Smart apparel is a relatively new phenomenon, but it’s quickly gaining popularity in the fashion sector. Though there are many companies working on wearable smart devices, few are tackling the world of ready-made garments. As the second leading producer of ready-made clothing in the world, Bangladesh could greatly benefit from embracing this trend early on. It’s for this reason that the Bangladesh Apparel Exchange brings together fashion and technology in the annual international Bangladesh Fashionology Summit, encouraging local entrepreneurs and startups to invest in the growing trend of smart apparel.
In 2018, the first annual Bangladesh Fashionology Summit was held in Dhaka. It was organized to promote the country’s fashion industry and address the changing face of wearable technology. The summit sought to approach topics such as artificial intelligence, industrial Internet, big data, robotics, 3D printing, and workflow automation.
According to Mostafiz Uddin, founder of the Bangladesh Apparel Exchange and managing director of Denim Expert Limited, he aims to “[bring] together under one roof the most inspiring and innovative thinkers and companies from across the globe to initiate the much-needed conversations around technology, digitalization and innovation in the apparel and fashion industry to shape the future of the Bangladesh apparel industry.”
Leading experts from eleven other countries including the USA, the Netherlands, France, the UK, Japan, Canada, Sweden, Thailand, and India spoke in special panels addressing innovation in clothing manufacturing and the fusion of fashion and technology. In the world’s first “Fashion Tech Runway Show,” summit guests got to see the latest trends in wearable smart devices and tech-integrated garments.
Ultimately, Uddin wishes to bring Bangladesh’s booming ready-made clothing sector into the future by introducing wearable technology into the country’s exports. “[His] vision,” he claims, “is to inform the Bangladeshi manufacturers about the latest technology to encourage to go investment. It will help us enter a new era of tech-driven manufacturing, ultimately taking Bangladesh to value-added products.” By holding his international fashion summit in the capital, he has given local entrepreneurs a chance to seek inspiration from world leaders in smart fashion.
The Bangladesh startup scene has been exploding in recent years thanks to efforts such as the Bangladesh Fashionology Summit. Companies such as Parallax Logic, Kokhon.com, and Biponee all offer a unique online shopping platform where people can find goods such as smart clothing produced in Bangladesh and abroad. More fashion-centric startups include Lidia May, a company specializing in embroidery and finely crafted accessories, while CMED focuses on wearable medical devices and health monitoring systems. However, there is still plenty of room for other fashion startups to step in and take over neglected niche areas in smart fashion such as intelligent textiles and clothing with sensors.
In the coming years, the close relationship between technology and fashion can only be expected to keep growing. Users are coming to expect tech-driven products in every marketplace, including the fashion sector. With any luck, Bangladeshi startups will take advantage of this trend and become leaders in the world of smart apparel.