Dhaka’s swashbuckler is a Bir Protik!

by Towheed Feroze

ain1Among a stream of people, he stands out; one cannot miss him, a tall, suave gentleman with an unmistakable air of pizzazz. Height is of course something to notice but the second thing one has to admire is the cut of the suit: it’s neat with no lose ends anywhere.
From a distance, someone may think: right, that man knows how to dress, for a film buff like me, the instant thought was: if I ever make a Masud Rana movie, this person has to be the classy villain.
Shahhzaman Mozumder Bir Protik is not the average well-dressed person; he lives and breathes fashion. Wait a second, maybe I should say, ‘style’ because fashion can be bought, style one has to possess.
Shahzaman,’s preferred line to the camera as a baddie would be simple yet profound.
He looked at me, curled his brows, pulled a languid smile and said: Really!
Brevity is the soul of malice!
Sitting at the Sonargaon Hotel lobby, where Mr Shahzaman owns and oversees a bespoke tailoring shop called Dapper, he looked at my questions and politely told me that he would never wear a black suit with a white shirt.
A bit puzzled, I asked why and he explained: since his complexion was ‘low contrast’, it would be wrong to wear a combination where he would be lost, becoming secondary to the attire.
I was impressed, because this man has not scratched the upper layers of style which involves knowing a few brand names and suit types, he knows the nitty gritty of matching clothes with a person’s natural skin tone.
Would he ever dare to wear the trademark white suit preferred very much by the top ‘Gundas’ in Bengali films?
Why not, he answered undaunted, adding: I do have and wear one; it’s double breasted white linen.
‘By the way, will throw in a Panama hat with that,’ added Mr Shahzaman.
Hmmmmm, on second thoughts, he would look glamorously wicked in that combination.
What is the one single factor that makes a suit stand out, I ask him and without thinking he says: fitting.
I decided to throw a challenge to Mr Zaman: imagine you have to attend a lunch, a sports event and a date but can choose only one set of clothes that will be adequate for all occasions.
Unperturbed, he said: well, I have faced such a situation several times and my preference would be:
A gun check sports jacket with contrast trousers, silk knit tie and a pair of Derby’s.
Now, how do you stop a person who comes up instantly with such an inexorable combination!
Shahzaman Mozumder was 15 when he took part in the liberation war, later, he studied at IBA of Dhaka University, dabbled in archery and, in 1988, decided to make wine at home.
Intrigued, I wanted to know about the wine making.
‘Well, I used black berries and raisins and set up the system at my home,’
After 21 days he had the tipple ready to drink.
How was the flavour?
“Smooth, a little fruity!”
Shahzaman Mozumder has a blog where he posts sartorial information aimed at educating the modern day young about the importance of looking sharp.
‘See, I want to look proper because when I meet my IT work related clients I want to show that my dressing is not just for my own satisfaction but also a mark of respect to those I do business with.’
By the way, the Dapper Bespoke tailoring situated within the Pan pacific Sonargaon Hotel is Mr Mozumder’s hobby, his expertise is in IT and his office is right across the hotel.
As Dhaka’s fashion arbiter took me to his shop, I noticed several well-known business people getting measured for suits and jackets.
The poster on the side of the door said: bespoke canvas suits and when I asked about the use of the world ‘canvas’ a totally unknown fact was revealed to me.
“Most suits you see are fusion suits, these use a sort of material to laminate to the suit cloth on the back side to keep the garment firm. Also, perforations of buttons are machine made, lapels are machine stitched, whereas in our products, everything is done by hand stitching, or better still, these are hand crafted, making each piece exclusive.”
Remember, a bespoke suit is different from a made to measure suit; the latter is taking the measurement and placing it on a pre-fixed template whereas the bespoke is made to fit the individual, taking into consideration the minute details of a person’s physique, informed Mr Shahzaman.
Out of curiosity I asked him his favourite tailor in Jermyn Street, London, and he said: well, I only wear suits made by my shop now but if I am in London would possibly drop over at Huntsman and Church’s for shoes.
But what if a person on a limited income wants to appear stylish?
See, it’s never about how much you spend on something but how you wear it; someone wearing clean trousers, a polished pair of shoes, pressed shirt with a clean appearance can easily be termed sharp.
The clothes can come from Bangabazar or opposite Dhaka College, the place of origin is insignificant.
Wear with confidence!
Well, there you have it: Mr Shahzaman Mozumder Bir Protik, who, as a young lad went to war and, now, as an established person in society, is trying to make the young look and feel better not by obsessing about foreign brands but by finding pride in our own expert tailoring.
With evening falling and clients beginning to drop in at Dapper Bespoke Tailoring, I had one last question for Mr Shahzaman:
Sir, what are you wearing today?
Well, today, I am wearing a Prince of Wales check suit, red woolen tie, linen hand rolled pocket square, a Raymond Weil Don Giovanni watch and Oxford cap-toe shoes,”
Tell me, with that description how can one possibly not have veneration for the man.
A decorated war hero, an IT expert, a devoted father to one son and a daughter and a man who dresses immaculately, Mr Shahzaman Mozumder reminded me of Oscar Wilde’s famous saying: it’s only shallow people who do not judge by appearance.