Global fashion industry players, who once did not believe that Bangladesh could host an international standard exhibition, are now eagerly waiting to come to the country to participate in such an event, said Mostafiz Uddin, a Bangladeshi entrepreneur. denim.
“It was not an easy task to attract buyers and brands. We had to regain our image and make them believe that we could,” said Mostafiz, the man who orchestrated Bangladesh Denim Expo.
When his organization named Bangladesh Apparel Exchange started organizing the expo in 2014 for the first time, only 50 exhibitors from 37 countries attended and there were 2,601 visitors, the number increased to 90 exhibitors from 54 countries in 2019.
The idea of organizing such an international event in Bangladesh came to him during his frequent visits to denim fairs in different countries.
“I realized that as the second largest exporter, we manufacture clothes and export to different countries. Why will we spend a lot of money to participate in such global events held in Germany, the United States, France and Italy? Why won’t people come to Bangladesh if we organize such exhibitions in our country?” he said.
But the initiative hit a stumbling block after the Rana Plaza tragedy in 2013. “After that, I had to mark my country and regain our lost image by informing them of the occupational safety provided by our factories” , said Mostafiz, also managing director of Denim. Limited Expert, continued.
“Unfortunately, people in our industry laughed at me when I shared my thoughts. They told me that no one would come to visit the Bangladesh exhibition instead of going to Germany, Italy and the United States. United,” he said.
“But I was determined to organize this exhibition to rebuild the image of the garment industry, tarnished by the Rana Plaza incident, and of the Bangladesh brand.”
“My vision was to take the apparel industry to a new height globally, which has already been possible with the support of brands, buyers, development partners and entrepreneurs in the industry,” he said. -he adds.
Speaking to Business Standard, BGMEA Chairman Faruque Hassan said that Bangladesh Denim Expo has shone a light on the country and its garment industry globally.
“It’s a great meeting place for buyers, suppliers, fabricators, accessories, machinery and technology suppliers, fashion designers and fashion journalists,” he said. note.
“Now everyone is waiting to visit the Bangladesh Denim Expo,” he added.
Ananta Apparels Managing Director Sharif Zahir said, “We need more initiatives that promote the industry in a positive way.
“Denim expo has become the premier showcase event for fabric mills from Bangladesh and abroad. For local mills, it has become a platform to show how our products have now matured to compete with international denim mills,” said Shams Mahmud, Managing Director at Shasha Denims Ltd.
“Additionally, for foreign companies, with the tremendous growth of the denim sub-sector in Bangladesh, it has become very important for them to show their products to garment manufacturers in Bangladesh,” he added.
“More than a display of products, the exhibition serves as a platform where people from home and abroad can mingle and share knowledge and ideas. It is also a testament to the coming of age of millers textiles from Bangladesh Besides this new technology in equipments, such as washing, are presented here, which gives entrepreneurs a better understanding of what the future of this industry will be,” said Shams Mahmud.
Mostafiz Uddin said that this exhibition also contributes to changing the mentality of financial institutions regarding the financing of the garment industry.
“When we started the journey, Bangladesh had a few denim factories, now we have 40 and at the same time the number of denim garment factories has almost doubled,” he noted.
The expo helps mark the country and develop businesses, he said, adding that in 2014, Bangladesh’s denim product exports to the US market amounted to $426 million, which reached $798 million by 2021. Exports to the European Union were $1.18 billion in 2021, which was $939 million in 2014.
“Bangladesh Denim Expo has been the catalyst for the growth of the denim industry in Bangladesh since 2014,” said Mostafiz.
Shafiur Rahman, Country Manager of G-Star RAW, said that Bangladesh Denim Expo not only contributes to the country’s textile and garment industry, but also to the Asian textile industry.
Denim expo has also helped raise awareness of sustainability and produce more sustainable products, he also said.
Branding Bangladesh to global clothing brands and retailers is another big achievement of the expo, he added.
Bangladesh has been the biggest denim exporter to the EU since 2017 and over the past two years the country has also established its dominance in the US market.
According to Eurostat, the statistics directorate of the European Commission, Bangladesh’s denim exports amounted to $1.18 billion in 2021, up from $1 billion in 2020.
In the US market, Bangladesh’s denim exports amounted to $798.42 million in 2021 from $561 million the previous year.
According to Otexa, Bangladesh holds a market share of 21.69% of total US imports of $3.68 billion. It also has a 26.82% market share in EU denim imports of $4.40 billion, Eurostat data shows.
After a two-year break, the 12th edition of Bangladesh Denim Expo will once again open its doors in the International Convention City, Bashundhara in Dhaka on May 10-11.
“Beyond Business” is the theme of the 12th edition of the show organized after a two-year break.
Some 79 exhibitors are expected to attend the event, made up of local and international participants.