Bangladeshi textile and garment manufacturers received positive response from international retailers at the Texworld exhibition currently taking place in the French capital, in what can be viewed as further encouragement for the country's apparel exporters.
Texworld is an international trade fair of the clothing and textile industry that takes place every six months in Le Bourget near Paris. It is one of the biggest exhibitions in the world where hundreds of buyers, manufacturers, suppliers and brands exhibit their products in Paris in France. The four-day mega event will end today.
"At least 35 new buyers came to me to place work orders in the first day of the fair," said Mohammad Abdullah Zaber, deputy managing director of Noman Group, the mother company of Zaber and Zubair, a leading local fabrics manufacturer and garment exporter.
Noman Group is the only apparel and fabrics manufacturing company in Bangladesh which crossed the one billion dollar mark in exports from the country four years ago.
"We have been getting more work orders for some reasons like we have new and diversified goods, new designs and our stall is located at the elite zone of the fair. Elite zone is allocated to select manufacturers," Zaber told The Daily Star at his stall in Texworld in Paris on Tuesday.
Another important reason for higher responses is the shorter lead time in the era of fast fashion. For example, the buyers want to use local fabrics so that the work orders can be catered very fast.
The Zaber and Zubair has its own fabrics so it does not need to import fabrics from China, India, Turkey or Pakistan to stitch as garment.
It takes four weeks to bring fabrics from China which also lengthens the lead time. If the factories can make garment items from local fabrics it takes a shorter lead time, he said.
Now the buyers are booking the work orders for next summer's sales which will start from the first of January next year, said Zaber.
The US-China trade war has also been playing a significant role for more work orders being grabbed from buyers by Bangladeshi garment exporters, said Zaber who is investing more than Tk 1,000 crore in his four new projects at Bhaluka to produce synthetic fabrics as per the demand from the buyers.
"Now many Bangladeshi garment factories import the synthetic fabrics mainly from China. If we can set up the new units, we can supply this item locally," he added.
He is also going to produce fabrics for sports garment items and outerwear. So the total workforce under the Noman Group will be 110,000 when the four new units go into operation by next two years. Currently the group has 80,000 workers.
Buyers are demanding sustainable goods made from recycled yarn and fabrics made through less water consumption, Zaber said.
"We need to bring in more companies from Bangladesh to Texworld so that the buyers can know more about us," said Md Shahidul Haque Mukul, managing director of Adams Styles Ltd sitting in his stall at Texworld in Paris. Some 29 garment and fabrics manufacturers have participated in the Texworld this time.
Bangladesh is quite a matured country in garment and fabrics as the country is very much capable of producing diversified products.
But people of the world are not aware of this diversification. For instance, denim is a very good success case story for Bangladesh in recent times, he said.
Among the diversified garment products, denim could show its strength. Now people know about the strength of Bangladeshi denim products, he said.
"We need ease in obtaining visas so that many representatives from many companies can participate in this unique exhibition," Mukul said.
Some participants could not come here due to visa problems although stalls were allocated for them, he said.
"I got 25 old and new buyers in the first two days of the fair. We are happy with the responses from the buyers," said Mohammad Robayed Suddique, deputy general manager (sales and marketing) of Argon Denims Limited and Evince Textiles Limited, two leading fabrics manufacturers.
"We have been receiving an increased number of work orders from our buyers over the last six months which indicates that Bangladesh is becoming a beneficiary of the US-China trade war," said Siddique.
"The European markets are major ones for us. Nearly the full production of my factory is shipped to the European markets. So, I am satisfied with the responses from the buyers," he said.