Embroidery ranks high on the eco-friendly front as it requires limited chemical usage. In today’s time, it is more important than ever for brands to think sustainable and make sustainable choices.
Having been involved in the RMG sector for over 20 years and focusing on embroidery for leading global fashion companies, Sashico was born with a motive to not just deliver embroidery at an international level, but also create a channel for it in westernwear, in the domestic market.
The brainchild of Yeasin Al Kabir and Farhan Tanzim Ahmed, Sashico aims to highlight a wide range of different kinds of embroidery and simultaneously promote eco-sustainability.
“The motivation stirred due to our experience of working with international brands. In recent times, there is a high demand for embroidery and through Sashico, we wanted to embody Bangladesh’s calibre in the segment. However, there is a gap in the market knowledge regarding the attributes of embroidery as an artistry. Through Sashico, we want to bridge that gap and bring forth the various kinds of embroidery and simultaneously promote eco-sustainability through our brand,” Yeasin Al Kabir, CEO and Co-founder of Sashico, told Apparel Resources, in an exclusive interview.
Growing up, Yeasin observed his father working day and night in the RMG sector, building his embroidery factory from the ground up. However, his own ambition of furthering in this field accelerated upon his return from Australia, where he graduated in Business Accounting.
“My father has been involved with the embroidery artistry for over 30 years now and his passion was the cornerstone of my pull towards this design. Upon my return to Dhaka after my undergraduation, I started to observe my father’s work very closely,”Yeasin said, adding, “My interactions with international clients made it obvious that a gap persists in the designs that we deliver to the international market and the ones that are introduced in the domestic market. This further fuelled my intent to launch these designs in the domestic market.”
After being in the RMG sector for years, Yeasin has to his credit, the experience of working with leading fashion players such as C&A, Zara, GAP, KMART Australia, Mango and Oceania. Keeping in mind the same, Sashico’s core concept is to highlight embroidery in every launch while simultaneously add a creative touch to it; and keeping its focus on revolutionising western streetwear in Dhaka.
THE LAUNCH OF THE LABEL
For its first launch, Sashico introduced the concept of embroidered, high quality denim jackets priced at BDT 1800.
Dubbed Wild Soul and Zen Master, the concept behind these two jackets aims to bring forth two alternate personality types. In ‘Wild Soul’, the tiger was used as a spirit animal to symbolise the courage, willpower and zeal of a wild persona; and the colour red was highlighted to evoke emotions associated with these terms. The inspiration for ‘Zen Master’ arose from the Japanese concept of yin-yang. Motifs of fish were embroidered in two different colours to depict the story of complementary forces in harmony.
“Consumers today are more mindful than ever and while they want to embrace quality designs and fashion, they also want it within a reasonable range. This will be our pricing motto for all future launches – we commit to reasonable pricing keeping our consumers in mind,” Yeasin stated.
For the summer, Sashico is introducing a unique range of embroidered T-shirts. Following this launch, the label is all set to expand into varied and extensive product categories spanning jeans, shirts, T-shirts as well as accessories such as tote bags, in the coming time.
“As we continue our journey with Sashico, we want to focus on highlighting a different embroidery form with each launch. For the long-term, our goal is to attain global recognition for Sashico keeping sustainability and embroidery as our cornerstones,” Yeasin explained.
Sashico targets both men and women, who tend to seek out something distinctive and unique for their wardrobe. Currently focused on a more youth-centric market, the brand is gradually going to expand its product range to cater to all ages.
Bangladesh produces a massive volume of garments for big market leaders and working with such international fashion leaders including, Zara, GAP, KMART, etc., has had a positive impact in helping Yeasin understand the market better, from a global perspective – something that poses as a challenge to many homegrown labels and brands looking to tackle the westernwear space in the domestic market.
“Working with these international companies polished my ethos and capacities for working within the fashion industry. One important lesson my experience imparted me with, is the significance of pricing,” Yeasin told Apparel Resources.
Pricing is a crucial factor within the garment industry and even the slightest of variation can lead to a win or lose situation.
“This has helped me to better approach the pricing strategies for Sashico and develop our motto for product pricing. Secondly, my experience taught me the gravity of commitment. Commitment to your words shapes the foundation of the relationships within the fashion industry, whether that is with your customer, manufacturer or your employees. This principle is definitely something I want to fuse with Sashico as well. Finally, it taught me the vitality of introducing feedback loops, within the production process and also with your customers. This is one of the reasons why, at Sashico, we want to truly open the ground for feedback from our customers so we can cater to them in an unparalleled way.”
