From the wardrobe of princess Kuweni to that of the boss ladies (and gentlemen of course) of today, the fashion scene of Sri Lanka has changed and evolved drastically throughout history.
This metamorphism happening in the fashion arena of this tiny paradise island is in some cases keeping up with the trends and shifts in the global fashion world and in some instances is in tune to her own beat.
The story of the emergence of clothing in Sri Lanka is unclear but undoubtable the art of dressing has gone through many transformations through time. From the occasional foreign involvement in history and the fashion influx that follows, to the exposure to globalization and mass media, the fashion industry of Sri Lanka today is a melting pot of many traditions and styles from all corners of the world.
With time the fashion movement of Sri Lanka is moving forward at a staggering pace and is starting to flourish as an industry with a cause.
With the surge of new e-commerce platforms and the inflow of international retail experiences we islanders, are not so behind in playing catching up and embracing what’s “IN” in the global fashion domain.
But whatever trends and Fads that come and go, the Lankan fashion scene will always have a constant, her island culture and her roots.
By today the fashion capital of Sri Lanka is beaming with store fronts bearing the names of international and local high end fashion labels and is home to many fashion events spanned through the year. With exposure to such, the local consumers are getting increasingly conscious about the details of fashion which was not the case a few decades ago.
Not just the influx in to the country but many Lankan based designers and brands have started to make a name for themselves in the international arena, and slowly but surely Sri Lanka is turning in to a fashion destination giving rise to opportunities for young creatives to blossom and thrive.
When considering the global domain, fashion is divided in to a few segments such as, Haute Couture and Couture, Ready-To-Wear/ Prêt-à-Porter, Diffusion, Bridge and Mass market –The one we know the best!
But when it comes to the Lankan scene these divisions are a little bit blurred. We are yet to embrace fully the concept of fashion brands and designer labels. We are so used to the concept of fast fashion or SMEs when it comes to our fashion needs that they have become what we know and adore.
We still have a long way to go, but here are a few key global trends that Sri Lankan brands should consider embracing:
Sustainability the authentic way – even though the movement of sustainability and responsible fashion has become a trend of a sort, we islanders have had this concept as a part of our day to day lives throughout generations.( don’t trust me? Go Ask your grandma) but when it comes to everyday fashion and particularly the fast fashion movement we need to embrace sustainability more. Words such as recycling, up cycling and thrifting should be given more importance and should be accessible to people to embrace.
Tech meets Fashion- The global fashion movement in the future seems to be leaning towards increasing tech and fashion collaborations and producing something innovative.
Material revolution– circling back to the concept of sustainability we Lankans should venture in to the depths of the island and its history to find more sustainable and accessible novel materials that will help the local economy as well as the environment.
Bye Bye to fast fashion and hello to individuality- yes we do see a movement of people trying to go against the current of fast fashion and to establish an individuality now a days, but we still have a long way to go!
Metamorphic designs/ utilitarian fashion– By today, fashion is not just an object of beauty, it has much more to do than just the esthetic appeal. From cloths that have solar panels to outfits that can be worn in different ways, metamorphism is “in” folks, and we islanders need to pick up!
Embracing minimalism- Gone are the days when people thought more was more!
Tradition + Modernity- Need to explore the possibility of merging traditional modern creativity. We are an artistic bunch, aren’t we?
The fashion industry of this island has many more new and potential avenues that we need to tap into to bring it to a global scale. Also the local brands, designers and influencers need to watch out for the newest trends, movements and shifts that’s happening outside our little island and work on incorporating them in our design process in a way that it will be palatable for the local audience.