Giving much thought to what to buy for a winter outfit which will be at the same time warm and suitable for any formal occasion, university student Habibur Rahman Shan finally decided on a blazer.
He bought a readymade one at New Market for Tk 1,800, which he found also affordable. “I chose the blazer, as it is both a winter wear and fashionable,” said Shan.
He said that he had earlier thought of having a tailor-made blazer. “I found getting a blazer made by a tailor very costly while the price of a readymade one is almost half," he added.
Like Habibur, many people, especially the young, now prefer readymade blazers for winter wear due to their affordable prices. They also consider it as fashionable that can be worn throughout the year.
Traders say the market of readymade blazers is expanding, owing to increased fashion-awareness and purchasing power of the people from different socio-economic classes.
They also cite competitive price as another reason behind the expansion.
“We sell readymade blazers throughout the year, but sales shoot up in winter,” said Raj Kalam, a wholesaler at the Keraniganj garment hub that accounts for 90% of the local garments supply.
He said that there was a time when only the elite used to wear blazers and it had to be made by order. “Now, readymade blazers are available in markets at lower prices,” Kalam added.
He informed that some of the garments manufacturers at the hub started making readymade blazer 8 to 10 years ago, adding that the number of blazer manufacturers was on the rise with growing demand for the product.
Collecting clothes, button leather and other materials from different sources, manufacturers make blazers of various designs at the Keraniganj garment hub.
Most of the clothes the manufacturers use to make blazers are imported, especially from China, Korea and India, while other materials such as button, yarn etc are procured locally.
PRODUCTION DOUBLED IN FIVE YEARS
Though statistics or any research on the product is not available yet, manufacturers said the local production of readymade blazers doubled over the last five years.
“I used to make 90-100 pieces of blazers in a week just five years ago. Now I make at least 200 pieces per week on average,” said Alamgir Hossain, who has two small blazer-manufacturing units at the Keraniganj garment hub.
The garments hub has at least 500 factories that specialize in the manufacturing of blazers, according to the Keraniganj Garments Traders and Shop Owners' Cooperative Association. A total of 6,000 workers are employed in these factories.
Besides, many of the 8,000 factories at the hub produce blazer during the winter along with their other regular productions, according to the association.
The association Treasurer Sheikh Kawsar said that every blazer manufacturer at the hub had been experiencing at least 20-25% growth each year over the last few years. The blazer was the most promising product at the hub, he remarked.
YEARLY MARKET WORTH TK 3 BILLION
Currently, yearly local demand for readymade blazers stands approximately at 2 million pieces, which is worth Tk 3 billion, said Sheikh Kawsar.
Of this quantity, the Keraniganj garments hub supply about 1.6 billion pieces worth Tk 2.4 billion, amounting to 80% of the total readymade blazer sales.
Several other local garment manufacturing companies, located across the country, produce the rest of the blazers.
According to Kawsar, almost 50% of the people who wear blazer wear readymade ones.
The price of readymade blazers varies depending on its quality and brands. Indian cloth-made blazers were found selling at Tk 1,500-8,000 a piece, while blazers made of other cloth can be bought at Tk 800-5,000.
Gabardine cloth made blazers were found selling at Tk 600-3,000 per piece, as the prices of leather and artificial leather-made blazers were found to be Tk 1,200-6,000 per piece.