Photo By Sakib Muhtasim

Rumana Chowdhury is one restless soul. Her journey from a student of fashion designing to an entrepreneur to social activist is one intriguing read. “Warah is very traditional,” shares Rumana. She uses simple materials from Bangladesh to create trendy and chic designs. “Unlike many, I cannot easily think of a design on loud colours. But with neutrals, such as beige and off-white, the ideas come naturally to me.” She wants her clientele to feel they are wearing an outfit that stands out in a crowd.

On her creative nook
The BUFT graduate doesn’t feel that there is enough recognition for the local designers here. “For me creating a collection is almost like giving birth to a baby. Sometimes, the former is even more cumbersome than the latter. At least the fetus remains in the womb of the mother in a secure condition, but for a designer, the designs are at the factory, which is miles away and sometimes raises serious concerns about safety and well-being of the products.
Unlike the mass, Rumana tried to display her line of clothes with a story to go with it. “Last year for my designs, I worked on the story of Two Sisters by Rabindranath Tagore and this year I worked with the bard’s The Broken Nest. I have put in a lot of creative input in my photo shoots from encouraging the models to study the story for the required expressions to discussing the concept with the photographer.” According to her, the local crowd is overwhelmed with the Indian and Pakistani products, which hinders the sales of local products. In comparison to India, the production cost to stitch a dress here is very high which doesn’t allow me to sell my pieces at a lower price. “It is discouraging, but I am a fighter.”

On encouraging talented designers
Despite all the talent in our fashion industry, the budding designer feels there is a lot missing from this industry, which is keeping it from growing. When you look at other countries, the fashion industry is hyped up with the government as well as private sector endorsing them and the media writing about them. We need to change our mentality and give proper exposure to our designers as opposed to being focused on foreign ones.

On being humane
Rumana is an ardent social worker at heart. “I have been working with the Junior Chambers International (JCI) for about half a decade now. “I used to be very snooty and reserved before I commenced my stint here. As clichéd as it may sound, working with underprivileged children has truly helped me evolve as a person.” Project Healthy Start and Project Smile are two projects she has designed and is heading at the moment. “Though it’s a lot of work, it made me realise how fortunate I am to live the life I lead.”
On an end note, the restless soul doesn’t want to let go of any of her passions, be it JCI or Warah. “I don’t like living in peace, I enjoy the chaos,” she sounds hysterically passionate.
For now, Rumana wants the name of her brand to make a stance in the country. “I want the entire fashion industry to grow as a whole and only then can we make a difference. It’s up to us and the media to make space for new designers,” on that optimistic note the interview concludes.