“The demand for garments never changes, but the market can grow to a different dimension during the pandemic.”- Alan Kabir

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Alan Kabir is an ambitious Textile Engineering professional who wants to utilize the creativity and innovation skills in various differentiation for the organization. He completed his Bachelors in Textile Engineering from Bangladesh followed by Post Graduation in Industrial Management and Innovation from Halmstad University, Sweden and presently working in ELEIKO as Buyer – Apparel & Gear. Mr Alan also dreams FOR A BETTER GENERATION and keep focusing on how to make difference in the betterment of Bangladeshi Citizen. He started his company ‘Nordic Turns AB’ providing information on the application for higher study in youtube channel and take attention more than 40K subscribers in all over the world.

Fig: Alan Kabir, Buyer – Apparel & Gear, ELEIKO AB, Sweden; & Founder of Nordic Turns AB

Recently, Denim Focus Coordinator Pranta Biswas Covered a short feedback interview of this highly potential Bangladesh-born Textile professional where he talked about clothing business in the world during the ongoing pandemic situation and gave suggestions for future Bangladeshi Textile Professionals. For our Readers, the conversation is drafted below-

Q. How do you see the Clothing Business worldwide?

Alan: I am glad to be answering the business question, and I am an analytical person who always tries to say something with reference. So, according to Statista, the clothing industry emerges, and the revenue growth rate could be probably 50 ~ 54% in the next four years. Although China took first place exporting clothing to the world and EU is the second in 2019, Bangladesh was not very far away from the growth. I must mention here the difference of exporting value between China and the EU was 16B USD, whereas export value from Bangladesh was only 34B USD almost. The market for active and intimate wear is getting submerged with sports business, and the US is the leading on that progress. If you ask my reasonable opinion, I see a very different approach in the clothing industry. The world economy graph has been changed during the pandemic so has the commercial demand for the products. People look for other functionalities in the clothing industry, which is a new demand creation in need of wants and values. Consumers are now very conscious about materials and how to decompose them after use. The new generation is more focused on auto-mobility, and if they want something first and foremost, they search in Zalando, Amazon, etc. The communication device has been changed, and the clothing business follows transparency here to move further on-trend and environment. In a nutshell, I notice the movement on more with enterprise, great system to navigate and material demonstration in the upcoming clothing business otherwise the existing can be an easy question in the fast-growing clothing business arena.

Q. What was your experience during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020?

Alan: I have answered this question several times in different areas in Sweden. I have been invited as a guest lecturer in a Swedish college, and young students asked how I feel about the impact of the pandemic in the clothing industry. I will answer here the same as I answer there. The demand for garments never changes, but the market can grow to a different dimension during the pandemic. E-commerce can be the best forecast to drive this business during a crisis. People cannot visit the physical shop, but they can buy online, so the value demonstration should be changed, and presentation in a different way to the modern consumers should be something to think about. Many shops close down, but new shops open with new ideas. Some came with very innovative materials and sustainably prepared their models to stabilize the market with something. There are many tricks I learn in this situation, and one of them is the business model. The big companies cannot change their business model, but they can redesign it. Last but not least, I usually used to travel to at least 8-10 exhibitions in different areas in the EU to collect materials and see the trend of the clothing industry, which we could not do during the pandemic. Therefore, I think that we are a little outdated in the physical fashion revolution.

Q. In which strategy your company is moving forward during the pandemic situation?

Alan: We have aligned with our existing business model, but we innovatively extend our targeted groups. For example, regarding clothing, we started to sell them online from the beginning, and we have a bigger e-commerce platform for that. Still, lifting equipment, we have changed the supply chain layout and accommodated end consumers since the business-to-business relationship was quite complicated during the pandemic. The gyms were closed, and lifting competition has been stopped during the time, especially Olympic games, so we focus more on direct to consumer, home gyms, which builds our business more successful during the crisis time.

Q. How can young RMG professionals develop them technically?

Alan: It is a very wide-range question. RMG professionals can be textile engineers, designers, merchandisers, supply chain leaders, material & technical managers, Logistics, and many more. If I need to be specific in young textile graduates, I would love to suggest being innovative. Have patience and be crazy to like what you are doing, learn those things, apply, and innovate new ideas. If you go for a shortcut, you may succeed, but you can be in the preschool again in the long run. Innovation engineering can be one of the ways to develop you more on technical expertise. Market analysis can be another theme to establish themselves on the right track. You choose where you want to be at the beginning, and better planning can show you the way. Let me admit, ten years ago; one interviewer asked me why I choose to be a merchandiser and where I want to see myself in 10 years. I was not surprised since I knew what I want to be. The so-called answer to be a visual merchandiser or a buyer in a brand could not make the interviewer happy. He had been laughing & advising me to study more carefully how to face an interview. After ten years, I can share the story; I am in precisely the same position I dream about, so dare to dream and follow your ideas.

Q. Any particular message you want to convey to our “Denim Focus” readers and Bangladesh RMG industry?

Alan: I get updated when I read trend magazines like Vogue Paris, InStyle, Fashion, Marie Claire, etc. The magazine covers various news about business and the future. Denim Focus is one of them which already created a vibe on this segment. While I review, I mostly read the article about recent news and what is happening. The denim industry is one of the futures markets where the business does not have many alternatives to switch. It has a broader future to innovate new ideas and get exciting responses on the materials to demand creation and motivate the future trend. The purpose and technical forecast area can be more specific on denim, and career inspiration can be more highlighted. I am sure the youth will seek the answer ‘why young professionals should develop their career in denim and what should be long term focus planning are the encouraging area of interest for future engineers’. I never forget to thank the whole team working behind all the amazing news in the magazine and wish you to enrich this opportunity further.

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