The recent Bangladesh Denim Expo in Dhaka displayed quite a number of denim products, trends and innovations through company presentations, zones, panel discussions and seminars. Mostafiz Uddin, founder and CEO of Bangladesh Denim Expo, shared his insights on the fair along with current standing of Bangladesh’s denim industry.
Q: What is the size of denim industry in Bangladesh?
A: Bangladesh, the second largest ready-made garment (RMG) exporter in the world, is also an emerging player in the international denim market. The growing global demand for denim has created new opportunities in the country. At present, the size of the global denim industry is around $56 billion, which is expected to reach around $64 billion in sales by 2020. Currently, Bangladesh holds a 22.88 per cent market share in the European Union (EU) and 11.35 per cent in the United States (US) markets, especially in the jeans category, in 2015. Bangladesh is the largest denim and denim-related products exporter to the EU and second largest to the US.
Q: What percentage of the market did you cover through this expo?
A: The Bangladesh Denim Expo has created vibes among denim manufactures and buyers-both locally and internationally. So far, four editions of the expo have taken place, with the aim to showcase Bangladesh’s capacity and strengths in denim production, and explore potential for further growth of the industry.
Q: What are the challenges facing the Bangladesh denim industry, and what solutions were proposed to overcome them in the expo?
A: Bangladesh has emerged as a promising hub for denim production in the international market. Now, our target is to increase the share in the global market. However, it is a challenge for the local denim fabric production to meet the demand. We are placing a lot of emphasis on local production to make our denim industry stronger. The industry in Bangladesh has 26 denim mills. The monthly production capacity stands at 30 million yards, while the actual demand reaches nearly 60 million yards. So, we have to address this gap by boosting local production capacity. To meet the growing demand for denim fabrics, local mills are investing in imported state-of-the-art machinery, especially when it comes to weaving and processing. Another challenge is to integrate sustainability into denim production, because we have a responsibility towards protecting the environment in which we live and operate. All products should be made in a caring and responsible way that preserves the environment for future generations.
Q: Apart from being a manufacturing base for international brands, did the expo propose ways to grow Bangladesh’s native brands internationally?
A: There are good prospects for local denim brands to grow and step into the international denim landscape. I myself export my own branded jeans named ‘Blue X Only’. As the expo serves as a perfect platform for local manufacturers to contact international buyers and denim experts and share and gather knowledge in the field, I think the show will encourage them to create native denim brands for an international market.
Q: How can technological innovations, ruling the international denim community, be brought to the country?
A: Being up-to-date with the latest technologies is a must to keep pace with the international market. Keeping that in mind, we had ‘Trendzone’ in the expo to introduce manufacturers to the latest developments in denim. The zone helped them discover a trend-driven selection of fabrics and products. The expo also focused on the latest washes, bleaches, weaves, and finishes of denim. Besides, we brought together global denim experts to present knowledge on different technologies in denim production. In the last edition of the expo, the global leader in garment finishing technologies, Tonello presented its revolutionary new finishing technologies. Jeanologia talked about its new 3D finishes and eco-technologies.