The Lankan Ap­parel Odyssey

A low­down on the Lankan ap­parel scene

Apparel - - Front page -

40

While brows­ing the high streets of Colombo, you are bound to come across the top names of global fash­ion play­ing level field with the high priests and priest­esses of Sri Lankan fash­ion and ap­parel such as Odel, Bare­foot, Dilly and Carlo and so on and the jour­ney to this stage has surely been an in­ter­est­ing one.

A BRIEF CHRONOL­OGY OF THE JOUR­NEY OF THE TEX­TILE IN­DUS­TRY

The 1980s wit­nessed the grad­ual growth of Sri Lankan shores as an al­ter­na­tive av­enue to In­dia. This was pri­mar­ily on ac­count of its trade and in­vest­ment friendly poli­cies, as also the open eco­nomic pol­icy that the coun­try adopted. In 1985, the break­through came in the form of Martin Trust, a pi­o­neer in ‘speed sourc­ing’ for the Amer­i­can Fash­ion re­tail sec­tor forg­ing re­la­tions with Sri Lankan com­pa­nies. In the years 1986-87, the Trust formed part­ner­ships with the Omar Group and the Amalean Group to im­port knowl­edge and tech­nol­ogy into the Sri Lankan tex­tile space, thereby tak­ing the cal­i­bre of pro­duc­tion in the coun­try con­sid­er­ably higher.The Multi-Fi­bre Agree­ment proved to be the per­fect foil for Sri Lanka to po­si­tion it­self as the Asian gar­ment hub of the 90s.With the end of Multi-fi­bre Agree­ment regime in 2004, how­ever, the tex­tile in­dus­try be­gan to lag be­hind China and Bangladesh. By then, the strife was at its peak. With the end of the strife in 2009 and the new gov­ern­ment com­ing to power, the sec­tor is once again wit­ness­ing a boom. *Source : 2013 re­port by Che­lina Cap­i­tal Cor­po­ra­tion, Sri Lanka

THE 1980s WIT­NESSED THE GRAD­UAL GROWTH OF SRI LANKAN SHORES AS AN AL­TER­NATE AV­ENUE TO IN­DIA.

David Trust’s role in max­imis­ing the op­por­tu­ni­ties held forth in Sri Lanka in the gar­ment in­dus­try is widely recog­nised in the moniker he earned as ‘Fa­ther of Lanka’s Ap­parel In­dus­try.’ In 1994, he was con­ferred with the ti­tle of ‘Ran­jana’ by the Gov­ern­ment of Sri Lanka. His in­ter­est in the coun­try was clearly one of the mile­stones for the in­dus­try and this story of lead­er­ship, de­spite sev­eral twists and turns in the tale, con­tin­ues. Ac­cord­ing to the data pro­vided by the Sri Lanka Ap­parel Ex­porters’ As­so­ci­a­tion, the value of ex­ports for the month of Au­gust 2014 alone is US$ 244.1 mil­lion, and for the du­ra­tion of Jan­uary – Au­gust has been US$ 1,701.2 mil­lion. MAS Hold­ings, Brandix, Hir­dara­mani Group and Jay Jay Mills Groups are some of the key play­ers of this seg­ment who have been at the top in this highly com­pet­i­tive sec­tor.

COM­PET­I­TIVE AD­VAN­TAGES EN­JOYED BY SRI LANKA

Mo­han Per­era of Che­lina Cap­i­tal Cor­po­ra­tion, an in­vest­ment ad­vi­sory company based in Sri Lanka, re­cently pub­lished a re­port on the ap­parel in­dus­try of the coun­try. At the base are some nat­u­ral ad­van­tages such as Colombo be­ing ranked the best port in South Asia by Lloyd’s reg­is­ter and now ex­pe­ri­enced cargo and courier op­er­a­tors such as DHL and Ever­green have set up op­er­a­tions here too. The coun­try also boasts of well-de­vel­oped and fully ser­viced in­dus­trial es­tates at com­pet­i­tive costs within 30-50 kms dis­tance from the port/air­port. Thus, the cargo can be sent to the port and shipped within 24 hours.

Sri Lanka is a source of ready sup­ply of raw ma­te­ri­als with an ex­pand­ing re­source base. The coun­try is see­ing in­vest­ments in state-of-the-art tech­nol­ogy equipped tex­tile mills, fin­ish­ing plants and ac­ces­sory man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­tries to cater to an ever-in­creas­ing de­mand. In spite of be­ing a labour­in­ten­sive in­dus­try tra­di­tion­ally, mod­ern tech­nol­ogy is be­ing in­fused to en­hance ef­fi­ciency.

Sri Lanka also en­joys the dis­tinct ad­van­tage of a young and ed­u­cated work­force. With 50 per cent of the 19.6 mil­lion pop­u­la­tion be­ing un­der the age of 25 years and with high pro­fi­ciency in English (sec­ond best in Asia), hu­man cap­i­tal is ev­i­dently a huge ben­e­fit the in­dus­try en­joys.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.