Stakeholders from across the apparel industry supply chain are gearing up for the fourth Sri Lanka Design Festival, which is set to take place in the capital Colombo later this year.

The event centres on the South Asian Apparel Leadership Forum and the Ethical Fashion Forum, with participants also having opportunities to visit local manufacturing facilities and arrange one-on-one meetings with industry players.

The South Asian Apparel Leadership Forum is being held for the second time after making its debut last year.

It will not only engage key players in the global apparel value chain but will also focus on Sri Lanka's role as a fast-fashion hub providing value-added services. Confirmed participants include Mike Todaro, managing director of the American Apparel Producers Network (AAPN); Stephen Forte, managing director of global sales at Coats; and industry consultant David Birnbaum among others.

Event chairman Nikhil Hirdaramani describes the Forum as "unique," and says it will allow the entire supply chain to discuss key issues "with the right people in the room".

Sustainability is also set to return to centre stage this year with the Sustainability Forum putting eco-factories and ethical issues back in the spotlight.

Hirdaramani explains that Sri Lanka is looking to export to new markets, with China and India becoming "huge retail markets in their own right".

He adds that the development of new ports in the country means it will look to position itself as a future apparel gateway to South Asia. Not only does Sri Lanka's location make it an ideal hub location, but the government "is very supportive for this to be a reality".

The Sri Lanka Design Festival takes place from 14-18 November. Click here for further details.