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Bangladesh’s emerging innerwear maker Comfit Composite Knit seems ‘promising’

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Established in 2006, Comfit Composite Knit Limited is a 100 per cent export-oriented composite knit textile unit which forayed into lingerie production comparatively late.

“We started lingerie production from September last year for C&A… Ours is an 80-line production unit in which 16 lines are dedicated to lingerie exclusively (named Comfit Lingerie Ltd.). Besides lingerie we also produce T-shirts, polo shirts, hood jackets and nightwear,” explains Engineer Jahangir Parvez Masud, Deputy General Manager (Operations), Comfit Composite Knit Limited, which counts names like H&M, C&A, Engelbert, Sports Master and SRG amongst its clientele.

Comfit Composite Knit’s foraying into intimatewear is as much a result of its efforts to diversify product offerings that have global demands as it is to try and improve the overall efficiency of the production floor. “For regular knit items, one needs around 22-24 operators to produce 200-230 pieces of knitwear per line whereas only 16-18 people per line can produce 300-340 pieces of lingerie items each line,” underlines Masud. To further increase efficiencies, Comfit Composite Knit has now introduced automats from brands such as Brother, Pegasus and Yamato.

Engineer Jahangir Parvez Masud

Producing around 48,000 pieces of innerwear per day – 40 to 60 per cent of which are for C&A and the remaining for other clients including SRG, Comfit Composite Knit is primarily restricted to manufacturing the lower innerwear so far. “The proportion between gents and ladies items depends on order requirements. As we are still running short of direct orders to fill our capacities, we are taking subcontract for different brands,” Masud maintains. With all related and required work for WRAP certification being almost complete, Masud is hopeful of getting direct orders from some brands soon.

Regular orders from C&A, SRG alongside orders from some new buyers including a few big names that Comfit Composite Knit is currently pursuing would also go a long way in determining the product category for its upcoming RMG unit, expected to be operational by January next year. “We’re still considering increasing our lingerie lines in our new factory which is under construction. We are now trying to bring onboard some new names… Hopefully, by the end of this year we’d be in a position to take the call,” underlines Masud who sees in innerwear, a new growth avenue for the Bangladesh apparel industry. “Lingerie has huge potentiality which is evident from the large number of new players taking up lingerie, while on the other hand the established players are also increasing their capacities significantly…,” Masud maintains, adding, the scarce ability of accessories, blended fabrics and lack of technically sound manpower remains a challenge for the industry though.

“Our in-house cotton fabric production is sufficient for lingerie; besides we are also planning to increase our fabric production and dyeing capacities further which would address the requirement of cotton fabrics in the near future. However for blended fabrics, nylon and polyester, we are dependent on China to a large extent. The same is the case with accessories as there are not many local manufacturers of high-quality accessory items,” maintains Masud.

To address the issue of manpower, Comfit Composite Knitwear has devised its own strategy. “We recruit only those as workers who are at least matriculate. We provide them both theoretical and practical training for one month after which we give them jute fabrics to practice in real lines, following which they are allowed them to seat in the production lines,” explains Masud, who is now working towards increasing the workers’ efficiency and speed as he feels that this is the only way to solve the current shortage of skilled workers in the area where the unit is located.