Arka Fashion Week, the groundbreaking event with a mission to democratise fashion, kicked off its inaugural edition on Thursday at the Aloki Convention Center, Tejgaon in the capital.

An exclusive initiative of Arka Studio, the Arka Fashion Week comes with a commitment to provide equitable opportunities to all kinds of designers and brands in Bangladesh.

The inaugural day of the three-day fashion week witnessed a bustling Marketplace and was alive with a dazzling array of fashion and cultural celebrations, and marked the beginning of a transformative journey for the country's fashion industry.

Over 50 entrepreneurs and brands are participating in this three-day event which works with fashion, fashion accessories, and fashion-related products, made in Bangladesh. Alongside the marketplace, there are several other engaging spaces for the attendees including an exhibition curated by Shehzad Chowdhury and Adrita Mahin Khan on the theme "Analogue to Digital," an interactive space titled 'Design Lab' where one can buy a product and create their designs, live concerts with renowned bands and food zone.

As part of the opening day extravaganzas, a pageant competition titled "Miss and Mister Celebrity Bangladesh 2024", was held at the event. The pageant is a platform to empower individuals and enhance their talents through the grooming of a pageantry journey on a local and international level.

In Bangladesh, the Azra Mahmood Talent Camp (AMTC) is the license holder for the pageant. AMTC also represents India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. This has been an all-inclusive camp dedicated towards a focused endeavour of transforming models and aspiring models into their world-class counterparts by incorporating years of industry experience and knowledge, transforming the dreams of all men and women into groomed, artistic versions of themselves.

A total of 16 participants, 8 male and 8 female contestants participated this year, and the winners of the titles of Miss and Mister Celebrity Bangladesh 2024 were Sajria Tabassum Proma and Rajiul Islam Shadhin, respectively. They will further go on to represent Bangladesh in Miss and Mister Celebrity International 2024 in Vietnam.

The judges for this contest are renowned individuals in their respective fields, including fashion icon and renowned singer Mehreen Mahmud, along with SK Saifur Rahman, content consultant, Haal Fashion at Prothom Alo and fashion industry insider, Heritage Textile Export; Afroza Parveen, Head of Operation, Red by Afroza Parveen; Asad Sattar, Founder at Arka Studio and Director at Utah Group, Aloki; Nibir Adnan Nahid, model and influencer; and Tangia Zaman Mithila, Miss Universe Bangladesh 2020, model and actress.

The day concluded with a captivating live performance by the band Smooches, followed by Meghdol. Popular band 'Joler Gaan' is scheduled to enthral the audiences on Friday, the second day of the Arka Fashion Week; and the last day will showcase Karnival and Dads in the Park.

"The overarching objective of Arka Fashion Week is to see Bangladesh graduate from exporting garments to exporting fashion -- to see Bangladeshi brands and retail labels add value in terms of culture export. Arka believes that this evolution in our fashion and textile industry will help raise the stature of our nation and further improve our economy," Asad Sattar, Founder at Arka Studio and Director at Utah Group, Aloki, told UNB.

"Arka Fashion Week, which aims to take place bi-annually, is hosting six segments this year, each targeting a different facet of fashion and culture, so this is curated to attract a diverse group of people. We had an amazing day today and the Arka Fashion Week continues its journey, promising more excitement and innovation over the next two days," he added.

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