The city Dhaka has seen a successful ending of a denim event called ‘Bangladesh Denim Expo 2016’. It was a good occasion to focus and review denim business in Bangladesh. Throughout the event many participants have expressed certainty about current vibrant denim market and they were optimistic to a strong future as well. Denim sector growth was probably the highest compared to other subsectors of the Textile & Clothing. One of the seminar of the expo informed that the country is currently exporting about USD 7 billion of denim products. This is more than 27% of country’s total RMG export. Only in 15 years of time the denim subsector has reached at this level, which certainly be called as ‘Denim Revolution’. And so was the title of the panel discussion prior to the end of the show.
The panel was moderated by Md. Mostafiz Uddin, Founder & CEO of Bangladesh Denim Expo. One of the panel members Sohel Rana, Director of Nassa Group has explained the revolution with its all spectrum. He told that in 15 years of time we evolved to producing 29.99 pound starling retail products from 3.0 pound tagged product. The country has experienced tremendous developments in product and process technology and quality.
Because of our skilled manpower and robust entrepreneurs we could achieve versatility while we are still competitive in mass production, Mr. Rana observed.
Jamal Abdun Naser, Director of Shasha Denims Ltd. became a bit of nostalgic when he was asked how the denim sector has reached today’s position. He told that real revolution of denim sector started when Shasha denim started its fabric production by 1999 setting a capacity of 1 million yards per month. Investing such a big money by a Bangladeshi company was a brave decision at
that time. Following the success of Shasha many others have started to invest in denim fabric production. Today we have 26 fabric producing factories. Now Bangladesh is producing basic to medium range denim products, he concluded. Another pioneer denim plant expert Shahidul Hasan, Director, Amber Group was asked what to do if somebody wants to set new denim factory. He suggested new entrepreneurs to cross check their desire to come in denim business. He emphasized that one must be comfortable in what he or she does. Many may be allured to come in denim business seeing tremendous growth but if they are not comfortable in it, they could fall in serious trouble. He warned that unplanned investments and unprofessional approach could be an obstruction for future of the sector. When any company sell denim fabric at a price of $1.6 per yards while their production cost is not less than $2.0 then such decision will be devastating for the sector. So, he urged to recheck with the investment plans and he encouraged investors to be confident and brave enough to tackle the market challenges. He further mentioned that the young generation is ready to take the challenge of exponential growth. So, the entrepreneurs can truly rely on them and can take ambitious target. But they should never be panicked as if somebody others can take the advantage of market panic.
When asked about the strategy for future, panel members differed in opinion. While Mr. Hasan was happy with the current pattern of growth of the industry, Mr. Naser was asking for a changed approach. Mr. Naser hoped that coming days will be targeting medium to high end segment of the market keeping the basic business intact. He sees the necessity of further emphasizing on the training and proper R&D for developing new range of products and processes by keeping eagle eye towards global fashion and sustainability needs. He added that sudden growth of the sector created a vacuum of skilled manpower which also has to be addressed. Specialized education in denim can be considered in universities and institutions, he added. Explaining the sophisticate of denim process, he stretched that delicate plan in R&D is important.