Bangladesh Denim Expo (BDE) is back after a two-year pandemic-related hiatus. The denim trade show, now in its 12th edition, will be held in International Convention City Bashundhara (ICCB) in Dhaka May 10-11. This year’s theme centers on “beyond business,” and will include a range of product displays from 79 exhibitors, as well as eight seminar sessions and two panel discussions on sustainability in the denim industry.
Before its pause in 2019, the trade show implemented strict exhibitor sustainability standards requiring proof of compliance with existing industry benchmarks and certifications including SA8000, WRAP, BSCI, ETI, FLA or SEDEX-SMETA. The organizer modeled its requirements after the protocol Kingpins used for its April 2019 event in Amsterdam.
In March 2020, BDE canceled its April event in Dhaka in light of the growing concerns and restrictions related to Covid-19. The trade show was expected to attract 100 domestic and international vendors. Around the same time, Kingpins had canceled its Amsterdam and Hong Kong shows, and Denimsandjeans cancelled its first-ever event in Japan.
“The pandemic has forced suppliers to double down on sustainability issues,” said Mostafiz Uddin, founder of BDE and owner of denim manufacturer and washing plant Denim Expert Ltd. “That is what global consumers are demanding in the post-pandemic world, and this message is being passed down supply chains through fashion brands and retailers. Our show will act as a lightning rod on these issues, bringing together some of the most progressive, forward-thinking denim manufacturers in the world to showcase new thinking and the latest technical innovations which are driving our industry forward.”
Since the height of the pandemic, Bangladesh has gotten a boost in terms of both production status and Covid-19 safety. The Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) reported that the region boosted its shipments of jeans to the U.S. in 2021 by 42.25 percent to $798.42 million following 2020’s 3.98 percent decline. According to the most up-to-date Covid-19 vaccination figures from Our World in Data, a project of the Global Change Data Lab charity in England and Wales, 69.8 percent of the Bangladeshi population is fully vaccinated against the virus. In comparison, 66.3 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated.