Srilanka has an award-winning garment industry. The sector's growth runs back to almost three decades. This gives Srilanka an advantage in creating sustainable textile industry. With its large labor force, it is a formidable power in the fashion business. Though small in landscape, the human resource as well as it is prime location among sea routes makes it a key point in the sustainable textile industry.
It has collaborations with academia as per the Academy of Design to push more aspiring designers towards sustainable fashion. A major challenge most developing nations face is child labor involved in industries. To fight this Srilanka is taking conscious steps to avoid any guilt in their clothing creating a movement of “garments without guilt”. They organize fashion revolution days to identify “who made my clothes?” The apparel industry caters to mostly women laborers.
While many nations are facing blunt for running sweatshops, Srilanka is trying to create better working conditions for their laborers.
Taking a step away from traditional textiles Srilanka is also focusing on innovative fibers like pineapple and banana fibers. Largely an agrarian economy, Srilanka has a long road ahead in such path-breaking sectors. To attract investors Srilanka has managed to create a conducive business environment and flexible permit laws. Competing with Bangladesh, India, and Vietnam, Srilanka is now capturing markets in European Union.
As a nation vulnerable to climate change and its impact, it is of no shocker that Srilanka heavily focuses on climate-friendly and eco-conscious production. Hence Srilanks holds the record of building the first green apparel industry and Asia’s first carbon-neutral certified factory. Any Lankan apparel factories are acquiring net-zero carbon emission status.
Srilankan apparel sector has cut almost 70% of water expenses through the lean manufacturing process. Their effluent treatment, waste management, and emission reduction practices are on par with international standards and are constantly trying to push the envelope in sustainable production.
It has in-house brands that are committed socially and ecologically. Kasun Gunawardana has launched his brand KASUN which uses biodegradable natural yarns and dyes. Fabrics are woven by local artisans completing the social commitment of the brand.
House of Lonali uses up cycling as a technique to stay as eco-friendly as possible. Woven and stitched by artisans who are paid fair wages, the brand helps artisans to preserve their hereditary skills. Lonali also organizes workshops and volunteering activities to encourage people to start wearing garments that are made more consciously.
Being the logistical hub of South Asia, Srilanka also houses more than 3350 global brands – a number that is steadily rising.
Courtesy - Image courtesy: Youhana Nassif