Bextex Ltd became a Public Limited Company with limited liability on the March of 1994 although it started commercial operations a year later. What sets Bextex apart from other South Asian vendors are its vertically integrated production facilities along with its unique creative and analytic capabilities.
Bextex has recently struck a partnership with the Estonian enterprise AusDesign OÜ in order to upcycle waste on a large scale. AusDesign OÜ pioneers in using resources more efficiently in order to increase sustainability. This campaign will require Bextex to send the wastes and leftovers from its regular production orders to AusDesign OÜ, who, in turn, will use them for mass production upcycle. This will not only be beneficial to the environment but also to the companies involved.
Over the years, the company has developed in-house design capabilities with teams based in Spain as well as Bangladesh. Moreover, having partnered up with some of the world’s most renowned design institutes including Fashion Institute of Technology, Parsons, London School of Fashions, NIFT and NID, Bextex not only gets access to talented designers but has also built strong working relationships all over the world with clients and designers alike. Key clients of the company include American Eagle, Arcadia, Calvin Klein, H&M, JC Penney, Tommy Hilfiger, Warnaco and Zara. Bextex’s retail apparel Yellow is a design driven, youthful brand that celebrates creative and original thinking to highlight a lighthearted view of life through quality products. The adventurous spirit of this line captures a modern interpretation of fashion and relaxed attitude expresses comfort and confidence. Furthermore, Bextex has a synthetics division as well as a jute manufacturing and production section.
After attending an informative seminar on the mission of Fashion Revolution, the fashion design students of BGMEA University of Fashion and Techonology divided into groups and were assigned case study companies to research.
The students read everything they could on the companies and compiled a questionnaire to gain firsthand insight into the company’s general policies as well as its sustainability initiatives and/or advanced labor practices.
Below are the questionnaires and responses from the case studies.
1.Tell us about your upcycling program, how it works, how long it has been in force and how it is progressing.
The Upcycling program at Beximco has been running for almost three years in collaboration with Aus Design, from Estonia. We analyze the waste systems and address the key areas that produce the most amount of waste by new organizational, and collection methods, and new upcycling strategies, best to fit the situation.
2. How have the workers’ skills and responsibilities changed and grown from their participation in the upcycling process?
The team started very small but the department has grown to form an amazing team of people that are ready and willing to think outside the box and are quick on their feet to problem solve. Workers have become experts on predicting where there may be faults or problems and addressing them before they become an issue. They are now amazing at problem solving and slightly changing the way they work to match a particular style or type of waste. We discuss with the members of the team to come up with the best ways to complete a project together, which creates dynamic and exciting conversations.
3. Do workers enjoy the new challenges of the upcycled process?
At first people were nervous because there can be a lot of room for error in the beginning. But with upcycling we understand it takes many trials and a lot of patience. Pointing out mistakes are celebrated, we need to catch these things before they become a bigger issue. This is drastically different than previous work for many people. Errors are expected at first and it takes a lot of getting used to. But once people understand, they are excited to participate in discussions and feel as though their opinions are validated through working with the department and coming up with solutions together.
4. When did you decide to create a sustainability department and how does it function?
I started as an intern at Beximco in the textile department, but after seeing first hand how much waste comes out of a factory I shifted my focus towards possibilities for fabric remnants and reject pieces. I began to develop case studies and samples to see what could be accomplished. At the end of my internship I approached management with my research and ideas. To my surprise they wanted to start a department that focuses on addressing Upcycling waste! At the same time Reet Aus from Aus Design (PHD Upcyling) was using factory waste to make upcycled collections complete with extensive environmental calculations, so we partnered up to focus on industrial upcyclcing at Beximco.
5. What results have you seen from the upcycling initiative? What has the impact on waste reduction been so far and do you have plans for expanding the program or is it still in an experimental phase?
We have produced many upcycled collections and have produced order up to 23,000 shirts from rejected garments. The program will continue to expand with hope of achieving zero waste in the future.
6. What advice do you have for other factories to start their own upcycling initiatives? Are there unique capabilities at Beximco that made it possible or can any factory try this idea?
Having a supportive management that is open to possibilities is key. It takes a lot of effort and transformation, in order to make upcycling possible.
7. Were there any unique obstacles you faced in this effort?
Organizing and collecting different types of waste (rejected garments, rejected panels, cutting waste, rollends) in ways that could then be easily and quickly sent into an upcyling production, is always the big challenge. There are many things to consider and it takes a lot of effort in planning to make it possible.
8. What are your longer term plans regarding sustainability overall?
As far as upcycling goes, becoming zero waste would be the end goal. Turning anything possible back into usable fabrics or clothes, and finally taking remaining small pieces and recycled them into new yarn to be used again.