If you have been following our stories closely, you would be well aware that the Bangladesh market is buzzing with homegrown labels and brands that are honouring a brand new era of fashion within the country.
Daring, experimental and unconfined– these labels are the voice of Bangladesh’s youth, giving a deep insight into the rapidly evolving dynamics and demographics of the country, in tune with global tastes.
A notable entrepreneur in this regard is Nafiz Imtiaz Chowdhury, who has, in a short span of time, been able to establish a successful business in the fashion and apparel sector with his label Guzel(which we have covered in detail in 2020).
Based in Dhaka, Guzel offers garments that are a fusion between ethnicwear and modern style. The brand has gained so much popularity amongst the Bangladeshis that it is not uncommon to see winding queues gather outside the stores upon each collection drop or sale event – so much so that it actually results in jammed roads and heightened anticipation!
The sell-out success of his brand led Nafiz to expand into yet another segment with FOMO.
Providing close attention to detail and premium customer service forms the crux of FOMO, a brand that focuses on clothing and footwear with a more westernised appeal, as compared to its sister brand Guzel.
Raised by a single mother, Nafiz grew up in a family that has been in the garments business for years. Hence, it comes as no surprise that he himself also wanted to embark into the world of fashion and retail and make his mark.
“Growing up, watching my family in the garments industry for decades working for brands such as Zara, H&M, Wrangler, etc., made me question myself regarding why our country does not have a brand that made it that big,” Nafiz Imtiaz Chowdhury told Apparel Resources (AR) in an exclusive interview.
“I’ve always dreamt of having a brand that reaches every corner of the world. Around July 2020, I met my partners who had been dreaming the same. The plan may seem a distant dream coming from a small country like Bangladesh but it is the same country that is the backbone of most of the brands that have already made it.”
Owing to his family’s involvement in the garments business, Nafiz grew up observing how things work in the field and learnt the basics of the industry from a young age.
After graduation, Nafiz approached his mother seeking investment to start his own business – a step that left his mother shocked and astounded given that an 18-year-old boy wanted investment for a start-up whilst his friends were applying for higher education abroad.
Online training classes under Marc Jacobs and Diane Von Furstenberg coupled with his on-the-job learning primed Nafiz to start his own label – and the rest is history!
With FOMO, Nafiz aims to bridge the gap between luxury fashion and affordable fashion by ensuring that his products remain affordable and available to the mass market in every corner of Bangladesh – in keeping with the highest level of quality standards.
“After being frustrated by missing out on higher quality western fashion clothing which are being made right here in Bangladesh, we decided to take matters into our own hands and launch a homegrown brand that caters to that specific need,” Nafiz stated.
FOMO aims to bridge the gap between luxury fashion and affordable fashion by ensuring that its products remain affordable and available to the mass market in every corner of Bangladesh.
Priced between Taka 699 and Taka 3,999, FOMO offers clothing ranging from T-shirts, shirts, pants to sweaters and jackets alongside footwear that is priced between Taka 4,500 and Taka 5,000.
Commenting on the USP of the brand, Nafiz said, “FOMO focuses on bringing minimalistic aesthetics and comfort to customers with fine attention to stitchwork, patterns and experimentation with various fabrics.”
Founded on 1st December 2020, FOMO kick-started with a team of four partners which today has expanded to 20 members spread across manufacturing, operations and other services. The brand’s main manufacturing unit is located in Gazipur.
“As of now, we operate under a factory set-up with limited capacity under a very focused team in order to make sure each product is produced with utmost care,” Nafiz explained.
FOMO offers from an international size of 40 to 44 under its footwear category, and from Small to Large in case of clothing.
A few of the main materials that the brand works with are cotton, viscose, wool and suede.
“Some of our fabrics are created in-house which is the secret to FOMO’s comfortablewear while the others are outsourced from local markets,” Nafiz revealed.
The company’s IT system sends a notification to their factory informing them to start production in order to replenish the diminishing stock in time.
“Most of our raw materials and accessories are sourced from local markets in Bangladesh as we believe that while Bangladesh exports a plethora of products internationally, the local markets remain deprived of the fashion scene that is so easily available to them. These fabrics are sourced from hubs such as Mirpur, Islampur and Gazipur.”
The brand releases three drop-based collections a year. Interestingly, when a specific design has 20 pieces left, the company’s IT system sends a notification to their factory informing them to start production in order to replenish the diminishing stock in time.
“All our products are stored in our warehouse based in Dhaka. We also have dispatching centres in United Kingdom (London), Australia (Canberra), Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) and we operate via our website: www.project-fomo.com,”Nafiz said.
In terms of trends making it big, Nafiz revealed that “oversized clothing has already taken the world by storm. For me, I would say, that I’m a big fan of the monochromatic matrix. If we’re talking about specific pieces, then it would be mesh tops and wide leg pants.”
FOMO makes sure that no fabric goes to waste. The brand has also embraced and promoted organic cotton within its collections, since its inception. Furthermore, the brand ensures that no matter which manufacturer they work with, there is no child labour being employed in their factories.
FOMO too has been directing its efforts heavily towards proper inventory management for lower lead time, integrated payment and shipping for faster user experience, and retargeting ads to customers for multiple exposures leading to higher conversions.
The world is moving at a fast pace especially in the post-Covid era wherein almost all businesses are utilising technology to enhance customer experience both in-store and online and accelerate sales.
FOMO too has been investing in and directing its efforts heavily towards proper inventory management for lower lead time, integrated payment and shipping for faster user experience, and retargeting ads to customers for multiple exposures leading to higher conversions.
Going forward, FOMO plans to reach at least 15 countries by the end of 2023, by deploying its proven formula of introducing new product drops every 20 days.
With the target consumers on their side and toes dipped in the future of the industry–aka Tech and AI– this is just the beginning of what the teams at FOMO and Guzel can even dream to achieve!