Small Business Owners’ Association and Entrepreneurs spread the awareness of supporting local crafts
Small Business Owners’ Association and Entrepreneurs have come forward to create awareness amongst the consumer market to support their cause “Go deshi, buy deshi”. With the bold statement, along with the social awareness about foreign brands taking over in the open market, a press conference named “To Save Our Fashion Industry” was arranged on June 22 in Dhaka.
In the past five years in Dhaka, local market has seen the steady rise of the small and retail businesses with some significant female and male entrepreneurs making a big impact on the fashion industry. This has also given a rise to the economy and created thousands of job opportunities for the seamstresses, tailors, karigars and nationwide delivery services. This gives a wider opportunity for the young minds to start a venture from the grass root level by working with their individual creativity and the skills of the local craftsmen together.
In the time of progression, one of the many reasons for the freelance entrepreneurs to come forward is to simply create awareness. The idea is to enhance the work of the local craftsmen and help grow the small businesses to expand at a larger scale, while also acknowledging the mass of the value these works hold. Although there remains support and the resource for making well finished clothing design, a lot of attention has been shielded when any foreign brands entered the national market. Commenting on this point, the fashion entrepreneur, Sabah Khan of ‘Print Me Yellow by Sabah Khan’ mentioned “Initially when I started the venture, I only had one motive - to make clothes with all the available resources present in our country. Gradually I thought of investing money on two crafts women and enhancing their skills. After two years of working with them and making several designs, I can tell you this that none of them are any less than the craftsmen in the neighboring countries. All you need to do is support them and give them time and effort”.
Consumers are not even aware of the sources available in Bangladesh and most of them are more comfortable to buy a normal three piece kamiz from Indian than to buy any designer legenha from Bangladeshi artists. Sabah Khan also points this out by conveying her own story “This has happened most times, when my customers are excited to buy my dress, I tell them the quality of the dress and the works are both local. In just a few seconds I notice the glimpse of negligence on their faces to buy the dress”. Sabah Khan like any other local entrepreneurs are concerned about the limited knowledge the consumers perceive about Bangladeshi products and craftsmanship.
The government has promised to raise the bar for the small business from homegrown factories to big industries with various opportunities and assistance. Even with the SME loans provided by government to avail more job opportunities for women, many positive uses can be developed out of such recourses. However, the government still needs to address the fact that with the invasion of the foreign designers in the market, customers would be aloof of the creative local designs. Thus, the yearly exhibition at the Bangladesh International Trade Fair would be the right time to showcase the foreign designs and brands. The conference also suggests having a fashion hut, consisting of the several rising Bangladeshi designers. This will increase the recognition of their work to the mass.
Present at the press conference was prominent social figure and owner of Heritage Craft, Tutli Rahman to lend her support to the cause. Convener, designer and owner of their respective fashion brands as prominent as Koral Klauset and panache-Rupo Shams and Sabera Anwar respectively both came forward with their valuable ideas to support young entrepreneurs and designers alike in this trying time.
Prominent designers present at the venue: Saba Khan, Nuzhat Nawar, Mehroz Munir, Farzana Yusuf, Rak Nizhu, Ambarin Hossain, Nafisa Mustafa, Fariya Tazin, Sasha Chowdhury, Smiha Nabi, Narira Rabbi, Rubaba Zaman, Mahbuba Chowdhury, Anzara Sheikh, Samreen Ahmed, Tasnuva Rashid, Tahmina Tasneem, Eminent Rubana Huque and many more were present at the conference to voice their concern about foreign businesses entering the market during this prosperous time.
On the ending note, it is mentionable that the current pressing need is to ensure these designers are safe from the invasion of foreign brands and help them with legal incentive to grow their business. Eventually, with its growth and recognition it will curtail our dependency on foreign clothing attire. As they grow they will be able to provide cheaper prices to the mass market and simultaneously create thousands of job opportunities for Bangladeshi youth.