In his role as managing director role for Denim Expert Limited, Mostafiz Uddin shines a spotlight on Bangladesh's manufacturing future.
When you read through the laundry list of Mostafiz Uddin’s resume, you might get the impression that denim in Bangladesh is a one-man show—and he’s at the helm.
The self-professed denim enthusiast serves as the managing director for Bangladesh’s Denim Expert Limited, the niche denim production group he launched in 2009. From product development and marketing to production and logistics, Uddin oversees virtually every aspect of the innovation-focused business, which designs denim in-house for international buyers.
But for Uddin, having a “day job” isn’t enough. Four years ago, he founded the Bangladesh Denim Expo, “which has already become a much-awaited international platform for sourcing all kinds of jeans wear, from fabrics to finishes,” he said.
Two years later, realizing the need for a better “exchange of knowledge” in his country, Uddin launched the Bangladesh Apparel Exchange to help advance sustainability and innovation in the apparel industry. Uddin runs conferences and events like the Sustainable Apparel Forum and the Bangladesh Fashionology Summit under the auspices of the Exchange, attracting global industry insiders.
Of all his career highlights, Uddin said one memorably “proud moment” was being invited to speak at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit in May as the sole representative for the manufacturing side of the industry.
“I availed the opportunity to represent the apparel industry of Bangladesh in particular, and raise the voice of manufacturers in general on critical issues of global fashion industry like transparency and sustainability at the summit,” Uddin said.
Like many of his peers in the Rivet 50, Uddin is hopeful that the industry will continue investigating ways to become more responsible with resources, both environmental and human.
“What is heartening and exciting me in the denim industry right now is that the advent of innovations and eco-friendly technologies is making the industry more sustainable than any time before,” he said. “Denim being the leading apparel in global fashion, I believe the next generation of denim influencers will also take the lead in ensuring sustainability in the global apparel supply chain.”
Though factories take on the burden of executing production, Uddin said “concerted efforts” and “collective commitment” from both brands and manufacturers are the key to ushering in “sustainability and transparency at every aspect of denim supply chain.”
What is your first denim memory?
“When I was a student, I used to go to local markets where second-hand branded jeans were being sold. And now I am producing denim for those brands at my own factory, which always thrills me whenever I reminisce.”
What is your favorite pair of jeans?
“My favorite pair of jeans is selvedge jeans designed and developed at my factory Denim Expert Limited.”