my dream come true and now I am working on making their dreams come true. When the world is moving towards eco-friendly and ethical practices, I only see a bright future for our nation that has been sitting on these principles for ages”

Bibi’s sign off message:
In Bangladesh there is no middle class, you are either rich or poor. I am here to help you come out of the poverty line. I am with you and you have to work hard with me to bring you out of poverty. I do not believe in charity- it never helps! People can buy from me thinking of it as charity once and they will forget about it but I want to share the beauty of the craft which YOU will create. Bibi productions is for the people of Bangladesh.

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