“It is the collective experience, knowledge and wisdom of the founding generation along with the innovation and fresh perspective of the young generation that can take Bangladesh’s Textile Sector to the next stage” — Barrister Fahmida Islam, Director, Fabian Group

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In 1983, the newly founded RMG sector had to rely heavily on imports for its resources as the ancillary industries related to RMG industry were yet to be found in the country. To assist the growth of the RMG business in the country, Md. Tajul Islam- an extraordinarily dynamic and visionary leader and one of the most prominent political figures of today, current Minister for Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development & Co-operatives, pioneered the first zipper manufacturing plant of Bangladesh- Fabian Industries Ltd (FBN). Over the decades, FBN remained extensively integrated and a faithful partner to the booming RMG sector.

Barrister Fahmida Islam, Director, Fabian Group

Today FBN has expanded into garments manufacturing and all kinds garments accessories standing as the most influential local RMG accessories brand in the country. FBN is known to the apparel fraternity in Bangladesh for its impeccable quality, innovation in production process and its long-standing partnership with the RMG sector.

Recently, Team Denim Focus talked with Barrister Fahmida Islam, Director, Fabian Group regarding the current situation and FBN’s business activities. Key discussion points are mentioned below-

Denim Focus: what is the inspiration behind you joining the Accessories business?

Fahmida Islam: Education wise, I am from the legal background. I completed my LLB from the University of Manchester and then completed my Bar-at-Law from the University of Law, Birmingham in 2013. However, practically speaking, I feel I’ve been a part of the FBN team longer than I can remember. Both my parents were involved in the company from its inception and my brothers joined from very early age. I remember while growing up they would discuss business issues at our dinner table every night and my sister and I would listen in and contribute our thoughts. Hence, I was always aware of how the company was operating, the challenges it faced and its successes. Therefore, 2017 it felt right to dedicate all my time to the company.

To the daughters, fathers are their superhero. My case is no different, my father has always been my inspiration. He is very disciplined and a tremendous hard-worker with a passion for anything he puts his hands on. It has been a life lesson watching him build these companies from nothing. Hence, it is an absolute pride and honour for my siblings and I to be taking his legacy forward.

Denim Focus: Young generation is joining in business, nowadays. As a women entrepreneur, how do you evaluate this?

Fahmida Islam: Every generation has values to add to the industry – the older generation has created the foundation on which the current industry is standing on. I believe its the collective experience, knowledge and wisdom of the founding generation along with the innovation and fresh perspective of the young generation that can take Bangladesh’s Textile Sector to the next stage.

As for woman entrepreneur, I see more of us now than ever before. I welcome them all and I encourage others like me to join their prospective industry. We, the young generation, are the future of the nation and the only way we will get to shape it is if we stay involved.

Denim Focus: Could you please share us recent scenario of Fabian Group? 

Fahmida Islam: Covid has made everything uncertain from raw material sourcing to on-time delivery. Just like every other country, Bangladesh has also struggled with on-and-off lockdowns. Thanks to our policymakers and their apt decisions, we are relatively doing much better than many other nations when it comes to managing the disease itself to the overall economy.

Covid has made everyone price sensitive and environment conscious- our customers and the end-customers alike. Hence the biggest challenge the industry is faced so far is the increased costing of raw-materials, paired with reduced pricing from buyers. Most of FBN products are made in-house and this has enabled us to rely less on imports during the pandemic and meet our buyers’ expectations.

Denim Focus: What is your future plan & how do you want to contribute more in backward linkage sector?

Fahmida Islam: FBN was established in 1989. Today FBN stands uniquely in manufacturing all components of some of its products in-house. This enables us to cater to the ever-changing needs of the fashion designers. However, with seasonal trends we see new designs emerge and hence continue to invest in new machineries and technologies to keep up. We plan to to expand these backward links we have established.

Although “sustainability” and “environment friendly” are the new buzzwords, we have been conscious of our environment even before the buyers began to recognize and press for them. For instance, we have been harvesting rain-water and using it back in our production for more than a decade. However, the rise of sustainable-conscious customers has encouraged us to launch our own range of sustainable range. FBN currently houses a collection of “For Better Nature” accessories that are created with recycled material and produced in an environment- friendly manner. Our future plan is to contribute our part to making every garment made in Bangladesh sustainable with FBN accessories.

Denim Focus: Any message for Bangladesh Textile Industry?

Fahmida Islam: Bangladesh has come a long way from being a “bottomless basket”. There is tremendous positive energy in the country pushing it in the right direction. The young generation has played a crucial part in it. I urge everyone to stay involved and speed up this momentum that we have collectively built.

The world is moving forward every moment. Bangladesh is also moving forward but, there is a huge difference in the speed. Where in other counties, works are done in a system-centric way, in Bangladesh works are people-centric. We have to speed up our developments, innovations faster, or else our textile sector will fall behind.

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