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8 December, 2017 00:00 00 AM
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Winter Wear for Export

By Bipul K Debnath
Winter Wear for Export

Abeda Jahan and her husband, Anis Ahmed, were browsing among the small shops at Bongo Bazar in the capital recently. “I am here to buy some blankets for my family. I always prefer this market during the winter season as we can find export quality warm clothes here at affordable price. Before, we used handmade stuffed cotton quilts. But with the changing times and trend, we prefer to use blankets now,” said Jahan, 37. “As we plan to visit Sylhet soon, we will also get some warm clothes, like jackets and sweatshirt hoodies.”  

“We would have to pay a lot of money if we were to buy warm clothes from any shopping mall. But here, we can buy them at reasonable prices,” Ahmed added, explaining the reason for coming all the way to Bongo Bazar in the congested Fulbaria area of Dhaka.

Vendors were found busy cutting blankets into size there. One of them, Sujon Mia, 23, said the owner of his shop had bought blankets in bulk from garments factories ahead of the winter season.

Milon Sheikh, 38, a local supplier, said: “We buy stock lots from RMG (readymade garments) factories. The products are mostly cancelled orders or consignments that were rejected for minor defects by the importers. We then sell the goods to local shopkeepers. Sometimes, we sort the items into different categories and decide the price accordingly.”

“We usually start collecting stocks from the middle of the year. As winter clothes are at the top our RMG exports, the textile industry meets foreign orders around the year. The orders reach peak during June and July. So, we start contacting the factory owners from then,” he added.

The readymade garments (RMG) industry is one of our main export sectors. More than 80 percent of the country's export earnings come from this industry. Among RMG products, A-grade fashionable warm clothes are major export items and they play a vital role in advancing the country’s economy.

Almost all types of fashionable winter wear are now made in Bangladesh. The most popular items of exported winter wear are pullovers, cardigans, jerseys, waistcoats, jackets, sweatshirts, etc. The factories usually produce extra items than what’s ordered, as they do not want to face any problems completing a shipment, industry insiders told this reporter. The surplus products, as well as rejects or orders cancelled for small defects or failure to supply on time, are sold for lower prices to wholesale markets and shopping centres in the country, like Bongo Bazaar and New Market in the capital.

Buyers in Europe, America, Asia and Australia import warm clothes and accessories under popular brand names from the RMG industry in Bangladesh. The country exported more than US$ 3.4 billion worth of winter garments in the last fiscal year (2016-17), according to BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association). In the previous fiscal (2015-16), US$3.2 billion worth of winter clothing was exported. Bangladesh exports winter clothes to 30 countries, the largest importing country being Germany (more than US$724 million), while the smallest importer is India (about US$ 7.6 million), the latest BGMEA data says.

Seckin Butun is the country manager of Design Arc Asia Limited. Butun, from Turkey, has been involved in the RMG export-import business since 2007. “I export only sweaters to the United Kingdom and some other European countries. I see huge potentials in the RMG sector in Bangladesh, and the products are quite good. I have chosen this country for sourcing as it offers the lowest production costs, but high productivity,” Butun said.

Mushtaq Alam, chief executive officer of Avanti International, a sweater manufacturer, said: “We have been exporting sweaters for 30 years to various countries of the world. Now, we are exporting winter clothes only to the UK. We export sweaters for ladies and gents in different styles. Basically, our customers buy cotton-yarn warm clothes and woollen sweaters from us. That is why we make sure our local textile factories produce the fabrics accordingly. During the summer, people in cold countries wear cotton sweaters and in winter, they need heavy woollen sweaters. There is no fixed time for getting orders. It depends on the demand of the importers. So, we are busy with exporting clothes round the year.”

“We get most of the raw materials for winter clothes in Bangladesh. Nowadays, our country is making different yarns and those are high in quality. But sometimes, we have to import from China and Taiwan. But that depends on the requirement of our customers. Sweaters made from sheep wool are popular, and they are also expensive. We have to import this type of yarn from Australia. Most of our export-oriented sweaters are made of acrylic and cotton yarns. We do not export directly. For example, we export our winter sweaters to the UK via Taiwan,” Alam added.

Tamanna Sweater Limited has been producing winter clothes for many years. About its products and exports, Syed Anwar Sadad, deputy managing director of the factory, said: “We export almost all types of winter clothes, including cardigans and pullovers for men, women and children. We export our products to countries in America and Europe, like the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, England, Italy, Spain and France. We export winter clothes all around the year. But we pass the busiest time from March to October as buyers throng us with large orders then.”

“Most of our buyers are foreigners. They contact us directly. Due to our long association, they prefer to do business with us mostly when they come to Bangladesh. Export of winter wear is significant for our RMG sector, so we always give importance to maintaining good quality of our products,” Sadad added.

M Zakir Hossain, owner of Excel Trade and Services, an export-oriented RMG buying house, said: “Basically, we export sweaters, denim jackets, jerseys and waistcoats to Colombia, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and Malaysia. The winter wear export season starts from July and ends in November. So, we have to remain busy during those months. We directly contact local factory owners and tell our requirements. Most of our factories make good quality products. So, we can easily fill up the orders of our foreign customers.”

Atikur Rahman is a merchandiser with ZEX Fashion Bangladesh, a buying house that exports winter clothes. Rahman, who has been working in the RMG sector for 10 years, said: “The process of winter wear export starts in July every year. Basically, we export cardigans and pullovers. We export these items to Poland, Germany and Russia. Customers in those counties are familiar with our products through some international brands. When we get the orders, we contact local factories and show them samples of the new designs, they then produce those accordingly.”

M Jibon Hossain, managing director of Asia Sourcing Trading Limited, a buying house, said: “We have been exporting warm clothes for 10 years to USA, Canada and England. We get the products from our own factories and outsources. We are lucky that all types of raw materials are available in our country now. Most of our yarns and fabrics are locally made. So, we need not import those from other countries. As we export winter clothes only, we have to remain busy the entire year. I see great potential in exporting winter wear for our RMG sector.” n

Photos: File.

(Edited by Parveen Ahmed.)

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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