Fifty-eight exhibitors from 12 countries, over 5,000 visitors, four unique seminars and workshops and a bigger ‘Trend Zone’ with a brand new ‘Information Exchange Zone’, the 6th edition of the Bangladesh Denim Expo once again proved why it is one of the most sought-after and much-awaited denim show in the country.
Themed ‘Denim Networks’, underlying the importance of global market in strengthening long-term relationships and mutual approach with focus on innovation and sustainability, the two-day denim extravaganza kicked off to a rousing start at the capital’s International Convention City Bashundhara on May 17, reinforcing the importance of forging business relationships and promoting best working practices.
Exhibitors from Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, San Marino, Spain and Turkey were present in full strength showcasing the latest developments in denim that drew in 5,545 visitors from 1,029 companies and 52 countries, surpassing even the organizer’s expectations, more so considering the security concerns following the string of unfortunate incidents that had rocked the country in the recent past.
Fabrics on the forefront
A regular participant in the Denim Expo, Shasha Denims Limited – one of the leading denim fabric producers in Bangladesh – was back again, and this time with products woven around the theme of sustainability, the company’s thrust area in terms of offerings in the last couple of years. “This time we introduced a new theme, ‘Blue is the new Green’, through which we want to share a message with all our buyers and the denim lovers in general. ‘Blue’ means Denim and ‘Green’ means Sustainability, thus ‘Blue is the new Green’. Whatever we’re producing currently and plan to do are/and would be sustainable,” proudly declared Mohammad Jamal Abdun Naser, Director, Shasha Denims Ltd.
Living up to the billing of the largest textile industry in Latin America which takes pride in innovation and novelty, Brazilian denim specialist that thrives on the concept of sustainability – Vicunha Textile showcased a wide range of products in the expo including the latest in innovation from their sable.
“We consider Bangladesh an extremely potential market and have come this time with our vintage authenticity, the authentic high ridges, our heavyweight denims, high-stretch items and luxury fabrics,” underlined Abdelkader Amouche, Regional Manager, Vicunha Textile, expressing satisfaction that the expo has been a decent business generator for them.
For NASSA Denim, another big name in fabric production in Bangladesh, the stage of Bangladesh Denim Expo was the apt setting it was looking for to display its latest innovation – antimicrobial fibres, fit for prolonged usage sans washing, thanks to the anti-bacterial properties! “This highly-specialized fabric has been used in hospitals and hotel industry earlier but never in denim jeans manufacturing and that too with dyeing…,” maintained Agha Nadeem Mirza, Head of Denim, NASSA Denim.
Despite increased production cost (almost 20 per cent compared to conventional fabrics), NASSA is more than happy with the buyer’s response and looking forward to market it in countries that have good demand for such products. “We may not sell this fabric to Bangladeshi manufacturers… We’re looking at Japan as the market there always seeks innovative and diversified offerings,” revealed Arafat Hossain, Executive, NASSA Denim, who like many others was all praise for the expo and vouched for its increasing popularity. “Earlier, we had to remind our overseas clients about this expo, but now the scenario has changed completely. They not only remember the dates (of the event) but also look forward to attending it,” said Arafat while advising the organizers to allow participation of only those who have a R&D team. After all, the platform of Bangladesh Denim Expo is about showcasing something new and unique, reasons Arafat.
China-based denim fabrics producer Guangzhou Foison Textile Co. Ltd. was also extremely delighted to be part of the event. The fourth time participant is a manufacturer of an array of denim fabrics such as overdyed, mercerized, mercerized stretch and even printed items. With its experience of more than 10 years in denim fabrics, Foison showcased a number of innovations. “For this edition of Bangladesh Denim Expo, we’ve a number of new developments in cotton, twill, rayon fabrics, etc. We’re here to showcase competitively-priced, superior-quality good-stretch fabrics to the customers,” stated Yoo, Country Manager of the company, who hailed the expo for the sheer significance that it carries for the denim fraternity. “With every edition they are breaking the record of visitors and exhibitors. It has become a very good platform to exhibit our products to the potential customers. It’s a big boost for our business… Dhaka also is a tremendous market for denim fabrics,” Yoo quipped.
Present in the event was also Nice Denim Mills Limited (NDML), a subsidiary of Noman Group, exhibiting its range of cotton stretch fabrics as well as blends in viscose, tencel, etc. “We have received very good response so far. The platform of Bangladesh Denim Expo is a very good opportunity to showcase our offerings,” underlined Nur-E-Yasmin Fatema, Deputy Managing Director of Noman Group, adding how NDML is all geared up to produce high-quality denim fabrics. One of the top-of-the-line denim mills in Bangladesh (considering the fact that it is integrated with weaving, spinning and processing/colouration), NSDL is equipped with state-of-the-art machines, including rope dyeing machines from Morrison and Greenvile (USA). “We have the capability to produce fabrics in line with what are being manufactured in Pakistan and China as we are using technologically advanced rope-dyeing machines,” added Fatema. NSDL produces around 2.5 million yards of fabrics per month to cater to names such as H&M, Marks & Spencer, Next, Aldi, Lidl, Levis, Lee, etc.
Fifty-eight exhibitors from 12 countries, including Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, San Marino, Spain and Turkey participated in the expo.
Altogether 5,545 visitors from 1,029 companies and 52 countries attended the event.
