4th of July was a special day for the sustainable fashion community in Sri Lanka. It was a great privilege to attend the Responsible Fashion Summit organized by Colombo Fashion Week. With a huge range of local and international industry experts as well as other stakeholders being present at the platform, it was a great opportunity to exchange ideas and learn from each other.
The key learnings from the designer perspective on disposal as a part of designer process was that as designers, our focus should emphasize quality and a design will withstand many trends. We understood this to mean that design should be both contemporary and versatile enough that it will be adaptable to any trend thereby extending the life-cycle of a garment.
The second learning was that in a sustainable business model, the traditional supply-chain becomes a value chain that adds value to all stakeholders. This means that from the farmer’s that grows cotton, the mills that spin yarn into fabric, designers and manufacturers of finished goods, transporters, retailers, and consumers contributions to the sustainability of the process is valued. We are delighted that our core business practices reflect the sustainable value chain from sourcing, production and particularly design.
This forum and the discussion that followed gave us opportunity for introspection in our business functions and gave us many ideas in how HOL wants to be involved in the conversation and action in sustainable fashion in the future. The discussion focused on both internal and external measures a company can take to ensure sustainability both internally and externally. Sharika Senanayake of MAS Holdings spoke about how responsibility in fashion can be a part of business plan and the baseline for decision making.
Ajay Amalean explained about the Eco Go Beyond program of MAS Holdings, of which HOL are a proud partner, with an aim to raise awareness on sustainability among the future generations of the country.
The announcement of an exciting initiative on waste recycling between MAS, Hiradramani and The Beira Group is an excellent example of collaborative action on recycling and environmental sustainability. Another great example of collaborative industry action, Hiradramani Group Director Nikhil Hiradramani outlined the implications of JAAF becoming a participant to the Social and Labour Convergence Project enabling the development of a common assessment framework and data collection system, dramatically increasing industry efficiency and reducing audit-related costs.
While we are happy to find that our internal business decisions are in line with a sustainable business model, listening to these industry leaders inspired us to contribute more to the greater conversation around responsible fashion and raising awareness on sustainable practices in Sri Lanka.