When the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed in April of 2013, killing more than 1,000 people, apparel companies with ties to the country — the world’s second largest ready-made garments exporter — started to rethink their roles there. Nearly two years later, strikes and political upheaval continue to challenge the Bangladeshi textile industry, as fashion brands consider other manufacturing locations.
India’s textile sector, for one, is benefiting from the shift. The country is now the fifth largest apparel exporter to the U.S., having witnessed a 5.3% year-over-year growth of apparel exports in January, according to data released by the Office of Textiles & Apparels (OTEXA), while Bangladesh’s apparel exports to the States declined by 7.2% in the same period.
DK Nair, secretary general of the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI) has called the growth “encouraging.”
However, HKL Magu, managing director of New Delhi-based Jyoti Apparels, told The Economic Times he doesn’t believe India can compete in a big way with Bangladesh’s “cheaper low-value garments,” but that the country can leverage rising production costs in China, which saw its apparel exports to the U.S. plunge by 10.3% in January.