Bangladesh: Value-added denim much in demand
DHAKA (The Daily Star/ANN) - Bangladesh has turned denim into a value-added product prompting globally renowned clothing retailers and brands to place bulk work orders for their upscale customers, industry people said.
Previously, the country used to produce denim trousers for $5.50 and $7.0 a piece, but now the price range has gone up to $10 to $11, said Mostafiz Uddin, managing director of Denim Expert Ltd, a Chittagong-based denim exporter.
“Global leading denim business units are flocking to Bangladesh to source the best value-added items,” he said.
Uddin said his company can sell the item at $14 and $18 a piece but the volume currently being churned out by Denim Expert Ltd in the price range is lower.
According to manufacturers, new technologies used in washing and polishing as well as the increasing use of finer fabrics and design are allowing Bangladesh to add more value to denim items. Uddin said the high-end denim goods fetching $10 to $11 a piece for the country are of the same quality of those produced in factories in Turkey selling at $14 and $16 a piece.
Ishtiaq Alam, director of Ananta Group, another leading high-end denim exporter, said the export of value-added denim jeans is increasing from Bangladesh.
The group sells 3.2 million pieces of denim trousers a month. Only 5 percent of the items fetch $15 to $25 per piece while the majority of denim trousers are sold between $10 and $14.
Ananta Group exports denim items mainly to the European Union, the US, Japan, China, India and South Korea.
Bangladesh exports denim goods worth more than $3 billion a year and has already overtaken China to become the top denim supplier to the EU.
However, Bangladesh's denim exports to the US have slowed down recently because retailers and brands in the world's largest economy have started sourcing denim items from countries such as Mexico.
Globally, the use of denim products is on the rise because of the change in fashion, especially in the western world. Denim trousers and shirts are worn at both formal and casual events.
In 2014, the size of the global denim market stood at $56.20 billion and it is projected to reach $64.10 billion by 2020. Bangladesh's share is forecasted to be $7 billion by 2021.
In order to showcase the country's growing strength in the denim segment, Bangladesh Denim Expo, a non-profit organisation that arranges fair on denim products twice a year, is going to organise the eighth edition of the exposition at the International Convention City, Bashundhara in Dhaka on May 9 and 10.
Seventeen local companies and 44 others from countries such as China, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the US will take part.
Top officials of globally renowned retailers and brands like H&M, C&A, JC Penney, Best Seller, Tesco and Zara will also attend.
“Previously, Amsterdam, Paris and New York were the global focus for the denim business. But I can proudly say that this is the best exhibition of denim in Asia,” said Uddin.
The production capacity of the 31 denim mills in Bangladesh is more than 40 million yards a month against a demand for nearly 70 million yards. The rest of the demand is met through imports from countries like China, India, Pakistan, and Turkey.