The tailoring industry was turning around towards the beginning of this year but the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr has made tailors of the country fearful of losses again.
Some tailors have made fresh investments in the business ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr in the hope of getting over the losses they incurred last year.
But now they are worried about the investment due to the lockdown.
Top Ten Group has been in the tailoring business since 1992. The group's sister concern, Top Ten Fabrics and Tailors, makes shirts, pants, and suits.
Shuvo Debnath, manager at the Elephant Road branch of Top Ten Fabrics and Tailors, said, "There was no business during last year's lockdown and we faced a huge loss."
This time, there was a good preparation targeting Eid-ul-Fitr to overcome that loss, he said, adding that fresh investments had also been made.
"Though business was not good after the lockdown last year, it was increasing. The business almost became normal towards the beginning of this year. But now the fear of incurring further losses has gripped us due to the ongoing lockdown," he said.
According to business insiders, the demand for new clothes and suit-pants increases several fold ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha.
Tailors do more than half of their total annual business ahead of the two biggest religious festivals of Muslims in the country.
Last year, the lockdown was effective from 26 March to 30 May and Eid-ul-Fitr was on 25 May. That was why tailors did not get any orders last year.
This time, the tailors have taken better steps to get over the losses.
According to the Bangladesh Dressmaker Association, there are more than 35,000 tailors across the country.
Top Ten, Top Ten-1, Ferdous, Maqbool, Raymond, Sunmoon, Elegant, Century, and Sunlight are some of the popular tailors in Dhaka.
Apart from them, there are several thousand tailors in the capital.
Nearly two lakh skilled, semi-skilled and poorly skilled people work in the sector.
Tailors have been running their businesses by reducing employees or reducing their salaries due to the shock of the pandemic.
A large number of workers in the tailoring business have taken up other professions having lost their jobs last year.
Akhtar Hossain worked in a well-known tailor's shop and his salary was Tk12,000 a month. He also earned some extra money working overtime.
He lost his job last year when the lockdown began and turned to pulling a rickshaw to make ends meet for his family.
"When the tailor sacked me he told me that if he got more orders for work, I would get back the job. But I have not got back my job there as yet," said Akhter.
Doly Azad, owner of Moonlight Tailors, told The Business Standard, "The business is going through a bad time because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The number of clothes we used to make earlier has gone down a lot. I am trying to survive by cutting staff with business conditions getting worse amid the pandemic. At present, 10 people are working in the factory whereas there were 20 employees before the pandemic. The tailoring business is in dire straits, which is also affecting employment."