APPAREL | brand | Fashion Updates

Bangladesh’s RMG Exporters Enter Local Retail Scene: New Brands Bring Innovation and Competition

Published: December 27, 2023
Author: Fashion Value Chain

Zainab Maqsood, a fashion enthusiast and graduate of Coventry University, noticed a lack of excitement and innovation in local fashion brands in Bangladesh. Her father, Mian Maqsood Ahmad, founded Experience Group, a well-known entity in the apparel sector. While Bangladesh’s garments industry’s export segment was thriving, Zainab felt that the local retail market lacked variety and innovation.

She decided to address this gap by establishing Amira Apparel, a fusion-oriented brand focusing on ethnic wear, in 2020. Despite her initial reservations, local retail brands had experienced success catering to the evolving fashion tastes of Bangladesh’s middle class.

However, a trend emerged over the past decade, where local brands faced growing competition from new retail brands backed by major apparel exporters like the Experience Group.

These established business groups ventured into local retail for several reasons. First, they saw an opportunity to express creativity and expertise, moving beyond manufacturing clothes for global brands. Second, their experience in the RMG industry provided them with technical know-how and cost management advantages, and they recognized the growing local market’s potential. Lastly, amid global shifts in technology and sustainability requirements and Bangladesh’s transition to the post-LDC era, some RMG exporters sought to hedge their bets by entering local retail.

Several RMG exporters, such as Giant Group, Beximco Group, and others, introduced retail brands, capitalizing on their textile industry expertise. The second generation of business owners, like Zainab, played a role in driving this trend, seeking opportunities to create and innovate.

These new local brands, backed by major exporters, have leveraged their parent companies’ resources to experiment with fabrics and techniques. They are also capitalizing on logistics expertise and supply chains inherited from the RMG sector.

While local retail brands from RMG exporters have thrived, some boutique houses have lamented the decline in demand for local fabrics and the fading presence of independent boutiques in the city. This expansion of RMG-backed retail outlets has enriched the local fashion scene but also introduced competition and a growing Western influence on local fashion.

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