When it comes to the textile and apparel sector, China has often managed to steal the limelight from other Asian countries. Though success has come in plenty for China, other Asian countries like Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand are expected to give China a run for its money.

Sri Lanka has left an indelible mark on the apparel and textile world with its impressive 21.40 per cent growth in terms of quantitative expansion till October 2013. According to the United States Fashion Industry Association, Sri Lanka ranks 12th among the fastest growing apparel producing countries. The stage is set for Sri Lanka to play a bigger and greater role in the global textile and apparel market.

Conventional to contemporary

The Sri Lankan textile and apparel industry is focussing on achieving a target of US$ 8.5 billion by 2020. The country 's growth graph backs this target, as the industry recorded a growth of US$ 4.3 billion in 2013 and US$ 2.3 billion by June 2014. According to MPT Cooray, Secretary General of the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF), "The continuous success is heavily based on the sincere global relationships built by all the players in the industry over the years and it further strengthens." Sri Lanka is considered as one of the top apparel exporting nations of South Asia.

The textile and apparel sector has undergone several significant changes in the past decade in Sri Lanka. One of the major and most crucial changes is the induction of innovative technology and production of value added textiles. The country is working on further strengthening of design, inventory and product life cycle management.

Unlike the traditional approach that guided the textile and apparel sector, Sri Lanka has adopted a contemporary outlook and today every step, ranging from production to marketing and sale, is technology-laced. The country's upgraded machinery and sophisticated e-commerce portals have opened a direct access to European markets. The remarkable increase of 6.7 per cent in apparel exports to USA in 2014 from the figures of 2013 is another achievement of Sri Lanka. The country has become a home to luxury brands like Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Victoria's Secret and Gap which have opened manufacturing units in the country for apparel production. Apart from this, a number of European and Asian fabric suppliers continue to store fabrics in Sri Lanka, as the country's strategic geographic position assures quick regional shipping and also offers clearing in less than a day.

Advantage Sri Lanka

Amid a shift in the global textile and apparel sector, Sri Lanka has managed to provide quality assurance along with improved working conditions for labourers. The country is also known for its triple bottomline approach: People-Planet-Profit. This has won accolades all over the world.