Fakhruddin Textiles Mills Ltd. brings seamless technology in Bangladesh for the first time. The State-of-the-art technology will help Bangladesh to cater different market segments in active wear.
FT Research Team
Bangladeshi knitting industry is currently going through major technology shift from low value-added shirt and sweaters to high value-added seamless activewear. The Seamless technology is an innovative concept in producing clothing almost free of seams. The technology introduced almost 30 years ago in Europe. However, Bangladesh experienced the seamless technology in 2015 via Fakhruddin Textiles Mills Ltd. (FTML) a sister concern of Urmi Group who brings the technology to Bangladesh.
Fifure 1: Santoni seamless machines at FTML.
In 2015, the company started a pilot project with five Santoni machines and now 40 modern seamless machines are in production. Seamless garmenting is highly technical and innovative job, it needs technically sound and creative design and development team. When the company was planning to adopt the technology, the machine manufacturers thought that Bangladesh might not be ready to adopt it. However, the futuristic company showed confidence to step into the new era.
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Leading sports and fashion brands across the world know all too well that the demand for seamless activewear is rising rapidly. Sports brands like Adidas, Puma, Nike, Reebok, and Decathlon are some big players, also other fashion brands are leaning towards it.
“Initially the response from the buyers were poor, customers couldn’t get confidence that such high-tech production can be done in Bagladesh, but over the past three years we demonstrated our ability,” Faiaz Rahman, Director of Urmi Group said to Textile Today FT Research Team.
Figure 2: high value-added seamless activewear in FTML.
In the beginning, the company developed designs for multiple customers and closed their first order from NEXT. PUMA boosted up the company with plenty of orders and they became the main buyer. Other brands like Celio, M&S and Target are also showing great interest. Currently, it is producing seamless t-shirts, underwear and sports bra. With current capacity and order, they are producing 50,000 pieces of garments every month.
Although the technology eliminates the fabrication process and reduces production time to almost 40%, but the machines are very expensive. The two major tasks of this process are product design and machine operation. Also, machine operation and maintenance is very complex. The company assigned two foreign specialists to look after the issue.
“We are working with Santoni to train our people, we sent four of our people abroad for training. Now Santoni technical team and foreign experts are providing training to our local designers and machine operator/technicians,” said Faiaz Rahman. He also expressed, “Generally one operator should operate five machines but our people still did not reach that level of technical expertise and now one operator is handling only two machines which should be improved.”
Figure 3: Faiaz Rahman, Director, Urmi Group.
As it is a new technology for Bangladesh, technical know-how is a big challenge for the entrepreneurs. The technology adaptation and the learning curve is a lengthy process.
“Raw materials and yarn selection requires more technical expertise. In dyeing and finishing stage, even a little deviation could affect the shape and measurement of the product. Currently, our product rejection rate is high but we are moving in the right direction to bring that within a competitive range,” Faiaz Rahman added.
Today’s consumer wants something beyond requirement-based garments and they prefer activewear with variation in design and characteristics. Seamless apparel is beautiful and offers comfort and support that is superior to cut and sew garments. There is an enormous possibility and scope for Bangladesh to adopt the seamless technology to penetrate the activewear market with value-added product. Setting up this industry will help Bangladesh to move up in the new value chain.