Rokaiya Ahmed Purna is taken into account certainly one of South Asia’s main vogue designers from Bangladesh. The Dhaka resident makes a speciality of native textiles and expresses her cultural background all through her collections, exemplified in her personal “RAP” label that has turn into way more than a vacation spot for timeless Bangladeshi tradition fusion and couture. After displaying her gorgeous assortment at Russia’s Trend Week in 2019, the designer was recognized for redefining Bangladeshi vogue on the world stage, together with her cultural materials, folks motifs and textiles that exude her nation’s heritage and intriguing ethnicity.
Rokaiya has additionally made it her life’s mission to assist empower ethnic and minority ladies via talent improvement coaching, in an effort to encourage others from her homeland who might prefer to comply with in her footsteps when pursuing a profession in vogue or the visible arts.
In an effort to flip the script on the style world’s unethical practices within the World SouthRokaiya has collaborated with ekn, a sustainable footwear model from Germany, to design a ‘vegan sneaker’ referred to as the “ekn Kamthala,” designed with inspiration taken from Bangladesh’s nationwide fruit, the jackfruit (Kamthala interprets as jackfruit in Bengali).
Final week, the ekn Kamthala was launched because the world’s first sustainable shoe “designed in Bangladesh and made in Europe,” as a collaborative assertion by the designer and Frankfurt-based eco-sneaker model. Their goal is to highlight proficient vogue designers in ethnic nations and areas which can be often exploited by the style world’s unethical practices and inhumane work environments.
ekn has discovered a expertise in Rokaiya inside a subculture the place expertise is seldomly regarded for, producing a trendy unisex sneaker impressed by her homeland, its nationwide fruit, and made with vegan supplies. The ekn Kamthala is now obtainable worldwide at www.eknfootwear.com
We caught up with the Bangladeshi designer on her life and love for her nation’s capital.
What do you most love about dwelling in Bangladesh?
The character and the omnipresent rural taste, the heritage, our bustling, energetic society, our meals, and the way we rejoice our festivals, that are actually colourful. Right here folks have the power of togetherness since we fought collectively for our liberation in 1971, and we additionally fought to retain our language. Since 1952 we have now celebrated Language Martyr’s Day on February twenty first, which is a wonderful instance of true togetherness for me. I’ve a lot love and respect for this nation.
What’s your favourite hidden gem in Dhaka for some ‘me-time’ or to go to with associates?
Lalbagh Fort is without doubt one of the key vacationer sights of Dhaka Metropolis. Positioned in Previous Dhaka, it’s a very talked-about and famend fort and a terrific architectural legacy from the Mughal Empire. It’s also referred to as Fort Aurangabad, and is located by the financial institution of the river Buriganga. It has wealthy purple soil, and I really feel so calm there. I might advocate a visit there to anybody visiting Bangladesh.
However for me essentially the most treasured place is all the time my hometown, Faridpur, it’s my final me-time place, and someplace I’d like to indicate to all people. It’s my peace, my luxurious time, it’s a part of my story, and it flavored my life. I name it my diamond place.
Inform us one factor concerning the capital that even locals wouldn’t know.
Beforehand Dhaka was known as Jahangir Nagar, and Mughal Subedar named town Dhaka. Legend has it that town known as Dhaka on account of the truth that the instrument known as the Dhak was heard taking part in within the Dhakeshwari temple sooner or later by Mughal Subedar and that determined the title of town.
Once you’re not working all hours of the day, what’s your favourite pastime within the metropolis?
I like to go to Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed Park, as a result of the character and the timber there remind me of my hometown, and my childhood. There I can simply be myself and mirror on my life to date, and the actual fact of being what I’m in the present day.
How would you describe the style sense in Dhaka for folks of your age?
The Dhaka locals of my age group are actually into vogue, however not each new model, and largely they have a tendency in direction of ready-to-wear garments. Typically, they put on a mixture of native and worldwide manufacturers, besides with regards to our festivals and nationwide celebration days, when everybody goes with native, native kinds. Additionally, typically folks prefer to put on a fusion of latest and native kinds.
Why did you’re taking inspiration for the ekn Kamthala sneaker out of your nation’s personal jackfruit?
The jackfruit is our nation’s nationwide fruit, however there’s a lot extra to say about it. This isn’t solely a fruit tree, it’s a supply of inspiration that comes from my roots, my life and the place I spent most of my childhood. It’s additionally a reminder of my hometown, the place the timber and nature made me who I’m in the present day.
What’s your favourite Bangladeshi dish?
So many, however largely my mother’s dishes as she is a extremely an incredible prepare dinner. However one meals I like most is Fuchka. Also referred to as Panipuri, Fuchka is a deep-fried crisp flatbread full of a combination of flavored water (referred to as imli pani), tamarind chutney, chilli powder, chaat masala, potato mash, and onion, or chickpeas
You might be recognized for empowering native ladies within the vogue business. Describe your work in that space.
I do social work as a volunteer, serving to to empower ethnic, minority neighborhood ladies, via talent improvement coaching. Additionally, throughout my vogue present, I labored with them on material improvement, typically including my up to date taste to make them design items.
For future vogue and design college students, I participate in conferences and seminars, typically taking lessons to supply my concepts about design and artistic improvement abilities. I additionally share my very own journey of moving into the style business within the hope that it’ll encourage them. To help ladies throughout COVID, I developed a spread of small scarves to assist to help feminine heritage textile weavers, and to assist them to be extra financially solvent throughout a tough second.
Which designer do you most admire and take into account an inspiration or function mannequin?
In the case of who I love essentially the most, vogue is just not a continuing in how I get my inspiration. I take inspiration from many alternative issues from different artistic folks and the assorted methods they contribute positively to society via their exhausting work aiming at optimistic change. I like Coco Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, Anna Wintour, Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri and plenty of extra designers from the current and the previous. However my best admiration is for my grandfather. He’s not a designer, however he has a powerful ideology, management qualities and a powerful persona.
What attracted you most about working with ekn on designing the sustainable ‘vegan sneaker’?
It was the way in which that they only accepted me, and had been so real and eager to offer me an opportunity to be part of their initiative, it felt extra like a celebration of the human spirit than a job alternative. And that’s what actually moved and impressed me. Additionally working with vegan leather-based is a brand new alternative for me to start out exploring a complete chapter in my artistic life. We’ve been speaking about sustainability for a very long time, however the probability to be a part of a genuinely sustainable undertaking was additionally vastly engaging and provoking to me. It is a phenomenal partnership.
Ekn gave me the prospect to suppose in another way as a designer, and to indicate the world that expertise may be discovered all over the place, it isn’t about preconceived concepts about what may be accomplished the place. It is about how we take into consideration others. Bangladesh is primarily referred to as an exporter of products for the North, however we have now an enormous quantity of expertise as nicely, which deserves to be revered, celebrated and explored.
Watch a brief video on Rokaiya and her inspiration for collaborating with ekn footwear.