Sri Lanka can be made an ‘apparel isle’ – Brandix Lanka Ltd. Director Udena Wickremesooriya

The country’s apparel industry should look for new business models which could help Sri Lanka get ahead of the innovation curve, a sector specialist recommended last week.

Brandix Lanka Ltd. Director Udena Wickremesooriya said Sri Lanka could become an ‘apparel isle’ similar to Silicon Valley by getting ahead of the innovation curve. 
“Innovation has been the key driver and if we could create something like Silicon Valley in this country, we could lead this revolution globally,” Wickremesooriya told an evening lecture on ‘Supply Chain Revolution in Global Fashion Industry’ organised by The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Sri Lanka (CILTSL) held last week in Colombo.

Asserting that the apparel industry was waiting to be disrupted, he said the business model that we are so used to from product, demand forecasting, supply to consumption was nearly dead.
“We are all efficiency-driven and we keep on flogging this productivity horse to death, but this whole productivity logic and cost efficiency comes from the industrial era. We are not in the industrial era anymore; we have passed that and gone to the internet era, idea era and now the digital era. Efficient logic doesn’t belong in here. It’s high time we move on!” he explained.
Outlining future clothing possibilities, he added: “If you look at how technologies are evolving, there are multiple horizons and 3D printing is certainly possible. I think holographic clothing and virtual clothing are not too far away. I’m not an Archimedes, but I’m betting my dollar on this because the change will happen much faster than we expect.”

With the application of new technology, the industry will shift the decision making process and physical making process closer to each other, while eliminating duplication and enabling substantially low prices in clothing.

Urging the industry to think about possibilities in the digital era, Wickremesooriya said: “We change clothes for different occasions and it’s messy to change. Why not be virtual? 3D printing is coming for sure. I don’t know how it will happen or when it will happen, but it will surely happen.”

Pic by Upul Abayasekara