Each year 250,000 Sri Lankans reach the job market looking for new working opportunities. Since the government sector is filled to the brim, private sector organizations in Sri Lanka is faced with the responsibility of providing 8 out of 10 new jobs, which makes the spark of entrepreneurship, a necessity more than an option today.
Sri Lanka's seafood exports to the European Union picked up 19.9 percent in July 2016 from a year earlier, following the lifting of a ban, and apparel exports rose 3 percent, but lower commodity prices have hit petroleum and tea.
Exports fell 4.4 percent to $891.2 million in July 2016 from a year earlier and imports fell 6.6 percent to $1,432 million dollars, shrinking the trade balance 10 percent to $541 million, official data showed.
With a specialised knowledge and improved awareness, apparel manufacturers makes nearly 90% of the apparel industry in Sri Lanka and joint ventures between local garment manufacturers and international fashion houses accounts for almost three quarters of the garment manufacturing facilities in the country.
While Sri Lankan apparel manufacturers have long being producing latest of designs for leading fashion houses like Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, C&A, Calvin Klein, Chantelle Group, Columbia, Gap, Gloria Vanderbilt, Intimissimi, Lands’ End, Marks & Spencer, Next, Old Navy, Polo Ralph Lauren, Sainsbury, The Limited, and Victoria’s Secret, a number of local fashion designers, produced by local design academies are creating their own niche in global fashion scene.
Leading a local movement to establish a new fashion trend that embraces the Sri Lankan heritage, a group of young fashion designers are creating unique designs in high street fashion, haute couture and sports wear for local and global market.
Sri Lanka's bold initiative in promoting value against volume in a highly competitive global market succeeded in earning the country an export revenue of nearly Rs. Five billion through garment exports in the last year, placing the local fashion and garment industry as the top foreign revenue earner over traditional exports like Tea, coconut and tourism.
After the discontinuation of global quota system in apparels in the year 2005, Sri Lankan garment manufacturers came up with a clever placement of Sri Lankan apparel trade as the most ethical source of garment manufacturing in the world.
Having built itself a global reputation for environment sustainable and labour friendly practices, Sri Lankan apparel manufacturers are seeking to infuse local designs, material and fabrics in to the production of fashion apparels for global market, in an ambitious attempt to develop Sri Lanka in to an Asian fashion giant.
Refined into an art at the royal courts of Portugal and developed into an industry in the annals of Dutch Galle, the delicate art of beeralu or Dutch lace making has endured the test of time over generations.
Once an essential part of the dress of a Southern Belle, Dutch lace is making a comeback in the local fashion scene, thanks to a large number of young designers, who are seeking to add a local touch to their international designs.
In a post-quota era, where competition with mass garment manufacturers is destructive to the workforce as well as to the industry, Sri Lankan garment manufacturers have reinvented themselves as environment friendly, ethical employers of labour.
With the ending of the global quota system in apparels in the year 2005, Sri Lankan garment manufactures were faced with two extreme options. The first was to compete with global giants in mass garment manufacturing in India, Bangladesh, Vietnam and China and the second was to go for a less competitive yet highly risky option of re-branding themselves as eco-friendly and labour friendly producers of quality garments.
CEMS-Global USA’s three comprehensive international exhibitions focused on the entire textile and garment sector of Sri Lanka – ‘6th Textech Sri Lanka 2015 International Expo,’ an international exhibition on textile garment technology and machinery,’ along with concurrent exhibitions ‘20th Dye+Chem Sri Lanka 2015 Int’l Expo,’ an int’l exhibition on dyes and fine and specialty chemicals, and ‘6th Colombo Int’l Yarn & Fabric Show 2015’ kicked off yesterday at the Sri Lanka Exhibition & Convention Centre (SLECC), Colombo. The exhibitions will run through 14 March.
Sri Lanka’s apparel industry is well on its path to meet the apparel export target of US $8.5 billion by 2020. Apparel exports which bring the largest export income to the country have recorded an increase of 9.26% YoY by earning US $4.9 billion in the year of 2014. In 2013, earnings from apparel rose by 13% YoY, recording a $4.5 billion surpassing the US $4 billion target initially set by the apparel industry.
The storied iconic brands in the fashion industry, say, Nike, Diesel, Victoria’s Secrets, Mark & Spencer, H & M, GAP, NEXT, Levi’s among many others that are synonymous with exceptional fashion clothing rely on Sri Lanka as their topmost Apparel Sourcing Destination. Sri Lankan Apparel Exports mainly include Casual Wear, Fashion Wear, Intimate Wear, Swim Wear, Sports Wear, Uniform & Workwear and Children's Wear.
Thanks to an abundance of trainable and skilled labour force, technology infrastructure and visionary leadership, Sri Lankan Apparel industry has seen rapid growth and earned the trust and loyalty from the world leading Fashion brands that are unblinkingly strict about quality and socially compliant manufacturing practices.
Amidst a number of countries that export apparel, Sri Lanka enjoys a privileged position as a prime sourcing destination for garments without guilt. At the heart of this phenomenal success lies the philosophy that ‘Ethical Business is not a practice but a way of life’. The official website of Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) proclaims “We take pride in saying that Ethical Business Practices and Responsible Commerce at Sri Lanka's Apparel Industry are not a response to increasing need and demand for 'Ethical Products' and satisfy Business Compliance, but has been a Way of Life for last 30 years across the 350 plants and over 1 Million strong workforce.”
The exports of textiles and garments from the island nation of Sri Lanka surged by 23.4 percent year-on-year in the first month of 2014, according to a press release on ‘External Sector Performance – January 2014’ issued by the Economics Research Department of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.
Textiles and garments, which is the main contributor to the growth in industrial exports from Sri Lanka, grew by 23.4 percent to US$ 412 million in January 2014, compared to exports of $333.9 million made during the same month last year.