Sri Lanka's multi-billion dollar fashion manufacturing industry has already made its mark on the international stage - but plans are also in the pipeline to recognise its rapidly expanding strength in design and creative development.

The first ever Sri Lanka Fashion and Apparel Awards (SLFAA) are due to take place later this year during the fifth Sri Lanka Design Festival to cast the spotlight on local fashion labels and aspiring designers.

"Our apparel industry's efforts in combining sustainability and design with cutting-edge fashion making are talked about in the global apparel sphere," explains Linda Speldewinde, founder of the Sri Lanka Design Festival (SLDF) and managing director of the Academy of Design (AOD). Indeed, some Sri Lankan fashion brands were selected to show at London Fashion Week earlier this year, she adds.

The Sri Lanka Fashion and Apparel Awards will be managed in partnership with the British Council, which works to promote the vision of the UK as the world's creative hub by sharing expertise and experience with other countries worldwide.

"Our involvement with the SLFAA is yet another example of our work through which we demonstrate the importance and power of the creative industries in a country's economy," notes British Council country director Tony Reilly. "We also conduct our own Young Creative Entrepreneur Awards which take place in Sri Lanka annually, recognising and supporting emerging creative entrepreneurs."

The awards will recognise the most influential personalities, organisations, partnerships and initiatives that have shaped Sri Lankan fashion and apparel, including individual and industry designers.

The winners will have the opportunity to travel to London to meet with retailers, buyers and designers, while the overall event will raise funds for two scholarships for the Northumbria University Design degree at the AOD International Design Campus.

Click here for more information.