www.bangladeshshowbiz.com. Born into a prominent Bangladeshi family, Bibi had an early life framed by the artist, writers and musicians in her cultured family home in Dhaka. Due to her love of dance, music and design she studied at the London College of Fashion. Bibi graduated in 1975, with a degree in fashion design. She modeled her own collection in her graduating show and was immediately offered modeling assignments. For nearly 20 years she had done assignments with Yves Saint Laurent, Kenzo, Karl Lagerfield and Giorgio Armani.
Returning to Dhaka in 1994, Bibi, is now working for accuse that is much closer to her heart: to alleviate the plight of the weavers of Bangladesh. In order to increase the export potential of the handloom sector, she added to the efforts of local NGOs by blending the creative energies of the highly skilled weavers with her own creative energy. At the same time she started her own labels that breathes life into the faltering weaving industry. She has given the Bangladeshi weavers and artisans the chance to use their considerable skills and talents to achieve economic survival -and to build toward a prosperous future.
Bibi is currently working in Bangladesh promoting Bangladeshi fabrics and handicrafts for domestic and international markets. She works with projects and organizations related to her slogans “Fashion for Development” and “Positive Bangladesh”. Bibi Productions, the company Bibi Russell founded is about more than rich textiles and luxuriant embroidery the 35,000 weavers, craft people and tailors it linked are an inspiring example of micro financing. Artisans make all of her accessories including buttons and shoes. A lot of women weavers and craft people have become self sufficient through her work. She has been able to draw the attention of international fashion industry to the skills of weavers helping them finding new outlets through her fashion shows in Bangladesh, in Europe, in North America, in India and in Africa.
Her unfailing commitment to human dignity, development and eradication of poverty did not go unrecognized. UNESCO conferred her upon the title for Designer for Development, “UNESCO special Envoy” in October 4, 1999. For her effort in promoting not only the weavers of Bangladesh but also the weavers of all over the world, the special envoy title was replaced by the title “Artist for Peace” in 27 November, 2001 focusing more on the special mission fulfilled.
Bibi played a pivotal role in achieving fashion and design recognized as an art by Shilpakala Academy, the Bangladesh Academy for performing and visual Art. She has received many coveted awards in Bangladesh for her innovative and creative activities in the field of fashion and design and for her contribution to poverty alleviation.
In December 2004 Bibi Russell was the winner of the Peace Prize of the UNESCO which had been received before by Nelson Mandela, Ernesto Cardenale, Mikhail Gorbachev, Gro Harlem Brundtland and Hans Blix.