In the world of apparel manufacture, Sri Lanka has a special place. With a reputation for adhering to ethical sourcing and ethical manufacturing processes and a penchant for quality, Sri Lanka is at the forefront of the production of top-of-the-line designer apparel.
Sri Lanka’s apparel industry boomed in the late 1980s and early 1990s, as the prevailing government took full use of an opportunity to generate foreign exchange for the country. Garment manufacturers were given incentives such as tax breaks and subsidies, and factories started being established in all parts of the country. Rural areas saw jobs being created and infrastructure being developed like never before. What’s more, from the inception, Sri Lankan apparel manufacturers strictly emphasised the need to implement a good code of ethics in raw material sourcing, manufacture, wastage, and employee safety and well-being. The ideas of sweatshops and child labour are non-existent in any industry within the country, and the apparel industry is no exception.
Sri Lankan apparel manufacturers started looking towards the future and started competing in terms of quality vs. volume. Sri Lanka soon became known as the go-to destination for manufacturing high-fashion apparel brands. Among the brands that are manufactured in Sri Lanka are Victoria’s Secret, GAP, Diesel, Next, and Marks & Spencer. Walk into any high-street clothing retailer in the US or Europe and invariably, you will see that top-of-the-line garments including T-shirts, dresses, and innerwear are made in Sri Lanka. This is a badge of honour that apparel manufacturers in the country wear with pride.
The Sri Lanka Apparel Brands Association (SLABA) has been incorporated in order to provide a platform for Sri Lankan apparel and apparel accessory manufacturers to join forces to achieve common objectives.
SLABA has over 60 members who are committed to providing high-quality garments for the local and international markets. With several decades of producing garments for international brands behind them, Sri Lankan apparel manufacturers have, of late, started to create their own brands using the experience, skills, and talent pool that Sri Lanka has acquired over the years. With such brands coming through, and the niche that the country has carved in the apparel industry, Sri Lanka is the ideal country to provide turnkey solutions for garment retailers all over the world.