Sri Lanka Apparel Brands Association and Royal Turf Club to promote Sri Lanka’s apparel brands
The Sri Lanka Apparel Brands Association (SLABA) together with The Royal Turf Club will stage the Royal Turf Club SLABA Runway 2016, featuring the cream of Sri Lanka’s apparel brands who will showcase their products at what will be the first of an annual ramp extravaganza!
Royal Turf Club SLABA Runway 2016 will take place on 21 September at the Hilton Colombo Ballroom, at 6:30 p.m. and promises to be a unique event, with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe gracing the event as the Chief Guest.
The SLABA membership which has over 60 members representing the cream of local fashion including Reborn, EKKO, Emerald, Signature, Manzari, Trendy, Rough, Arista, LiCC Jeans, Rainco, JEZZA, Avirate, GFlock, Dmaxx, Aurora, Anationz, Perri Allen, Vantage, Uptown Kandy, Andre, and many others, will showcase their brands with title sponsor, the Royal Turf Club partnering with them in what is ‘a perfect fit’, seeing that horse racing and fashion are synonymous worldwide.
Speaking at the media briefing held in this connection, SLABA President Indradatta Dharmawardena said: “SLABA represents a multitude of Sri Lankan apparel brands that contribute to the country and economy as a whole. The brainchild of Deshamanya A.Y.S. Gnanam, today the retail clothing industry in Sri Lanka is estimated at $ 2 billion and above, with 50% of the market share being contributed by apparels made in Sri Lanka.
It is our aim to establish an annual event where both industry and non industry high net worth individuals could interact, exchange ideas and forge links for the overall betterment of not just the apparel industry but the economy of the country.”
Dharmawardena welcomed the Royal Turf Club on board and expressed his appreciation of RTC coming on board as their Title Partner. “Whether it be Royal Ascot, the Melbourne Cup, the Dubai Cup and here up in Nuwara Eliya, fashion and horse racing go hand in hand and we welcome the Royal Turf Club as our long term partner.”
He also thanked Ramani Fernando Salons and the Hilton Colombo for coming on board with SLABA as their Hair and Make Up Partner and Partner Hotel.
Royal Turf Club CEO Wayne Wood said they were delighted to partner SLABA and help promote such a vital segment of the Sri Lankan economy.
“The Royal Turf Club since its inception has set new standards for horse racing, equine care, veterinary facilities, track upgradings, the setting up of a Stud Book, and of course bringing back haute couture to the race track. In this light we feel that our partnership with SLABA is timely and appropriate and can only be a win-win situation for both parties,” said Wood.
Royal Turf Club President Suranjith Premadasa said that fashion and horse racing are inseparable and complement each other both on as well as off the track.
“The Royal Turf Club decided to partner with SLABA as we feel there is a lot of synergy between our two organisations and what we promote and stand for. The garment industries corner stone is fashion and its constantly evolving trends, while whether it be Royal Ascot, the Epsom Derby, the Melbourne Cup, or the Dubai Cup, fashion has always been at the forefront, with passion being the driving force in both, hence this really is a tailor made partnership.”
RTC Consultant Cyrus Madan, speaking at the gathering, said: “Horse racing is a noble and ancient sport with its origins and traditions dating back to around 4500 BC, amongst the nomadic tribes of Central Asia. Known as the ‘Sport of Kings’, horse racing was first introduced to Sri Lanka by John Baker when in the 1840s he created a training course for his imported English thoroughbreds.”
Amongst the well-known riders of yesteryear are Sir Chittampalam A. Gardiner, Mallory Wijesinghe, H. Moosajee and Asker Moosajee, Vernon Rajapakse, Donovan Andree and his wife Erin de Selfa, Robert Senanayake, G.B.S. Gomes, C. Sathananthan and his wife Sheila, S.R. De Silva and several other racing luminaries.
“The Nuwara Eliya Race Course has been restored to its former glory due to the untiring efforts of the Royal Turf Club and being situated at over 6000 feet above sea level, makes it one of the highest race courses in the world,” said Madan.
SLABA Secretary Shakir Hafeez said that as a forum, SLABA brings together different product portfolios of branded Sri Lankan apparel. “SLABA operates as a facilitator in developing the apparel brands segment in Sri Lanka and the membership body. We have a 60 plus active member representation and there are hundreds of other companies in the island producing for the domestic market.”
Hafeez went on to say that SLABA works together closely with the Government of Sri Lanka and non-government organisations such as Finance Ministry, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, EDB, Chamber of Commerce, and JAFF to develop the industry and possibly explore other market access through their support and efforts.
“Sri Lankan brands are doing a phenomenal job and the quality of goods produced here are of excellent design and quality. It is deemed that Sri Lankan brands given the right support and platform to perform locally can also become global brands,” said Hafeez.
Lalantha Watudura, Chairman and Exco Member of the Organising Committee of SLABA, outlined the event that will take place on 21 September. “A fashion show which will showcase the cream of Sri Lanka’s apparel brands, bringing you over 160 outfits, representing 20 brands and choreographed by Brian Kerkoven, the Royal Turf Club SLABA Runway 2016 promises to be a show like no other.”
Watudura also said that it was SLABA’s intention to stage an annual trade show targeting overseas markets in the near future.
The brands which will take to the ramp on that day are Reborn, EKKO, Emerald, Signature, Manzari, Trendy, Rough, Arista, LiCC Jeans, Rainco, JEZZA, Avirate, GFlock, Dmaxx, Aurora, Anationz, Perri Allen, Vantage, Uptown Kandy and Andre.
“Entertainment, cocktails and interaction with the crème de la crème of Sri Lanka’s apparel industry, will ensure that 21 September will indeed be a night to remember,” said Watudura.
“As a world class apparel manufacturing hub, the growth of the local apparel export industry has reaped dividends for the Sri Lankan economy. Some of our members such as amante, Avirate, Emerald, Hameedias and Reborn have made strides in international markets bringing in valuable foreign exchange and recognition for local apparel brands, setting standards and establishing manufacturing skills that have undoubtedly benefitted the economy,” said Tania Abeysundara, Exco Member – Organising Committee SLABA.
Well-known hair stylist and beautician Ramani Fernando said she was pleased to be associated with such a noteworthy event and looked forward to a long association with SLABA.
“The Hilton Colombo has always come forward to promote a worthy cause and the Royal Turf Club SLABA Runway 2016 is definitely an event we want to be associated with,” said Hilton Colombo’s GM Manesh Fernando.
A mini fashion parade giving everyone present a foretaste of what’s in store for them on 21 September concluded the proceedings, with SLABA poised to take the local industry to another level, taking local brands to global markets, aided and abetted no doubt by their Title Partner the Royal Turf Club.