Words Tina Edward Gunawardhana
Rising to the challenges of a post COVID-19 world, Sri Lankan designers reveal their game plans. Staring at the crosshairs of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sri Lankan economy is teetering on the brink of an economic abyss. The garment manufacturing industry in Sri Lanka has been brutally hit by the global economic fall out of the pandemic. As a precautionary measure in order to save valuable foreign currency, the Sri Lankan government has also temporarily halted the import of garments and lingerie to Sri Lanka. In the last decade and a half, the Sri Lankan fashion industry has been forging ahead at breakneck speed.
With the advent of Colombo Fashion Week many young Sri Lankan fashion designers were given the confidence to embark on their own fashion ventures with many opening up their own ateliers and retail stores. Homegrown Sri Lankan fashion brands were being lauded and supported by not only Sri Lankans but also foreign expatriates who had fallen in love with the passionate stories about sustainability and empowerment woven into the very fabric of the garments they created. Cottage industries such as bobbin lace and batik were enjoying a renaissance and business was on the up, until the dreaded COVID-19 raised its virulent head spreading malevolence in its wake.