POST TIME: 20 May, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 20 May, 2018 12:50:11 AM
Bangladeshi denim embraces green route

Bangladeshi denim embraces green route

Made in Bangladesh jeans had never been more hip. Denim garment manufacturers in the country are steadily rooting out practises that harm the environment, taking the help of modern technology.

Every single piece of denim garment needs water when it's made. "Five years back, we were using 60 litres of water to make a single piece of denim garment," says Mostafiz Uddin, founder and CEO of Bangladesh Denim Expo, and managing director of Bangladesh Denim Expert Ltd. With the installation of modern equipment, the need has now dropped to 14-25 litres apiece.

One could find many such examples scattered across the eighth Bangladesh Denim Expo, which concluded recently at International Convention City Bashundhara (ICCB) in Dhaka.

Jeanologia, a Spanish company, was one of the participants at the expo. When asked about the latest technology offered by the company, Fabien Liautard, Jeanologia's project manager, said the company was showcasing its most advanced laser and eco-technologies for fabric and garment finishing—addressing the most pressing needs of the hour.

‘Jeanologia’, which develops sustainable technologies for garment finishing, presented its new ‘Laser and Eco Dynamic’ technology at the expo. Liautard claimed the process was absolutely eco-friendly.

The ‘Laser and Eco Dynamic’ technology has three different parts—laser, eco, and e-flow.

The key part here is the e-flow technology used to wash denim garments before setting them as final. Liautard said that conventional technology needs a lot of water to wash denim fabric. However, a clever use of air in e-flow technology has drastically cut the need for water.

“The e-flow technology sucks air into the system and transforms it into nano bubbles. These bubbles consume very little water and also uses some functional elements not harmful for the environment.”

Marketing officer of Jeanologia, Kazi Nahidul Alam, said, "Conventional methods use 1,800 litres of water to wash 100kg denim garments, while e-flow technology washes the same amount with only 30 litres!"

Moreover, Alam said, the e-flow technology ensures that only the required amount of chemicals are used in making a denim garment. Therefore, there is no chance of using excess chemicals which are ultimately harmful for the environment.

Jeanologia has supplied its technology to about 150 factories out of the 2,000 that manufacture denim in the country, Alam added.

Talking to The Independent about sustainable products, Nasrin Lucky, the merchandising manager of Pacific Jeans, a leading premium jeans manufacturers in the country, said, “To become more energy efficient, we have heavily invested on high-tech machines, highly reflective flooring, and energy efficient light sources."

“We are also generating energy from waste heat which has substantially reduced our energy consumption.

“To validate our corporate environmental commitment, we are recycling toxic water every day,” she said.

Creativity, sustainability, innovation and technology were the key to the new digital era, she added.

When asked about their production capacity, merchandising manager of Pacific Jeans, Sameer Khan, said that, at present, Pacific Jeans Limited was one of the leading premium jeans manufacturers, employing 22,000 people, producing over 30 million jeans every year and exporting to over 25 countries.

Founded in 1953, Orta has been a denim manufacturer since 1985. They took part in this year’s denim expo to showcase their products.

Talking to The Independent, senior accounts manager of Orta, Nezahat Boni, said Orta produces over 60 million metres of denim in its Turkey and Bahrain factories.

Explaining the sustainability, Nezahat Boni said: “Creating a sustainable business involves more than defining a vision, building a consumer forecast, and bringing a green product or service to the market. Business sustainability is a commitment to the social, environmental, and economic impacts of your business.”

Citing an example, she said, in 2009, Orta used 3 per cent of organic cotton in its production without an extra cost. Currently, Orta uses 5 per cent better cotton in all its production.

Landes Global, that produces high quality denim accessories, participated at the denim expo. Mizanur Rahman, country manager of Landes Bangladesh, told The Independent that the company, which was established in Germany in 1949, has grown to be a global leader specialising in two key market sectors: permanent branding of patches and trims for the textile and denim industry, and belts and small leather goods for the retail and textile industry.

Landes has a target to annually produce 500 million pieces of leather patches—an accessory used in making denim trousers, Rahman informed.

Talking about international brands, he said: “Major international denim brands such as Levi's, Mustang, Wrangler, Lee, Mac, Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein turn to Landes for quality workmanship and a variety of authentic leather, synthetic, paper and planet-friendly options.”

When asked why Bangladesh’s denim clothing was popular across the world, Mostafiz Uddin said, “Bangladesh’s denim clothing is popular in the world because it offers the best quality at an affordable price. Bangladesh was already a significant producer of denim, manufacturing approximately 200 million pieces a year.”

While the total investment in Bangladesh’s denim sector surpassed USD 900 million since 2015, many major international brands such as H&M, Uniqlo, Levi’s, Nike, Tesco, Wrangler, Hugo Boss, Puma, Primark, and JC Penney were now manufacturing or importing denim products from Bangladesh, Mostafiz added.

According to the Eurostat data, 70 per cent of Americans used regular denim products and UK was one of the largest markets in Europe, where an average person used 17 denim products, Mostafiz informed.

Mohiuddin Rubel, the director of Denim Expert Ltd, told The Independent that the expo had helped create a platform for denim stakeholders, buyers, sellers, and accessory makers.

Asked whether Bangladesh was capable of producing high-value product, he said, “In Bangladesh, the denim garment manufacturing business is growing fast as investors are setting up facilities with sophisticated technologies to produce high-end products."

“Currently, we are producing high range products which cost between USD10 and USD14. Our production capacity is presently 3.5 lakh pieces of jeans per month. We expect to produce 4 lakh pieces from next year. There is a huge demand from local fabric producers and foreigners as well.”

Currently, Bangladesh is the largest supplier of denim in Europe, holding a 27 per cent market share and surpassing China, said Rubel.