Interview with Michel Abeysekera

Michel Abeysekera
Michel Abeysekera

Australians like to support local designers but also love to access international brands...
With Fibre2Fashion Correspondent Cindrella Thawani, Michel Abeysekera talks about peculiar spheres of apparels where opportunities are emerging, further he says, Australia’s e-fashion industry is getting early acceptance. Synopsis: The Council for Textile and Fashion Industries of Australia (TFIA) is the amplified voice of Australia’s textile clothing and fashion industry and it plays a key advocacy role for the issues concerning this industry as well as encourage R&D with in the sector. Moreover TFIA also provides information and expert advice on the wide range of government assistance programs available to the industry. Further, its role is to strengthen industry capability and capacity – via collaborations and projects such as the Textile & Fashion Hub which aim to assist Australian TCF businesses. Michel Abeysekera caters as the President of TFIA. Besides, he serves as the CEO of LM Australasia, a major pioneer in seamless garment technology. Michel Abeysekera caters as the President of TFIA. Besides, he serves as the CEO of LM Australasia, a major pioneer in seamless garment technology. Excerpts:

How do you see the Australian textile market for the new entrants in terms of investment?

There are always opportunities for new entrants to join Australia’s market – as long as they have a unique proposition and have done their homework into what is required and what works. Australia has multiple sectors within the textile industry from defence and protective-wear to automotive, furnishings and construction, so there are still many opportunities available. There is no question with the low tariffs and Australian dollar trading above parity is making market conditions highly competitive. And, those companies who survived to do so because they have innovated and produced a value added niche product. Australia can no longer compete with the high volume cheap product. With a shrinking local manufacturing industry the successful textile companies are the ones that took a collaborative approach to grow both locally and internationally and that are now focusing on the safe use of chemicals. Additive manufacturing and 3D printing holds huge opportunities for Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and will eventually reshape both the textile and apparel industry.

What kind of opportunities do you see that is growing in the apparel industry of Australia?

The apparel industry in Australia has experienced nearly 30 years of restructure. It is regulated by complex legislation and a rigid labour regime, which puts a heavy administrative burden on SMEs. Most apparel production is outsourced to Asia including China, India and the South Pacific. Areas where apparel opportunities are developing includes performance and sportswear, uniforms and niche fashion. For a successful apparel business, it needs to be agile and responsive with compelling products. As with the textiles, innovation and design technology are crucial. And a strong focus on product safety is must. From a design and fashion perspective, there has been a return to an interest in the artisan and an understanding in the importance of heritage design and production – focusing on the skills and the story behind the product – provenance.
Published on: 01/08/2012

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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