An icon of the Bangladesh Fashion industry, Bibi Russell has single-handedly put Bangladesh on the global fashion map. Her commitment to the development and welfare of Bangladeshi weavers and support for the traditional crafts has been acclaimed world wide.

Bibi Russell graduated from the London College of Fashion and at her graduate show, was discovered by Harper’s Bazaar as a model. She became one of the most sought-after models of the 70’s and 80’s working with Chanel,Yves Saint Laurent,Valentino and Armani among others.

Bibi Russell has rediscovered the ancient craft of hand-weaving and helped the traditional handloom weavers gain international exposure and sustainable income.In 1995 she founded the company “Bibi Productions”. Her work provides a platform for over 35,000 weavers and artisans all over Bangladesh to utilize their talents. Bibi works with materials like cotton, khadi, silk, jamdani and jute. In the recent years, she has been experimenting with crochet in her designs. She does a spring-summer and fall-winter collection each year and exports to Europe and Scandinavia. Her collections – under the tag line ‘Fashion for Development and Positive Bangladesh’ promotes Bangladeshi fabrics and handicrafts for domestic and international markets.

Her first European show was in Paris, February 1996 titled “Weavers of Bangladesh”, organised with UNESCO. A year later, her collection “The Colours of Bangladesh” held in Palma de Mallorca, Spain was launched and supported by the Queen of Spain. With support from UNESCO and the British Fashion Council, she previewed her collection “Stars of Bangladesh” in London in 1998. Since then, she has participated in numerous fashion shows and exhibitions at home and abroad.

She received among others, the ‘Honorary Fellowship’ of the London Institute in 1999, title of ‘Designer for Development’ by the UNESCO in 1999, the title ‘Artist for Peace’ by the UNESCO in 2001 and the Peace Prize 2004 by the United Nations Associations of Spain.

I hope that there are more people out there who will follow in Bibi Russell’s footsteps by understanding the importance of prêt to make fashion more affordable and a source of income for the impoverished.

‘Bibi Productions’ is located at House- 45 (3rd floor), Road-27, Dhanmondi, Dhaka.

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