Over the last decade, as Asia emerged as the leading outsourcing destination for the global fashion industry, Sri Lanka stood alone as the only country that embraced the principles of 'Ethical Business and Manufacturing Practices' as a way of life.
The Government of Sri Lanka, through the Ministries of Finance, Industrial Development and Export Development and International Trade, has always proactively supported this cause. With its aid, Sri Lanka Apparel is today the world's No.1 ethical apparel outsourcing destination.
The Export Development Board has been one of Sri Lanka Apparel's biggest supporters in its efforts to take 'Garments Without Guilt' to the world.
"Anil Koswatta, Chairman and his team at the EDB have been invaluable to us in ensuring stability for the industry. They have also helped with image building, marketing and improving productivity through both financial means and proper policy direction," said A. Sukumaran, Chairman of Sri Lanka Apparel.
A new milestone in their campaign came last month as Sri Lanka Apparel presented 'Garments Without Guilt' at the 13th WWD Apparel/Retail CEO Summit in New York on 9 and 10 November.
Hosted by Women's Wear Daily (WWD), long touted as the last word in Everything Fashion, the topics at the Summit ranged from the urgent need to change the fashion system and build a hot brand to the outlook for holiday sales and the evolving US trade policy.
In attendance were over 200 CEOs and Presidents from such leading companies as Aeropostale, Bloomingdales, Chanel, Christian Dior, Lululemon Athletica, Giorgio Armani, Jones Apparel Group, Macy's, Marc Jacobs, Phillips-Van Heusen, Saks Inc, Under Armour, and VF Corporation, to name just a few.
The speakers included Stella McCartney, Kevin Plank and Ronald Frasch of Saks Inc., Emmanuel Chirico of Phillips-Van Heusen, Donna Karan, Martha Stewart, Marc Jacobs, Sir Martin Sorrell and many others.
The Summit brought together the leading minds of the fashion world. It encouraged discussions, lectures and debates on the current economic situation and its impact on retail, brand building strategy and on the need for environmental and ethical practices in apparel manufacturing.
This was, of course, the ideal forum to present 'Garments Without Guilt.' The EDB was quick to see the merit of having Sri Lanka Apparel make their presence felt there.
"We are extremely grateful to the Export Development Board for their support and pro-active sponsoring of our participation at this exclusive forum. It has opened up a new vista of export promotion for us by the creation of a national identity, which has served to benefit the entire industry," said Rohan Masakorale, Secretary General, JAAF.
Kumar Mirchandani, who champions the marketing initiatives at JAAF, calls the Summit "the most important gathering in which the industry has ever participated." Sri Lanka's participation was a landmark achievement in itself, and the evident and growing global concern for ethical manufacturing practices made its involvement in the Summit even more fortuitous and timely.
Today, consumers the world over insist on ethical manufacturing practices, and no longer ignore the where and how of the manufacturing processes and ethical standards behind the products they buy.
Against this backdrop, Sri Lanka Apparel has long been recognised as the leaders in ethical manufacturing, and received a warm welcome into the forum. With the global fashion industry finally awakening to the need for ethical manufacturing practices, all eyes are now on the island nation that heralded the change. As international brands are forced to take a more responsible stand, the opportunities opening for Sri Lanka Apparel are endless.
Source : Daily Mirror