Former model, designer, social entrepreneur
Bibi Russell became the fi rst woman from Bangladesh, who studied at London College of Fashion. At the graduation show she modelled her own collection and was immediately offered modelling assignments with some of the most famous designers and renowned magazines.
She returned to Bangladesh to realize a long held amition to build an international reputation for locally crafted textiles by promoting traditional Bangladeshi fabrics in the beginning of the 90s. In 1995 she built up her own fashion company ‘Bibi Productions’.
She recognized the importance of sustaining this craft to preserve culture heritage and also to prevent highly skilled craftspeople from being forced to anbandon their trade to become poor and displaced labors. With her long experience in the international fashion-world, her understanding of the essence of style and her knowledge of Bangali culture, she designed collections made of hand woven textiles. In 1996 she presented her first ready to wear collection at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.
The presentation drew the attention of the French fashion houses to the quality and originality of the Bangladeshi hand-woven fabrics, and as a result more than 30,000 weavers in Bangladesh received work filling orders of French buyers. Operating under the slogan of ‘Fashion for Development,’ Bibi Russell has demonstrated how local weavers and artisans can use their skills to achieve economic stability and to have a sustainable source of income.