Local brands blooming!

Local clothing brands are flourishing on the back of increasing demand from domestic buyers, said major brand operators.

Sensing a bright prospect in the branded clothes segment, almost all brand operators are opening new branches in local markets. They are also planning to open outlets in other countries.

On the other hand, readymade garment (RMG) manufacturers and exporters fear a decline in export orders and prices due to the ongoing global recession, according to exporters.

Businessmen said the customer base is becoming strong in Bangladesh for the emerging clothing brands as people’s income and status are also changing gradually.

“Customers are now more fashion-conscious and they prefer branded clothes to regular ones,” said Emdad Hossain, director (product development) of Banglar Mela, a local clothing brand having seven branches in Dhaka.

He said he would develop the brand both locally and globally in response to the growing demand for the items. “I plan to open a branch in a European country soon.”

He said local clothing brands have not so far faced any bad impacts from the global recession, because the local customer base was strong enough to absorb the shock.

Local clothing brand operators are expecting good sales in celebrating the upcoming Pahela Baishakh, the first day of Bangla New Year.

Yasmin Hasan, manager (operations) of Westecs Women, said they are going to open a branch in Chittagong this month. The company started the venture with men’s fashion and later diversified. At present, Westecs has around 20 branches in total.

She said Westecs has five branches for women customers — four in Dhaka and one in Sylhet. More branches for women will be opened soon in Dhaka and other cities, the company sources said.

Talking to The Daily Star, Soumik Das, managing partner of Rang, another local brand, said the sector is witnessing increasing demand. Rang specialises in T-shirts printed in traditional motifs.

“I am currently preoccupied with developing new designs for both men and women because I am expecting a big sale during Pahela Baishakh celebration,” he said.

But incidents like the mutiny at BDR Darbal Hall hampers normal business, as the presence of customers in the showrooms thins, he added.

Shahroom Ali Shikder, branch manager of Fit Elegance, which mainly makes trousers and suits, said they made a hefty profit this winter, as the customers responded very well.

“Our sales are growing as usual. We did not notice any bad impacts of the recession on the sales of our products. Winter is the peak season for us,” he said.

Fit Elegance is expecting more than 20 percent growth in sales in this fiscal year, Shikder added.

He said Fit Elegance has two branches in Dhaka, one in Chittagong and another branch would open on Baily Road in the capital very soon.

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