Fastest growing Asian economy, Bangladesh explores equitable sustainable fashion market

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Considering the major concerning issue of climate change, Bangladesh invests on ecofriendly, ethical and sustainable fashion designs – foreign investments further the way

Fashion industry at present is a multimillion dollar enterprise, influencing everyone’s lifestyle around the world in one way or the other. It is often considered as one of the most successful businesses, but at what and who’s cost? There exists a huge global pressure on the fashion industry due to enormous demand in the market thereby leading to its fast production.

It has been observed that most of the textile sectors use harmful dyes, pesticides and waste huge quantity of water. It is because of these factors that the fashion industry is considered as one of the dirtiest industries in the world. As per an estimate by a documentary, we have been consuming more apparel than we require, as there has been a 400% increase in the last two decades.

Thus, the world has been looking forward to explore new sustainable means to make the fashion industry more eco- friendly and ethical, with no compromises on comfort, style and appeal. The most recent efforts were observed at a local fashion design exhibition titled ‘Local International’ held at Bangladesh.

‘Local International’ is the product of combined dedicated efforts of an alliance and cultural exchange program between Bangladesh and Germany, initiated by the Goethe-Institut Bangladesh, Weissensee School of Art and Design Berlin. The objective was formulated with the number of workshops, and visits to sustainable fashion company such as Bextex, a part of one of the largest conglomerates in Bangladesh, Beximco Group, and various conclaves, meetings with different private fashion industries in both Germany and Bangladesh.

The purpose of this exhibition was to inspire students, designers and interested entrepreneurs to come up with creative ideas and solutions as a part of an exercise to change the current situation and build a prospective sustainable fashion industry. Considering Bangladesh’s reputation at the world stage for its quality Readymade Garment and huge workforce, it has only become feasible for the European nations like Germany to outsource the fashion production here.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina led Awami League has been actively signing bilateral agreements for various development projects with nations such as Germany, Japan and the US. With good demographic dividend and huge potential, this Asian economy is being welcomed by many officials and it has all been due to the collaboration between both the private and public sector in Bangladesh. With one of the biggest and efficient contributions coming from the government via a series of meetings, led by the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the private sector development affairs advisor Salman F Rahman.

They have been vocal about the potential of entrepreneurship in Bangladesh and the opportunities available for it across all the sectors in the nation. Realizing that the meetings with foreign officials and diplomats have a chance for an increased investment in the nation, Salman F Rahman, also one of the most successful Businessmen in Bangladesh, suggested new entrepreneurs to learn at least three languages alongside Bangla and English. “The Chinese and Japanese are investing here. So, knowing their languages can help you for the sake of your business,” he said.

Workshops like “Local International” can help sensitize designers and fashion students of Bangladesh about the products, materials used in European nations. This would be a first- hand experience, different from the one found on webpages. This can work as a catalyst of knowledge transfer in fashion industry. Besides this, the government can also incentivize the industries, entrepreneurs, designers working towards the new ideas, concepts and solutions for increasing sustainable fashion market in Bangladesh and abroad.

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