16 / 07 / 2004 Former top model and designer, hindu Bibi Russell, has formed a craft production network to help relieve entire communities from misery
Since 1994, when the former Hindu top model living in London returned to Bangladesh, Bibi Russellll has been dedicated to the task of visiting the communities of India to make their dream a reality: a plan to feed more than one million people thanks to the fashionable craft products that follow her inspiration and that she buys from the craftsmen of her country, later to give them back that money to reinvest to their benefit. "I aim to have them use the micro-credits so that they may buy the raw materials", said the designer and former model, who is presently taking part in the Forum Dialogue "Poverty, micro-credits and development".
Crafts represent the second sector that provides employment in Bangladesh, so Bibi Russell decided to think about an economic mechanism to relieve whole communities from poverty and so she dedicated herself to designing clothes using the same fabrics that the weavers use in her country. All the products and the end product go through her office in Dhaka, founded in 1995, where she has a team of twenty workers in the company Bibi Productions. She is dedicated to visiting the communities of India to inspire confidence in the craftsmen to make her products, which are not only clothes, but also shoes and accessories. She buys these products and this way the money reverts back into the communities. Of the 140 million people who live in Bangladesh, 80% live in communities. "In a year and a half I have been able to give support to 1% of these communities", said Russell.
"It is necessary to consider", she explained, "that it takes many hours to reach the towns because of the traffic and the bad roads in India", but her dream is "to see these communities relieved from poverty", to give them confidence and contribute to them her experience without any financial reward. She inspires them, gives them materials, and watches how they can improve products, thanks to her studies of design in London, and tries to get them to use the micro-credits so that they buy the raw materials and then make articles with it. "Before the material goes through the machine there are five steps that can a single family can make that can relieve it from poverty", assured the designer.
The collection this year is all white, said Russell, "as I understood that Europe wants sophistication. In India everything is colour and it has taken me six months to get it all in white". The ex-model does not have her own stores but aims to export the products from India to Europe. She has made some samples in Copenhagen and yesterday she presented her designs in a parade at the Fair of Montju´c, under the auspices of the Forum and the NGO, Women Together.