The dress of the inhabitants of this country differs from the rural to the urban areas. Usually the rural people wear lungi, gamcha or shirt, fatua, panjabi and pajama. The urban people wear shirts and trousers, pyjama-panjabi and formal dress includes western suits for men.
The most important industries in Bangladesh in early and medieval times comprised handicrafts and cottage industries. Prominent amongst them were textiles, metal works, jewellery, wood works, cane and bamboo works as well as clay and pottery. Later, jute and leather became the major raw materials for handicrafts. The result is a fascinating variety of baskets, pottery, wall hangings, handbags, travel kits, toys, ash trays, carpets, embroidered quilts, and so on. These products are characterized by utility, sustain-ability and environment friendliness blended with aesthetic appeal, and are suitable for everyday use.
The predominant features of Bangladeshi handicrafts are the extensive use of individual skill and the interesting design motifs. Besides contributing to foreign exchange earnings, generating employment, and creating opportunities to utilize indigenous natural resources, handicrafts play a vital role in sustaining the cultural heritage of the country.
Handicrafts created by painters and sculptors, as well as those made by craft workers who have little or no artistic training and who create their work for other people rather than museums, embody the cultural heritage of the country. Most handicrafts cater to the needs of the common people, although they originated through the patronage of the rich. Over time, they have acquired the dignity of a craft.
The members of the craftsman's family or cooperatives are employed in the handicraft production unit at the cottage level. The workers (skilled or semi-skilled) are paid their wages on a daily basis. The handicraft sector is an important employment provider, especially in the rural areas.
In the 1990s, according to a study covering seven countries in Asia including Bangladesh, 4 million people worked full-time on craft production, while another 4 million worked part-time. In the export trade of the country, handicrafts are considered non-traditional items with a huge potential for expansion. Being a developing country, Bangladesh faces tough competition in the export of finished goods in the manufacturing sector, but many developed countries give preferential treatment to the import of handicrafts from Bangladesh.