A COMMITMENT TOWARDS ECO-SUSTAINABILITY
Sashico stands for its focus on embroidery and its commitment towards eco-sustainable fashion. Today’s consumer is more conscious than ever, and the demand for sustainable choices and consumption is growing by the day.
Commenting on the same, Yeasin said, “We’ve only taken the first step towards integrating the concept through our tote bags. To give our Bangladeshi consumers something reusable, we refrained from using one time plastic or paper bags. In the future, we will continue to focus on sustainable and upcycled packaging.”
Additionally, when Sashico sources the materials for its production, it focuses on the acquisition of leftover export quality fabric, through its in-house sourcing. It strives to eradicate the wastage of material with such an upcycling practice. Furthermore, the brand pivots on the usage of sustainable chemicals for its fabric washes.
“Through Sashico, we also want to create a domino effect within home-grown businesses to embrace such practices. Moreover, the knowledge that embroidery is an eco-friendly artistry is not well resonated within the consumer base. We will utilise our official Instagram page to promote this knowledge,” Yeasin corroborated.
To integrate the prominence of this concept into their brand, Yeasin and Farhan focused on the provision of sustainable packaging. “We supplied denim tote bags with our orders instead of relying on one time use bags that could lead to waste accumulation. We are proud as a brand that our packaging was embraced so positively by our customers.”
Sashico collaborates with local artists to transfer its vision into reality, through their art and creativity. In the future, the label plans to showcase the strong but unnoticed jute industry in Bangladesh, through embroidered totes in an effort to bring deserving exposure to this traditional craft form of the country.
IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS
Sashico can deliver a range of embroidery techniques to the market based on years of expertise and virtuosity. Developed entirely in-house in its factory located in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the brand focuses on taping, cording, applique, chenille and sequin. Conventionally, sequin and normal embroidery are the most well-renowned forms in Bangladesh. Through Sashico, the designer duo want to elevate the other forms of embroidery and integrate them into the domestic market.
“We were overwhelmed with the response we received on our first launch. An inspiration behind our jackets bloomed from the embroidered jackets launched by Gucci and Japanese souvenir jackets. We were pleased that the customer base welcomed and embraced the designs so well,” Yeasin revealed, adding, “Our tote bags also garnered positive responses with many customers showing particular inclination towards this concept. We do believe that currently there is a gap in understanding the conventions of sustainable finance and we aspire to bridge this gap through our social media marketing.”
When it comes to the washes, Sashico strives to bring exclusive washes such as towel wash and bleach wash to its customers.
30 years of experience has lent its factory the advantage of growing a modest network. This lobby of associates always helps in outsourcing whenever required.
MANUFACTURING AND SOURCING
From the production perspective, Sashico approached its debut collection from a grassroots level, wherein it utilised 12 ounce cotton spandex for its denim jackets.
“We started from scratch with the sourcing and purchase of materials, composition of buttons and then sent our jackets to the wash factory for two unique colour schemes: bleach wash and towel wash,” Yeasin expounded, adding,“Finally, the embroidery was done by using export quality thread. Our factory focuses on different types of embroidery such as taping, cording, applique, chenille and sequin.”
Most of the materials utilised in creating the collections, are in-house and if required, the brand reaches out to factories that they have lobbied with over the course of their business, to outsource certain materials. The materials and fabric utilised depend on the concept behind the collections as well as the products being designed. For example, Sashico’s denim jackets use leftover export quality material from their network factories to promote sustainable upcycle production.
Sashico sources its raw materials from local markets in Bangladesh and in order to prevent wastage of leftover fabric, it also utilises in-house stock.
“We focus on deriving value from what is available. If we need to look beyond the scope of our sources, we seek out sources in Islampur to acquire our desired raw materials.’ Yeasin said.
Sashico currently stocks all its products and raw materials at its in-house facility in Dhaka. Apart from this, the brand is present on Instagram and Facebook, under the handle of Sashico. For the future, the brand has mapped out strategic plans that revolve around expanding its product range, launching a physical store and entering the global market.
Covid-19 has inherently created multi-faceted challenges for the fashion world. While financial losses have immobilised multiple RMG factories, the pandemic has also created outlets for some opportunities. One of the major shifts that can be observed is the inclination of brands to upcycle materials from the leftover stock that has not been delivered or completed manufacturing, due to the global crisis. Factories have been seeking creative ways to recuperate losses and find alternative usage, to prevent waste.