Thursday, September 24, 1998 Published at 21:21 GMT 22:21 UK
Bangladeshi chic debuts in London
The garments use traditional methods and materials
London Fashion Week has begun on a serious note with Bangladeshi-born designer Bibi Russell showing her new collection, most of which was manufactured by victims of the country's devastating floods.
Before the models took to the stage, Ms Russell - herself a former catwalk star - issued an appeal for aid for the weavers in her homeland.
"One-tenth of the population do not know where their next meal is coming from.
"Due to the devastating floods a unique craft, and more importantly a livelihood, has been completely destroyed, along with a lot of other assets."
Ms Russell has already helped weavers by introducing their work to the Western world of high fashion through her label Fashion for Development.
Ms Russell said: "One loom costing only $200 (£125) is the difference between shattered dreams and survival. Survival not just of one weaver but also of his or her dependent family of up to five or six members."
Among the audience at the catwalk show was the Secretary of State for International Development, Clare Short, who added her support to the efforts by the United Nations and the British Fashion Council to assist Ms Russell's work.
"They have wonderful handicrafts but the beauty of tonight is to bring a world of privilege together with such people and create the chance for them to improve their lives."
The collection featured brightly coloured silk shifts and wraps in the coolest natural cotton. It was modelled by nine Bangladeshi students who had been schooled in catwalk technique by Russell herself.