Dhaka witnessed the first ever Blue Wrap Project Runway – Bangladesh organised by the Rotary Club of Dhaka Pathfinders and Partners for World Health, at a local centre on Friday, 8 September 2023. Distinguished guests, including seven ambassadors, came together for an evening of fashion, purpose, and community at this exclusive fund-raiser fashion event.

The Blue Wrap Project Runway initiative was taken up by the Rotary Club of Dhaka Pathfinders, in a unique partnership with Partners for World Health (PWH) for the purpose of Medical Mission. Over the last six years, for the Medical Mission, the Club along with PWH, has been carrying out breast cancer awareness workshops, primary health checkups at Korail Slum in Dhaka and Kandapara Brothel in Tangail, training for nurses at Tangail General Hospital, Tangail Nurse’s Institute, special training for nurses and patient-family members on Palliative Care at National Institute of Cancer Research & Hospital (NICRH), and Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery. Through the medical mission, this year 700+ nurses will be training, and over 500+ less-privileged people have received primary health check-ups.

As the scale of this noble initiative grows every year, the Dhaka Pathfinders has joined hands with renowned international fashion designer Bibi Russel towards creating a mesmerising event to raise funds named ‘Blue Wrap Project Runway’. 

Bibi Russel presented a collection of sustainable designs for the evening, where supermodel Noyonika Chatterjee walked the ramp as the showstopper. 

The show opened with the first queue designed with discarded Surgical Blue polypropylene with an aim to reduce surgical waste. Bibi Russell created a unique fashion transforming surgical waste into ready-to-wear designs.

The next 4 queues showcased Bibi Russell’s ‘Threads of Life’ collections with 100% natural, sustainable, hand-woven cotton and jamdani dresses. 

These queues, on one end, were a tribute to the craftspeople who have been the unsung heroes behind the scenes. On the other end, it reemphasised the need to remain sustainable.

Each of the simple yet gorgeous dresses carried the mark of their skills and artistry. Bibi Russell aimed to uplift these artisans and provide them with the means for a better livelihood. Each queue breathed life into handmade creations, bridging the gap between traditional craftsmanship and modern fashion that highlighted the intricate work of weavers and craftspeople’s labour-intensive techniques.

“As we enjoy the runway, I hope that we are reminded of the utmost significance of sustainability, especially in the worlds of fashion and healthcare, to help us build a healthier, happier, and more hopeful world,’ said Elizabeth McLellan, founder of PWH. Thanking the Rotary Club of Dhaka Pathfinders and the management of each of the hospitals for their hospitality, McLellan added, “A fashion show with a purpose! Blue Wrap Project Runway Bangladesh! The first country outside of the United States to host a Blue Wrap show! All I did was bring the blue wrap in March and look what has unfolded because of so many dedicated people here in your country. Thank you for making the effort. Thank you for sharing your commitment and for helping to make a difference in the world and in your country. Partners for World Health is here to stay, always.”

Tabassum Hossain Tina, President of the Rotary Club of Dhaka Pathfinders, said, “This sustainable fashion initiative is about transforming waste into art, symbolizing Rotary’s collective commitment to a healthier world. Dhaka Pathfinders, believe in sustainable changes and the Medical Mission is a flagship project that is ensuring long-term impacts. We hope that the good words will spread and we can scale up the benefits in the health sector more and more.” She also briefly described other social initiatives of the club. 

The event was supported by House of Butterfly, Dutch Dairy, The City Bank, Team Group, Orion Group and TMMC apart from the members of the club. A small segment on raising funds created a stir as the distinguished guests took out their mobile and donated towards the cause of the event. The funds raised on the evening will support the annual Medical Mission in Bangladesh. 


Background on Blue Wrap

‘Blue wrap’ is a blue material made of polypropylene that is used to sterilise surgical instruments. About 92 million tonnes of textile waste and 115 thousand tonnes of medical blue wrap are wasted annually by the fashion industry and hospitals respectively. These are choking the rivers, destroying biodiversity, and poisoning every last inch of the Earth. The Blue Wrap Project Runway is a significant stride towards recycling and reducing medical and textile wastes and their environmental impacts. This is a unified themed event carried out by various bodies across North America and the EU. This is the first time this theme has been presented in Dhaka.