Lungi is widely worn as men’s loungewear. Many individuals wear it outdoors. However, it is uncommon in urban life in general. Many individuals have also highlighted this traditional Bangladeshi garment by donning lungis outside the home. The increasing demand for lungi both domestically and internationally indicates its secure position.
For cricketer Mashrafe, the lungi is the most comfortable while resting. This dress is preferred during the bag-packing phase before his foreign trip. In Bangladesh and countries like India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Jordan, Somalia and Kenya, lungi is popular clothing.
It is natural to associate the lungi with the arrival of Muslim traders in the region because the speciality of this country’s check lungi is seen more in Indonesia.
As the lungi is prevalent in many countries, there is also variation in the identity or style of wearing it. For example, the lungi we know is sarong in some countries, Munda or kyli elsewhere. Some countries also call it Longai.
In certain countries, it is common for people to wear the lungi and gittu together, sometimes adding a belt to the ensemble. Some individuals also wear their upper garments underneath the lungi. For example, the lungi is traditionally paired with a Punjabi shirt or T-shirt in Bangladesh. In rural areas, people often carry only cloth on their shoulders along with the lungi. In urban areas, the lungi is considered a type of homeware. However, there are exceptions to this practice.
The check pattern is a prominent feature in Bangladeshi lungi design, available in small, medium, and large sizes. However, this design has evolved to conform to fashion trends. Only a few changes have been made since Bangladesh gained independence. In the 1990s, Arang fashion house designer Chandra Shekhar Saha introduced a new black lungi style. In addition to checks, printing, batik, tie-dye, block, and embroidery are sometimes used to decorate the lungi. With an increase in mechanical weaving, hand-woven lungis have become rarer. Looms are closed yearly according to specific regulations. While machine-made lungis are cheaper to produce, the labour-intensive process of weaving by hand makes them more expensive. As a result, only a few loom-woven lungis remain in certain Dhaka neighbourhoods, including Ruhitpur, Pabna, and Sirajganj. These lungis are made using yarn with a thread count of 80, but weavers can create patterns using higher thread counts if given the design.
There are many lungi factories in Kumarkhali, Narsingdi and Tangail in Kushtia. In these, lungis are made on mechanical looms. Bangladeshi-made lungis have been exported abroad for several years. Many fashion houses in the country have a separate corner for lungi.
Generally, three and a half cubits wide and five to five and a half cubits long are in high demand among buyers in the country. Cotton and linen lungis are more comfortable because they are used more. However, silk lungis are made suitable for festivals or weddings. Fashion house Aranya, which works with natural dyes, has recently created a vegetable-dyed lungi for the first time.
Arang, Pride, La Rive, Infinity, Anjon’s, K Craft, Nipun, and many of the country’s leading fashion houses have separate lungi corners. From 100 taka to 1500 taka, lungi will also be available in the shop. Apart from this, there are brands of lungi, such as Search, Amanat Shah, Standard, Pakija, ATM, Bexi Lungi etc. available in the market.
Although many clothes have been lost, the lungi has survived in glory as the ancient dress of the country. Along with tradition and comfort, the lungi is great in style!