When was the last time you purchased a shirt and thought about the hands that made it and the journey it took to get to you? Chances are high that something you own was made in Bangladesh, the world’s second largest exporter of clothing. However, most of the time very little information is available about the conditions in which that item was made.
We’re launching a brand called New Market Goods that highlights positive approaches to garment production. We’ve partnered with Deshal, a community of local garment producers who’ve been striving to create better working conditions in their factory in Bangladesh. Together we hope to promote good design, celebrate Bangladeshi artisanship, and improve transparency in the production of clothing, starting with our line of popover shirts.
Our inaugural line features an all-cotton popover shirt. It takes cues from the punjabis frequently found on the streets of Dhaka, such as the band collar and a placket that extends only to mid-chest.
We’ve hybridized the style with more traditional button-down features: a slightly more fitted silhouette that hits at the waist and side gussets. The design itself is fairly minimal, and is really meant to highlight the textiles, which are produced in one of the last remaining hand-loom communities called Pabna, in western Bangladesh.
We’ve prototyped the popover in three unique, all-cotton textiles:
Ok, we know popovers may not be for everyone...
In April of 2013, a horrific tragedy at a garment factory in Savar, Bangladesh once again opened the world's eyes to the conditions in which the products and clothing we purchase every day are made. However, like most contemporary crises, we quickly lost attention and little impact has been made to date on factory conditions.
New Market Goods is working toward improving transparency in an industry that has relied on maintaining cheap labor and poor working conditions for decades in order to to keep prices down. We want to highlight the positive and responsible practices that are already happening at a place like Deshal, our partner factory.
Deshal was founded by Kanak, Ishrat, and Sabuj, passionate artists and friends from Bangladesh. Together, they’ve built one of the most popular brands, only offered in Bangladesh. All members of the Deshal community work together in the same space: a large, single-story building surrounded by fields on the northwestern outskirts of Dhaka. Other than a few low dividing walls, every artisan, manager, designer, and accountant works alongside one another.
Every shirt has a life beyond what we can see.
Along with every shirt you buy is a commitment to tell the story of where it came from. From the day the textiles were woven in Pabna, to the agile hands of Deshal’s artisans, to fulfillment and packaging in San Francisco, to you. Each shirt will be tagged with a unique code so you can access this story on the web, and we hope you continue contribute to it.
Thanks for starting this journey with us!
The Urban Launchpad is a social venture dedicated to seeding and scaling urban data experiments in places that need it most. Over the past several years, we've been working in Bangladesh to bring light to systems and infrastructure, starting with the First Bus Map of Dhaka.
The incredible folks who've gotten us this far!
- Patricia Kennedy, grandmother and Chief Popover Prototyper (ATL)
- Colin Price, photography (SF)
- Michael Gluzman, photography and video (ATL)
Siddarth Kantemneni, photography (ATL)
- Mehgan Iulo, web development (NYC)
Masuk Ahmed, coordinator (Dhaka)
- Megan Huntz, schematic design (ATL)
- Jennifer Olivo, pattern design (Bay Area)
Justina Wong, garment industry advisor (OAK)
Praveen Subramani, supply chain advisor (SF)
Subha Gollakota, app engineer (SF)
- Karen MacKay, button expert (SF)
- And of course, our shirt sporters! Jerome Tavé (SF), David Kennedy (ATL), Meredith Pirtle (ATL), Yoonhwa Jang (ATL), Allen Suh (ATL)
Risks and challenges
Dhaka is a city of 18 million residents, constantly bombarded with a sea of pedestrians, rickshaws, buses, cars, bicycles, motorcycles, and CNGs. It is considered one of the most vulnerable cities in the world, susceptible to yearly flooding, political unrest, and unstable infrastructure. We are fortunate be working side-by-side with a local team who knows the city like the back of their hand.
Between now and the end of the summer, we’ll be working to initiate production on the ground near Savar, just outside of Dhaka. As with the initiation of any new product, we are learning about the process and continuing to make refinements. In light of any foreseeable production delays, we will work to make sure that all our supporters are kept up to speed!
Additionally, we are continuing to research importing / exporting protocols. We would love to hear from anyone who has this type of experience!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (38 days)