Bangladesh is the world’s second largest manufacturer of garments, most of which are supplied to many of the brands you and I wear. Working in the fashion retail industry means I have become a frequent visitor to the country, more specifically the capital Dhaka. It’s early June, meaning the temperature and humidity is high, as soon as I stepped of the plane I was greeted by the heat, reminiscent of an open oven door in a hot kitchen.
Dhaka city itself is a living contradiction; from the high rise modern buildings, versus the simple shacks many of the city’s residents still live in. On the roads the traditional rickshaw riders have equal standing against the larger buses and shiny 4×4 cars. The common thread being everyone’s desire to beat the traffic and not to be caught in the dreaded “JAM”.
The readymade garment industry in Bangladesh is still relatively new compared with its other competitor countries such as China and India. However the growth has been exponential, making Bangladesh a strong contender in the market of fashion manufacturing.
This growth hasn’t come without its challenges with recent tragedies such as the Tazreen factory fire and the collapse of the Rana Plaza building, highlighting the need for resource and investment to support this rapidly growing industry.
As we drive out of Dhaka city, leaving behind the beeping car horns, crowded streets and congested city life, I get to see the other side of the country. Sprawling forests, green farm land and most importantly quiet empty roads, a complete contrast to the city center.