Denim is a versatile fabric. Moving from work wear to fashion, denim is not only for the youth and for style icons, but for all age groups and genders. Fibre2Fashion analyses the potential, challenges, and opportunities India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan hold as a sourcing hub for denim.
Developing with changing demands, it has become the common thread binding India, Pakistan and Bangladesh in a common goal. The Indian subcontinent is growing fast for denim, be it denim fabric or finished products like jeans. India and Pakistan have an edge in fabric manufacturing. Bangladeshi mills are picking up fast. Manufacture of jeans has converged in Bangladesh with practically all major brands from Levi's to Gap to Zara. This region is viewing this development enthusiastically, confident to bring in huge business. Buyers are positive and looking at the region as a complete sourcing destination.
India is also emerging as a huge market for the final product with Pakistan and Bangladesh eyeing the business. India is a huge end consumer market and nearly 75 per cent of denim fabric produced in the nation is used for the domestic market while the remainder is exported to countries like Bangladesh, Turkey and more recently to South America and several African countries. India is known for its bulk production of denim in different weaves and counts. The nation is also a source of sustainable options in fabric with limited capacity in jeans production. According to the industry, India is among the front runners in sustainable options in denim, though there are many other players around the world concentrating in this area.
Pakistan: Investing in R&D
Pakistani mills have invested on research and development in designs and finishes. Many big mills are giving tough competition to Turkey. Since Bangladesh has acquired the covetous reputation of being the jeans manufacturing capital of the world, Pakistan is looking to set up jeans manufacturing units in the country, getting skilled edge of both the countries for growth.
Many manufacturers are working on recycled yarn for denim manufacture. The most exclusive is the Back to Life fabric for H&M, the only company which runs a Post Consumer Waste (PCW) programme partnered by denim manufacturers in Pakistan. H&M collects used jeans from customers and sends it to Pakistani mills for shredding, spinning and fabric production. Another exclusive product that the mills are working on is for G-Star called RAW. This uses bionic yarn, made from reclaimed pet bottles fished out from the ocean. The yarn is provided by G-Star and it is converted into fabric by companies in Pakistan.
Bangladesh: The nerve centre of jeans production
The wide consumption of denim has created a new opportunity for Bangladesh. Currently, Bangladesh is the third largest denim exporter to the United States of America, after Mexico and China with 11.3 per cent market share, according to the US Department of Commerce. Brand Bangladesh will source four in five denim products for the European market by 2020.
According to Bangladesh Textile Mills Association, Bangladesh has 25 denim fabric manufacturers, which produce 30 mn yards of denim a month against the monthly demand of nearly 60 mn yards. It imports 50 per cent fabric from countries like India, Pakistan and China. The share of imported fabrics decreases gradually as the capacities of Bangladesh denim mills grows.