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‘Muslin’ was the brand of the Bengal, is it ‘Denim’ for current Bangladesh- Denim Expo seminar tries to depict

A panel in Denim Expo which has held in Dhaka on 9th November was trying to depict the way Bangladesh could brand the country to the outside world. Capability of apparel making and consequently billions of garments being sold all around the world under the tag ‘Made in Bangladesh’ are definitely taking the country’s name to numerous places every year. However that is always not a positive story for the country as tragic stories of fire and building collapse outperformed the great story of revolution of millions of garment makers of the country in the global media.

The panel after the discussion. (L-R) Md. Atiqul Islam, Sophie AUBERT , Shantanu Shing, Mostafizur Rahman (CEO, Denim Expo) and Dr. Nazneen Ahmed.
Figure: The panel after the discussion. (L-R) Md. Atiqul Islam, Sophie AUBERT , Shantanu Shing, Mostafizur Rahman (CEO, Denim Expo) and Dr. Nazneen Ahmed.

At this reality, when the country set a target of USD 50 billion export target by 2021 and so feeling dire necessity of improving the brand aspect of the country and its apparel. All of the panel members agreed that Bangladesh has done tremendous improvements in compliance and safety condition in last decade or more. And many factories here are producing for many prestigious global brands successfully. However Mrs. Sophie AUBERT from Embassy of France in Dhaka, Bangladesh as one of the distinguished panel members cautioned that Bangladesh should not be complacent enough at the current stage. She added that the apparel industry should continue with the great work of quality improvement.

Meanwhile the moderator Md. Atiqul Islam, Immediate Past President, BGMEA highlighted achievements of Bangladeshi factories being greener day by day by mentioning that 35 factories are LEED certified and hundreds of more are coming up. Another panel member Dr. Jochen Weikert, Programme Coordinator, PSES, GIZ depicted that telling the own story of your own is not enough for branding. ‘Branding is what other tell about you’ he mentioned and as per his analogy ‘to the German consumers’ the perception the Bangladeshi factories are not among the world’s best as they may have seen much better factories over there in their country’. So, he suggested picking right words and angles for branding Bangladesh.

Afterwards, Dr. Nazneen Ahmed, Senior Research Fellow, BIDS, differed with Dr. Jochen and added that many times you must talk about yourself and later others will start talking the same. She identified ‘Muslin’ one of the finest fabrics of the world the country was producing even 400 hundred years back was the branding point of Bangladesh. That time queens all around the world were wearing that garment and that was the Bengal’s brand value. She suggests that now also we need to identify right thing to brand Bangladesh. As organizers tried to put up ‘Denim’ as the branding point for the country, she agreed that ‘Denim’ could be one that take Bangladesh name to the world as ‘Muslin’ took it out hundreds years back.

Shantanu Shing, General Manager, C & A Sourcing Ltd. expressed his satisfaction on Bangladesh and mentioned that the country is not just producing denim’s currently rather denims being produced here are being one for the finest of the world. Bangladesh has improved denim washing capability significantly he added.


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