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Sustainability and Fashion Share the Stage at Bangladesh Denim Expo

Bangladesh Denim Expo (BDE), slated for Nov. 11-12 in Dhaka, will welcome mills, buyers and designers from around the world seeking the next big thing in denim, including the latest advancements in sustainable denim manufacturing.

As “sustainability” becomes less of a buzzword and more of a necessity, Mostafiz Uddin, the founder and CEO of BDE and the managing director of Denim Expert Ltd., says it’s a prime time to use the year-old show as a platform to spotlight the efforts and innovations being made to make denim a cleaner and greener industry.

Advancements will be addressed through all critical points in the value chain, Uddin said, from factory equipment, latest techniques in indigo dye, water treatment, sustainability in raw material and design.

With a team of international key speakers scheduled to discuss sustainable denim, including Amy Leverton, Dirk Lehmann, Ben Fokkema, Tilmann Wrobel, Martin Schaefer and more, Uddin hopes attendees leave inspired and ready to make a difference. He added, “If we can help by pushing the industry some steps forward, then we would all be happier.”

Rivet caught up with Uddin to learn more about what attendees can expect at the upcoming show.

Rivet: Why is it a good time for BDE to focus on sustainability in denim?
Uddin: Sustainability in denim, especially in value and mid-priced denim, is key to the industry. BDE is a non-profit organization, and our trade-show has always put the “human” and “mother nature” in the center of our concerns. Our idea is to build a business platform with this trade fair, which promotes denim manufactured under the right conditions. Today sustainability has also become a consumer trend, and therefore we highlight the fact that denim consumers are blending eco-conscious concerns with fashion trends. We would like to help all managers in the value chain to understand this point, and to implement it in their factories, be it for better consideration for workers and nature, or simply because consumers stand up for it.

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Rivet: How has BDE grown since it launched in Fall 2014?
Uddin: The amount of visitors and buyers has drastically increased. BDE now counts approximately 2,500 visitors. Out of these, over 30 percent are buyers. Most importantly, our trade fair has become more and more international. People come from over 40 countries with the biggest five countries being Germany, China, Turkey, France and the United Kingdom, followed closely by Italy. We are super-happy to see that Bangladesh Denim Expo is now established as the international denim exhibition in Bangladesh.

Rivet: What are some notable new exhibitors?
Uddin: Quite a few, but I would like to highlight the fact that BDE is welcoming two premium Japanese mills for the first time, Kuroki and Kurabo. We believe that this exceptional presence of Japanese premium mills is quite a great sign for the show’s future.

Rivet: What type of buyer can benefit the most by attending BDE?
Uddin: Imagine a Western brand wanting to do fabulous mid-price denim, building the right connection between a premium mill fabrication and price-pointed Bangladesh manufacturing—they’ll find all this at the show. What a benefit!

Rivet: What are some of the trends you’re anticipating to see at the show?
Uddin: We are building a special trend area at the show where we will share our “trend directions” with our privileged exhibitors. Nevertheless, one can feel that traditional coatings might slow down, eco-concerns are “in” and that technical denim-developments will be a hot topic.