Md. Shadman Shakil
A gripping storyline has arisen in the ever-changing world of fashion—an inspiring story of success and progress within the worldwide denim industry. Bangladesh is now in the spotlight, a country that has defied forecasts and written its ascension to a position of unrivaled dominance in the coveted denim markets.
Bangladesh’s rise from a modest beginning to a major position in the global denim industry has been beyond anything astounding. This South Asian country has not only emerged as a player throughout the years but has skillfully navigated its way to the forefront, exhibiting an exceptional increase in its denim sector. This success tale is woven from a tapestry of resilience, creativity, and strategic positioning. Bangladesh, once known primarily for its assistance to the textile sector, has now established a commanding role within the denim business, redefining its worldwide significance with an exceptional blend of insight and tenacity. This victory represents more than merely a statistical accomplishment; it represents a dramatic shift in the global opinion of a country’s potential. Bangladesh’s ascent in the denim market is a monument to the country’s unwavering devotion to quality, sustainability, as well the artistry imbued inside each indigo thread—a determination that has had a significant impact throughout the global fashion landscape.
The elements that contribute to Bangladesh’s supremacy in the denim market are several. The entire country has redefined industrial norms, setting an innovative benchmark for excellence by focusing on promoting innovation, investing in contemporary technology, and committing to sustainable practices. The collaborative dedication of skilled craftspeople, designers, producers, and industry pioneers who have worked to define Bangladesh’s denim narrative lies at the heart of this unprecedented surge. Their combined efforts have driven the country to the forefront of this delicate sector, where each stitch represents more than simply a product but also a tale of adaptability, passion, and skill. Bangladesh’s leadership in the global denim industry has been maintained, owing to an increase in demand caused by trade tensions between the United States and China.
Denim product makers in Europe, along with the United States, Bangladesh’s two biggest export destinations, have outperformed their Chinese rivals due to increased demand. According to data from the Export Promotion Bureau as well as the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh exported denim products worth $689.69 million to the European Union between January and June 2022, representing a 37.26 percent year-on-year increase. During the same period in 2021, it was $502.45 million.
Turkey was the second-biggest denim exporter to the EU, with $604.07 million in items supplied. China, the world’s top apparel exporter, sold denim goods worth $204.84 million to the EU, an increase of 10.15 percent. In a similar vein, Bangladesh is the leading denim exporter in the US, with $445.51 million in the initial half, up 57.06 percent from $283.65 million in the same period the previous year. Mexico was the second-biggest denim exporter in the United States, raking in $362.02 million during January and June. China ranked fifth over the same period, shipping denim products valued at $188.25 million, according to BGMEA data. Bangladesh has been the biggest denim exporter to the EU on a fiscal year basis since 2017, with one out of every three persons on the continent wearing denim pants made in the nation. In 2020, the country surpassed Mexico to become the biggest supplier of denim products to the United States while sprinting to the top spot in the European Union.
According to Shams Mahmud, general director of Shasha Denims, which is among Bangladesh’s leading denim manufacturers, denim demand correlates with economic downturns. For example, during the worldwide economic downturn in 2007 and 2008, the consumption of denim products surged significantly since the clothing items do not require a regular wash as well as are durable, according to Mahmud.
“International manufacturers as well buyers have embraced the ‘China plus one’ strategy for multiple reasons, including international politics and environmental concern,” said Major General (Retd) Rafiqul Islam, senior deputy managing director of Ha-Meem Denim Ltd. Bangladesh, reaped the full benefits. Yet, Bangladesh had the ability to do more if the country did not face an energy problem.” Even so, China-plus-one is an approach in which enterprises avoid investing just in China and instead diversify their operations to other countries. Due to low labour and production costs, as well as an expanding local consumer market, China was an appealing investment option. The world economy is currently in poor health as a result of COVID-19 along with the Russia-Ukraine crisis, and consumers are experiencing the squeeze of increasing inflation. “Consumers buy denim because of its durability,” stated the exporter.
But nowadays, in the year 2023, According to Apparel Resources, there is a significant decrease in Bangladesh’s total denim apparel export values to the US market, which fell from US $ 718.90 million from January to August 2022 to US $ 432.85 million in January to August 2023, representing a 39.80% decrease. This shows a difficult position for Bangladesh’s denim industry, which saw a considerable fall in revenue from this market within a year. A second point to consider is the drop in the amount of denim apparel units shipped from 92.31 million in January to August 2022 to 58.50 million in January to August 2023.
This means a 36.62 percent decrease, indicating that not only the worth but also the quantity of exports has decreased dramatically. The dramatic drop could be due to a variety of factors, including changing consumer preferences, more competition from different markets, or economic issues in the United States. While the industry suffered volume and revenue from export issues, the government managed to sustain relatively steady unit prices, which is encouraging for Bangladesh’s manufacturers. Despite the loss in the overall value of exports and units, unit prices showed a more modest dip, falling by only 5% during the same time. However, as compared to the UVRs registered in 2021, one of Bangladesh’s strongest clothing exporting years, unit costs increased by 16.19% in 2023, indicating that the country is moving further toward creating value-added denim items.
Bangladesh’s success in the internationally competitive denim market is a monument to the force of tenacity, creativity, and strategic foresight, not just economic advantages. It is an opportunity for the rest of the world to observe and admire a nation that has inscribed its name in the chronicles of the international fashion industry by setting a new standard of perfection and a narrative of encouragement for others to follow.