If you want to talk about the rising stars in Bangladesh's fashion industry, Rifat Rahman is a name that you cannot ignore.
Creating a balance between tradition and contemporary fashion wear that delivers a voguish look without compromising with comfort, his brand R Rahman has become the first choice for many.
Team TBS got the opportunity to have a chit-chat session with the designer Rifat Rahman.
We started from the beginning, how he entered the fashion industry.
Although he always had an interest in turning his imaginations into reality through fabric, he never thought this passion would one day become his profession.
"It all started from a small clothing factory of my uncle. I used to love seeing him work there for hours. After my SSC, I tried to learn as much as I could from him. Eventually, I started suggesting designs for clothes and that is when I found the potential within myself," he said.
One Eid, with the help of a friend, Rifat submitted four to five designs of shirts to a brand.
Being impressed with his work, the brand ordered around 500 more pieces from him, all of which were quickly sold.
Rifat made a profit of around one lakh taka. This was a milestone for him, as he was just a teenager.
Eventually, he started to design shirts, sharees etc for his family members and friends.
Although he started studying for a BBA at the North South University, his heart was not in it.
After some time, he got into the Shanto-Mariam University of Creative Technology, from where he completed his Honours and Master's in fashion designing.
In 2012, he started his own brand, R Rahman. He opened up a Facebook page and an Instagram account where he used to post pictures of himself donning his creations.
After receiving a surprisingly good response from customers, he started working on womenswear. His bridal designs also created a separate fan base.
"I started working at a UK based brand called 'New Look' in 2013, and later worked as the head of design for a local brand, gaining experience from multinational brands like H&M alongside. I was also a development team manager at Uniqlo. But I ended my job life in 2019 when I realised that I wanted to expand my own brand and fully concentrate on it," he shared with us.
In 2017, he was selected a junior member of the Bangladesh Fashion Council.
For the past four years, the council has been arranging one of the most exclusive fashion events in the country, 'Bangladesh Fashion Week' where Rifat has already participated.
When we wanted to know what his dream was for his brand R Rahman, he shared that his dream is to bring the beauty of Bangladeshi culture through fabrics in front of the whole world.
"Working with pure Bangladeshi materials such as pure cotton and Jamdani and giving them an international touch is the key to present our culture and heritage on the global platform," he said, on his plans to create fusion designs.
Going through pictures of his works on social media, one can clearly tell how beautifully he has blended tradition and modern fashion together.
While his traditional panjabis have contemporary cuts and patterns, he has a wide collection of shirts and fatuas to provide the ultimate comfort with an elegant look.
"Honestly, I love working with women's fashion more because I think you can experiment with designs a lot more with it," Rifat said.
"In terms of designing clothes, I believe in minimalism. I like breathable materials, simple designs, and unique patterns," Rifat answered, when we asked about his preferred materials and designs.
He not only tries to ensure that his simple attires suit everyone, but also tries to keep the price range affordable.
R Rahman panjabis start from Tk2,500 and go up to Tk5,000. Womenswear starts from Tk2,500 and goes up to Tk9,000.
Although simplicity is reflected the most in R Rahman's designs, you can get customised bridal wear, the price of which starts from Tk50,000.
Even though the brand R Rahman is currently online based, Rifat has a studio in Niketan, Dhaka. Also, launching outlets are included in his future plan.
At the end of our conversation, we asked him for some fashion tips for our readers and he replied, "Fashion is all about comfort."
The designer gave a pointer to maintain a harmony between being comfortable and looking fashionable, keeping things like weather, time of the day, purpose, and occasion in mind while getting dressed.