Technology – An important aspect of fashion denim
Not to be left behind, machine manufacturers, solution providers and accessories makers also came up with the latest developments. One such name in sustainable and efficient finishing technology was Jeanologia which introduced its laser solutions and ecosystems in this expo. The Spanish company which is operating in Bangladesh for the last 17 years and boasts of a rich clientele here, showcased novel solutions that are able to increase the production capacity of laundries, reduce the time-to-market and offer innovative, creative and ecological products. The ‘Zero Water Washing Plant’ of Jeanologia allows water savings of up to 95 per cent and 90 per cent chemical use in finishing processes of jeans. It further aims to transform Bangladesh’s denim production centres into eco laundries by integrating all technologies – laser, ozone and nano-bubbles.
Participating for the second time in this event, Jeanologia understands how denim expo has become a key platform for the Bangladesh denim industry over the years. “It has started to become well known internationally. In fact, we’ve many visitors from sourcing companies, and brands and retailers this time from around the globe. I think that it has got a real big impact and hope that it is going to be a good tool for the industry to improve the image of Bangladesh denim in the world,” said Jordi Juani, Director – Asia Division, Jeanologia.
One of Italy’s leading label producers (nominated supplier of some of the biggest European retailers), Panama Trimmings Ltd., was the sole Italian exhibitor in the Bangladesh Denim Expo. “The market here is growing a lot. It has great potentiality… I believe the demand will only increase by each passing day. But Bangladesh needs also to develop infrastructure to facilitate buyers, manufacturers and exporters as a whole,” observed Davide Menini, Area Sales Manager of the company.
Another torchbearer of sustainable production, ISA TrimTec, the leather trimming division of Germany-based global footwear brand ISA TanTec, presented the latest developments of leather patches and laces for apparels, shoes, bags and accessories in the exposition. Manufacturing from three different factories in China, Vietnam and USA, respectively, the label producing giant exhibited an array of labels for the Bangladesh market. “We’ve been focusing on credibility and sustainability as sustainability has become the buzzword for the industry. As Europe is our main market and being the nominated supplier of global retailer like TomTailor, we realize how important Bangladesh market is for us,” said Susan Fu, Sales Manager of ISA TrimTec. A first-time participant in the denim expo, Susan termed the exhibition a great opportunity for business generation. “This is our first time in this event. But we have already decided to participate here on a regular basis as we feel this expo can play a crucial role in helping us grow in Bangladesh,” Susan underlined.
From the visitors’ eyes
Considering the significance of Bangladesh Denim Expo as one of the prime business generating platform, most of the visitors were unanimous in their opinion that it has been a game changer for sure. One of the leading native denim manufacturers of Bangladesh and a regular visitor, Gazi Mahmudul Alam Director of Mahmud Group observed: “In Bangladesh we have two denim exhibitions, of which Bangladesh Denim Expo is better in my opinion…” The bi-annual nature of the event was not something which was up to Alam’s likings though, who suggested a sole edition of the exposition per year instead.
Notwithstanding its reputation and role in catapulting Bangladesh as the preferred denim hub globally, some visitors rued the so-called lack of directions in terms of products. “We look for open-ended products, stressed twill garments, open-ended denims with stretch. We tried open-ended products last time also but it wasn’t worth because of limitations. In this edition there are some exciting innovations, but I would like to see more in terms of trends and directions,” underlined Luke Langthorne, Design Manager, Next Sourcing Limited, London. A regular visitor as he claims, the design manager otherwise was happy with the denim expo, terming it “a great platform to exchange ideas, opportunities and generate business.” Speaking to Apparel Online Luke maintained, “It’s not all about price but also opportunities and trends… This one is a brilliant initiative at bringing all the stakeholders under one roof.”
Seminars add to the charm
Exhibitors apart, who were more than successful in drawing the attention of the visitors from across the globe, the vibrant expo also featured several special events among which were the ‘Tonello Denim Gallery’, ‘Sashiko Stitch’, the ‘Repair Display’ along with the special ‘Information Exchange’ and the absolute novelties of the ‘Virtual Reality Booths’, enabling one to take a virtual trip of a fabric mill, denim factory as well as laundry.
Amongst several seminars organized during the course of the two eventful days, ‘From ideas to technologies: Discovering a new age for garment finishing’ by Alice Tonello, R&D Manager at Tonello Garment Finishing and Piero Turk, a world renowned denim designer, is worth mentioning, which explored the new trends in finishing through cultural, economic, ecological and technical aspects.
The ‘Seminar on Total Quality Assurance: Holistic Approach for Business Excellence’ by Intertek Bangladesh was also a major attraction of the event, which highlighted the company’s assurance, testing, inspection and certification services to the textile and apparel industry of Bangladesh, presented by Dr. Karthik ND, Country Managing Director of Intertek Bangladesh.
“Bangladesh Denim Expo is an international platform showcasing the wealth of opportunities available in Bangladesh covering all aspects of the denim supply chain with exhibitors displaying fabrics, garments, threads, machineries, finishing equipment and accessories – a true top to toe representation of the denim industry,” observed the beaming CEO of Bangladesh Denim Expo, Mostafiz Uddin, commenting on the success of the 6th edition of the denim extravaganza. “And doing it with an international perspective, especially concerning the inevitable sustainable transition, we all must face, learn to promote and defuse sustainability as much as we can,” Mostafiz added.
The next edition of Bangladesh Denim Expo will be held on November 8th & 9th this year with its promise to overshadow the success and grandeur of the previous editions, keeping true to its tradition of setting new benchmarks in showcasing the latest innovations in denim.