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Rahemur Rahman is a fashion brand redefining what it means for fashion to be “made in Bangladesh”. Using design, print and weave it aims to reinterpret and retell stories of South Asian identities.
The emerging Bangladeshi, London-born designer blends history and tradition with fantasy, playing with patterns and texture to create distinctive pieces “for the people who dream in colour”. Rahemur Rahman brings together two of the designer’s first creative influences: his father’s career as a tailor in the rag trade, and his mother’s yearning for the culture and community of her home country. Both have informed Rahman’s use of clothing as a means to express and explore his identity.
His brand hopes to engage with the community he grew up in. His background in education allows the brand to navigate through social engagement projects.
Collaborating with World Fair Trade Organisation and World Crafts Council member, Aranya Crafts in Bangladesh, Rahemur Rahman creates sustainable and ethically produced textiles cultivating the traditional technique of natural dye. Looking to historical references for techniques, Rahman aims to bring textiles from this subcontinent to the modern eye internationally.
How will the move to Poplar Works benefit you?
I am so excited to be a part of this programme, surrounded by designers and makers I respect and admire. This space will allow us to freely collaborate across our practices and innovate how we engage with our social surroundings. This programme will allow me to continue building my brand and its engagement with locality and community.
Through my continuous collaboration with British Bangladesh Fashion Council, I would love to see how all these organisations can combine and create amazing projects that give back to the local community. Creating gateways of access for its local, predominantly Bangladeshi, community where being sustainable was a way of life because of financial need. A dream of mine is nurturing local communities in new crafts and skills that match artisanal creations like the ones I work on in Bangladesh, creating communities of artists and makers of specialised arts and crafts.
How will you help grow the creative community at Poplar Works?
I will share my ongoing research into heritage South Asian arts and crafts, my sustainable practices in Bangladesh creating artisanal textiles, my developed skillset in working with local communities, my voice within the South Asian communities, and my growing voice in the fashion industry.
Having won ‘Outstanding Achievement in the Fashion Industry’, awarded by the British Bangladesh Fashion Council, Fashion District, London College of Fashion, illustrates my continuous efforts to close the gap between local people and the global fashion industry. My unique journey to this point is what I think is most valuable to a community like Poplar Works.
LCF at Poplar Works is committed to giving back to the local community through the creative talent housed there. Can you talk a bit about your plans for giving back?
I represented Bangldesh at The International Fashion Showcase 2019 in partnership with British Council, British Fashion Council, Somerset House and University of the Arts London, and for this collaborated with two youth organisations, one being Streets of Growth, who work with marginalised youth adults who are currently facing hard times. We created upcycled furniture to be showcased at Somerset House, giving the participants agency and hope for dreams they have. I also worked with ‘A’ Team Arts, a youth organisation working to support the uplifting of the arts in Tower Hamlets, and together we worked with young people from the age of 5-19 who were all home schooled, this created opportunities for them to be creative and free within their home education. Both of these projects illustrate how I can and will continue to collaborate with resident business, charities and projects through workshops to showcase the global fashion industry.