Blog: Leonie BarrieSri Lanka: a design destination?

Leonie Barrie | 27 November 2009

It’s two years since I last visited Sri Lanka, and I’m flying out again this-evening to take part in the country’s first ever Design Festival which runs over the next week or so.

The event aims to put Sri Lanka on the map as a source of design as well as a manufacturing destination, and with retailers including Topshop, Warehouse, Asos and Monsoon expected to attend too, the lure of new cost effective creative solutions is obviously too much to resist. 

Already established as Sri Lanka's largest export earner, the garment industry shipped goods worth US$3,469m in 2008 – the majority of which went to the US and Europe.

But there are also storm clouds looming on the horizon – despite efforts by local manufacturers to offer retailers a complete supply package, including hefty investments in some of the world’s first ever eco-friendly apparel factories, a socially responsible ‘Garments without Guilt’ manufacturing policy, and new textile parks to balance a shortfall in locally produced fabrics and accessories.

Chief among these are worries the European Commission is about to punish Sri Lanka over alleged human rights abuses in the last stages of the civil war against the Tamil Tigers by recommending the withdrawal of GSP+ benefits that have helped garment firms prosper in trade with the EU.

Coupled with the slowdown in business during the recession, which has already seen retailers cut margins, lower inventories and put even more pressure on their suppliers to keep prices low, losing a concession that keeps prices down couldn’t have come at a worse time. So it’ll be interesting to hear what local firms have to say, and whether a focus on design really will be enough to save the day.


BLOG

Complexities of multi-channel pricing, sourcing and stock control

The fashion industry is operating in a multi-channel world – but when it comes to managing this approach, it seems there is no unanimity of best practice (and often no best practice at all) on multi-c...

BLOG

Fashion firms struggle on speed to market

Fashion firms are continuing to wrestle with the challenges of taking decisions quickly and meeting deadlines – and admit they are struggling to speed their go-to-market processes to keep up with fast...

BLOG

Why cotton is being battered on all fronts

Cotton is being battered on all fronts, from false information campaigns, to competition from synthetic alternatives, and a changing consumer. The challenge now facing the cotton industry is how to re...

BLOG

New businesses shaking up a broken retail model

The convergence of disruptive new technologies, easy access to cheap capital, and changing consumer attitudes are shaking up an already-broken retail model, according to speakers at last week's IAF Wo...

just-style homepage



Forgot your password?