An increase in the global market share of Bangladeshi denim products is prompting fabrics millers to expand their businesses to meet the growing demand.
Denim fabric producers from home and abroad signalled their intentions when talking to the Dhaka Tribune at the Bangladesh Denim Expo at Bashundhara International Convention City in Dhaka.
According to Eurostat data, Bangladesh exported denim products worth $699 million (€603 million) to the EU in the first six months of this year, a rise of 5.7% on the $662 million (€571 million) exported in the corresponding period in 2016.
Between January and July of this year, the country earned $393 million from the US, a 6.6% increase on the same period last year, according to data released by Otexa.
“As the demand for denim fabrics sees an upward trend, we have taken various steps to increase our production capacity,” said Sayeed Ahmad Chowdhury, general manager (operations) of Square Denim.
Square Denim produces 1.5 million yards of fabrics a month, but this is expected to hit the three-million mark from next month.
“As China is gradually moving away from producing low-end products, we are receiving a huge number of orders for denim products. We have to effectively utilise this opportunity,” Sayeed stressed.
The production of denim products in Bangladesh was initially dependent on the importation of fabrics. However, 60% of the fabrics are now sourced locally.
According to Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), there are 32 denim mills with a total annual production capacity of about 443 million metres.
The sourcing of quality fabrics produced by local millers helps the denim manufacturers meet their lead times.
Sayeed said: “The quality of denim fabrics is defined by washing effects so these are an important factor in producing high-end products and determining their quality.
“Intensive washing can have various effects on products. So, attention should be given to quality denim products, most of which are being manufactured by Bangladeshi factories.”
The expo in Dhaka was attended by a large number of foreign fabric producers as well as technology providers, all hoping to attract denim makers and make Bangladesh a sourcing destination for their products.
“I believe that Bangladesh is a very important sourcing place for RMG products,” said Saandeep Baheti, head of business development at Bhaskar Denim, a fabric manufacturer based in India.
“It has the strength to grab more market share in the global denim business. We are here to expand our fabric market share (and) we brought forward a variety of fabrics so that we can attract more denim makers.”
Currently, the Indian company produces 40 million yards of denim fabrics a year. It supplies about six million yards (15 %) of the total production to 20 Bangladeshi companies.
Mostafiz Uddin, founder and chief executive officer Bangladesh Denim Expo, said: “Our targets are to improve the whole denim and apparel industry to bring excellence to the sector, share knowledge and increase collaboration that would help highlight the best practices and potential to manufacture more quality products.”
Sami Ben Cheik, a sales representative at a Turkish company called Sharbati Denim, said the expo had already brought unprecedented success.
“For the first time ever, we have arrived here [in Bangladesh] and we have some customers. I think more and more customers will be coming here as the Bangladeshi denim market is very competitive,” he said.