Call it buyers’ demand, business expansion or natural course of progression, buying entities getting into production is slowly gaining momentum in Bangladesh.
Helmed by Stefan Pirker, Merchantex Co. (BD) Limited is a buying house which is engaged in manufacturing and sourcing of all sorts of readymade garments. It counts names like Donnay, Adler, Kaufland, Sidney Industries, HoffnerAldi, Edeka, Norma, etc., amongst its clientèle for all kinds of knit, woven, denim, sweater, sportswear and kidswear items.
However, what differentiates Stefan as a garment manufacturer is his choice of product that comes from his unit Basic Apparels Limited. Even when host of manufacturers are content churning out basic apparel items and in bulk to make up for the diminishing profit margins, Stefan chose workwear over regular products. But why workwear over products like sportswear or athleisure, which have a growing market globally? As per Stefan price factor and market demands are the two major reasons behind choosing workwear over others. The demand for workwear is so much so that Stefan is now contemplating doubling his unit’s production capacity.
“Actually I went to LIDL Hong Kong for denim orders but they instead prodded me for workwear and that is how it all started,” elucidates Stefan Pirker, MD of Basic Apparel Limited speaking to Apparel Resources.
Basic Apparels is one of the biggest manufacturers of workwear in Bangladesh and manufactures a range of workwear items including workwear dungarees, trousers, shorts, boiler suits, refinery suits, chemical industry suits, etc.
An analysis of the global workwear market throws some interesting facts and figures in light of which Stefan’s choice of product appears relevant as well as prospective.
As per a research, standing at US $ 24140 million in 2016, the workwear market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.54% to reach US $ 35120 million by 2021. As per the report, the global workwear market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and South America. Europe currently is the largest market followed by North America, particularly United States even though Asia Pacific is the fastest growing region with a CAGR rate of over 6.5% up to 2024.
Some of the known names in this market are Globe International Limited, Dickles Group, Aditya Birla Corporation, Aramark, DASSY Europe, Hultafors Group etc. Because of the stringent quality regulations in place, the market is highly organized and big players often collaborate to reduce costs, thereby, reducing prices on an economic scale.
It may be mentioned here that workwear refers to the garments worn by industrial workers or blue collared workers in an industrial workspace. Workwear is primarily designed keeping in mind that these workers tend to move quite a lot with a rough and tough lifestyle, and therefore, need to rely on safety and durability factors. The rising demand for better standards of protection for industrial workers has given an impetus to the market. Rising number of industrial jobs, off shore jobs and jobs relating to wear and tear has also boosted the market substantially.
Giving a further impetus to the workwear market is the specially made workwear for the women. This has come about recently with the advent of women into these tough jobs. Unisex garments are making way for more comfortable garments for women. Newer formats of these workwear are turning out to be flame resistant, water proof, oil resistant, thermal etc. Footwear is also an important component of workwear, which has grown relatively faster than the apparel market in the last few years.