As the managing director, owner and CEO of denim manufacturer and washing plant Denim Expert Limited, Mostafiz Uddin is calling attention to the state of the manufacturing industry at large. Following Covid-19 outbreaks in the summer of 2021, many factories and facilities now have to operate under unhealthy conditions in Uddin’s home of Bangladesh.
On top of the fact that Bangladesh and many other sourcing markets like Vietnam and India continue to battle the coronavirus, factories across these nations are still reeling from being left with the bill on delayed payments and even canceled orders, which occurred when retail buyers closed their brick-and-mortar store doors. So not only are many factory workers fighting off sickness amid slow vaccination deployment, but they also still must endure mass layoffs.
Uddin embarked on a letter-writing campaign in March to Western leaders shedding light on the struggles in these sourcing countries. In the campaign, he highlighted the need for government intervention and support for both manufacturers and retailers alike, encouraging them to reopen stores to keep the supply chain afloat.
Uddin’s Denim Expert Limited was the only apparel and textile company named “New Champion” by the World Economic Forum in November 2020.
What is the biggest misconception that consumers have about sustainable denim?
The biggest misconception held by consumers surrounding sustainability in denim is that it only relates to the environmental impact of the product. Whilst the environmental sustainability of production is a key component, the consumer needs to understand that true sustainable denim manufacturing, must encompass the social and economic aspects of the whole production supply chain, from fiber to finished in-store product. If these aspects of the sustainable production chain were highlighted more, the consumer would be able to make more informed purchasing decisions.
What can the denim industry do to ensure a positive post-pandemic rebound?
The denim industry needs to keep challenging itself to develop the most environmentally friendly product possible, encouraging the re-use of product and development of non–petrochemical alternatives to traditional fibers. By continuing to develop ethically, sustainably produced product with longevity, the denim industry will continue to flourish.
Skinny jeans: Over or a new staple?
I don’t believe that the skinny jeans trend is over, but I do see the emergence of a wider variety of silhouettes and product types, meaning that skinny jeans will still have a place in the consumers’ wardrobe alongside other product.
How can denim retail improve?
I feel that the greatest improvements that can be made in the denim retail arena are twofold: educating consumers on the importance of truly sustainable product (and the impact it has on the planet and the people that produce it) and a true effort to sell product with longevity—both in terms of the garment’s lifecycle and its repurposing into new product when that life cycle is over.
How many pairs of jeans do you own?
I personally own 40-50 pairs of jeans but have developed an archive of more than 5,000 jeans at our research and development center at Denim Expert Limited.
Which jeans do you wear the most, and why?
Living in Bangladesh, a hot and humid country, I tend to favor lighter weight, comfort stretch, tapered styles, produced at Denim Expert Ltd. of course.