Our journey towards a new brand ‘Made in Bangladesh’14 November 2022
It has been over four decades Bangladesh-manufactured apparels made their way into the global market. Despite various odds, today the "Made in Bangladesh" tag is a name in the global fashion market. According to inside sources, apparels made in Bangladesh are the first choice of leading global brands, whose worldwide network makes those available in the shelves of dress shops in cities across the world.
To become a brand apparel manufacturing country, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) kicked off its first ever week-long mega event 'Made in Bangladesh Week 2022' in capital Dhaka with Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, inaugurating the exposition as the chief guest Sunday morning. A number of foreign delegates are participating in the event to see the transformation of the industry directly. The BGMEA, through this mega event, plans to set a target of bringing 100 per cent of industries under Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals Certification and Testing Programmes by 2030. The association has set an ambitious target of reaching annual exports worth $100 billion also by 2030.
We like to mention here that the newcomers coming out of our educational institutions are mostly lacking adequate skills, competence and expertise necessitated to operate important functionaries at the top and mid-levels in various apparel industries. Since wide-ranging skills are the yardstick and lifeblood in industrial success, the absence of which in many ways frustrates our national economy to march ahead. Experts believe the existing dearth of skilled manpower having required efficiency actually forces the apparel manufacturers to hire foreign professionals from neighbouring countries and mostly from India for employing them in different mid and top positions at the cost of huge amounts of foreign exchange. So, the authorities have to think over the matter seriously.
Currently, our apparel now fetches the country more than $42 billion in annual export to more than 150 countries for more than 1000 retailers. Garments are vital to the Bangladesh economy, accounting for 82 per cent of manufactured exports and over 4.2 million employment. Bangladesh has grown into an apparel powerhouse second only to China, with factories producing clothing for world famous bands like Tommy Hilfiger, Gap, Calvin Klein, H&M, Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren and Hugo Boss.
The country's apparel journey was not a smooth ride, rather local and global shocks challenged the rise all the way. Issues like the recent Covid-19 and the ongoing Russia- Ukraine war on the external front and deadly factory accidents -- all put roadblocks on the way since '90s. However, the industry, with its resilience and coping strategies, braved all the odds and kept growing on the back of trust and support of global brands, retailers and fashion-lovers across the globe.
Our industry is changing and at a faster rate. We have to embrace the new technologies to use them to our advantage, as a way to add value to the 'Made in Bangladesh' brand an extra dimension in the global market.