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Bangladesh local fashion going online to cope with pandemic circumstance

Fashion houses face trouble moment

Coronavirus has brought fashion to a halt. In such a situation, like all other industries, the domestic fashion sector of Bangladesh is also in extreme uncertainty and has suffered a loss of more than Tk 6,000 crore. Since people are flocking to celebrate the Boishakh every year, where new clothes are arranged with special importance.

Bangladesh-local-fashion-online-cope -COVID-19
Figure 1: Bangladesh local fashion houses targeting online to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic situation.

The fashion houses also had the necessary preparations. Many houses even started sorting out the Boishakh collection in the first week of March. But after the first corona patient was identified on March 6, anxiety began to spread. Sales graph by March 20 fallen in to half compared to last year. In the next five days it became absolutely zero.

Then from March 26, all shopping malls and brand stores were closed. Due to this, at least Tk 125 crore was lost in March, according to the Fashion Design Council of Bangladesh (FDCB). FEAB has also canceled the planned fashion show and exhibition on April 3 and 4 on the occasion of Boishakh. 70% of the budget is spent on advertisement.

The loss of Boishakh has also fallen on Eid-ul- Fitr. Even though the market was opened according to the hygiene rules, the customers stayed away from buying. As a result, most of the products remained unsold.

Whole supply chain stands in a sick moment that experts think it takes a long time to get out of. Meanwhile, Eid-ul-Adha is knocking at the door. In such a situation, the sellers are hoping to active the outlets and sales even if keeping the dividends low.

New products and design

Indigenous houses usually launch different designs of clothes to the outlets by giving predominate the four festivals. But most of the fashion houses have no much anxiety with the design plan of the costumes as the festivals are close enough.

Taaga-online
Figure 2: Bangladeshi local fashion houses do business through online service since few ears but recently the scenario of this kind of business is growing tremendously.

They have brought clothes in the market keeping the harmony of Eid style with the motif of Pohela Boishakh. Moreover, due to having hot season, almost every fashion company has chosen cotton yarn as a fashion accessory.

Although all the companies like Aarong, Sailor, Yellow, Twelve, Klubhaus, SaRa, Infinity, Mbrella, Smartex, Cats Eye, Anjon’s, Bibiana, Kay Kraft, Rang, Shadakalo, Nipun, Deshal, Shoishob, Bishwo Rang, La Reve etc are struggling financially, they have brought little variations in the product after Eid-ul-Fitr in order to protect the demand, trust of the fashion lovers and brand image.

Ashraful Alam, CEO of Aarong shares, “Last year, our turnover was around TK 10 thousand crore and 10% revenue comes from Boishakh sales while another 30- 35% from Eid. TK 350-400 crore come generally from these two festive, we don’t know what will happen in much-awaited Eid-ul- Adha.”

The collections of Sailor are oriented with washed, printed and embroidered designs and smooth layering fashion for teenagers. To address the pandemic which contributed to decreasing people income significantly, Twelve introduced Equal Monthly Instalment (EMI) facility for the first time in Bangladesh.

Yellow’s summer collection speaks of vivid colors and pretty prints. Thinking about the intense heat, the celebration of SaRa’s Eid will be dominated by cotton fabrics, south Asian motif prints and Minimi style. SaRa produces knitted mask with good filtration capacity. ‘Bishwo Rang’ brings some pattern innovations along with tie-dye, batik style that will be attracted by all. Every house corners are decorated with saree, panjabi, kurta, kabli set, gown, salwarkameez etc. products. Market is going to perform online business.

The online shopping world is thriving. The proof is in the numbers: 76% of Americans shop online, and half of online sales are made on online market places (such as Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, Flipcart) – and that number is expected to continue rising over the next few years.

Although Bangladeshi local fashion houses do business through online service since few ears but recently the scenario of this kind of business is growing tremendously.

In order to survive, fashion houses are also emphasizing on online systems by easier browsing with attractive offers and reasonable prices along with store sells and they take order from web and Facebook fan page too.

Motiur Rahman, Assistant Director of SaRa Lifestyle said, “We don’t know when we’ll overcome this pandemic crisis. As large volume of people can’t visit the stores now, in this case, e-commerce business could be a good future platform for us. The growth of online business of SaRa has already boomed about 30-40% rate since last 4 months than our expectations.”

Azharul Haque Azad, Managing Director of Sadakalo said, “We are facing a devastating situation in our business. Online fair is going, almost all the fashion houses are taking part there.”

Biplob Saha, Owner of Bishwo Rang said to media, “Now a lot of business has become online dependent. So even though the local brands have not attracted the attention of the customers through Facebook live for so long, now they are being forced to do so. We have to keep pace with the times. But government action is most needed to overcome the huge damage to the local fashion industry.”

Conclusion

Fashion house leaders believe that it may take several months for fashion lovers to go to the store spontaneously, even if the shopping malls are opened in compliance with the hygiene rules. Pandemic teaches us to be innovative. New and talented designers and stylists are blooming based on customers’ need.

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