From fashion weeks without shows to brands abandoning the traditional schedules, Covid-19 has thrown the industry into a state of flux.
by Zanita Careem
As the pandemic spread and its impacts grew, business world-wide shifted their priorities. The virus has crept almost into every industry including the fashion industry.
It was a hard toll on the industry; fashion weeks got cancelled and major retail departmental stores closed for weeks and months.
The fashion industry is likely to see a shift from consumer spending in large department stores and choosing independent shops. The reason is because social distancing is a necessity. The pandemic slowdown affected the industry, the new normal made consumers to show down their purchases. The designers saw a huge shift in consumer behaviour, affecting the fashion designers and retailers alike.
To evaluate the impact of Covid-19 on the industry we caught up with some of the reputed designers whose names are synonymous with fashion. Senake de Silva said the future is bleak and until things go back to normal, (but how long) it will it take months or perhaps years. Even if we recover it will never be the same again. “We might get back to 70 per cent of what the industry was by next may be,” Senake said.
The Sri Lankan apparel industry was one of the most significant contributors to the country’s economy. “We even had the first ever Sri Lankan apparel fashion show at the then Hotel Oberoi. It was possibly the very first time that a top French Couturier was in Colombo,” recollected Senake.
Sri Lankan apparel categories include sportswear, lingerie bridal wear and swimwear. These were of high quality and were exported to many countries. Recently the industry was affected by regular disturbances of the Covid-19. Fashion shows were cancelled, designers had no work. Fashion industry is one of the primary employers too. With supply chain broken and sales down and unsold stock in retail outlets we had to face major crises. This was all against a backdrop of consumer habits changing and attitudes shifting to consumptions said Lou Ching Wong. We cant compare ourselves to the west said Lou Ching .
Despite the lock-down, major cities in Europe had their fashion shows. The luxury brands like Gucci, Prada, YSL, Armani and Chanel to name a few. But here at home with complete closure, there were no shows or glamour events.
Sri Lankans have now started to reassess and re-prioritize what they spend money on. This resulted in fashion trends slowing down with designers left with nothing. Major fashion brands and retailers have been cancelling orders, including products made and waiting to be sent to stores. The reality is that we are forced to stay at our homes and many of us are financially burdened by lay-offs and the desire to buy new clothes is a distant dream. How long can you think the domestic fashion industry can sustain without sales? “We work in a very high circle and the fact is there are no demands so, I am not sure this will be sustainable. And unfortunately we are not like a Western economy that can afford to payout salaries.”
The industry is going to take a long recovery time. The only positive, if at all is hopefully to be able to use it to recalibrate the lifestyles that suit our people said Lou Ching Wong.
“The virus has left me vulnerable confronting an obliteration of sales, wage loss and employee lay-offs,” Ramani Fernando, a fashion icon and beautician said. “However, we are slowly but steadily working towards providing services to our customers under strict health guidelines. Now things are changing and I find many brides advancing their dates and calendars are filling up. However, I feel this crisis could present an opportunity to rethink of the industry.”
For Dinesh Chandrasena, an internationally recognized designer and a leading creative educator, the future seems bright!
“The fashion design and apparel manufacturing industries like all other businesses have been continuously evolving despite the Covid-19 pandemic. We, like the other industries, have been finding methods and systems to not just survive but actually maintain a positive business movement. I have worked in the fashion industry in Los Angeles since the mid-1990s and I have many colleagues who speak about their plans and strategies. I notice that the long term systematic outcomes that they work towards, are based on utilizing these uncertain times to re-evaluate and re-structure their immediate sphere in order to maximize efficiency while still underlining creative excellence”.
“As a creative practitioner and educator, I look at everything with a ‘glass half full’ mentality and believe it is up to us to find, create, and enhance methodologies that would bring a successful turn to these times” Dinesh said.
The designers expect fashion to come back in a big way, after the pandemic. They believe that people will return to the world in glamorous, trendy outfits once more. ‘Fashion is a pendulum’ goes an adage. It goes from one extreme to another and that will happen again here too.
Gayathri’s flair for style and elegance
Fashion has the incredible power to transform not just the way we look, but also the way we feel. It can empower individuals, boost their confidence and enable them to express their authentic styles She the vision founder behind Silk Wraps by Gees understands this better than most. Her journey from a passion for fashion to the creation of Silk Wraps by Gees is a story of perseverance, sustainability and a desire to revolutinise the way for clothing.From her young days, Gayathri had a natural flair for style found joy in dressing up, experimenting with textiles, and exploring the art of style.The sarees worn by celibrities here are designed by Gayathri Jayasinghe of Silk wraps by Gees
Q : Your journey to success and tell us about yourself?
A : Well to tell you about my self I’m Gayathri Sedara Senarath Jayasinghe.
I’m very courageous, sincere, witty and chill person of 48 years of age.town is Matara. Being the youngest in the family of two brothers I was always surrounded by much love and guidance throughout my childhood.
I was educated in St’ Mary’s Convent, Matara and I excelled well in my studies with eight distinctions at O levels and district rank number one at A levels and I completed my LLB at the University of Colombo.
I’m married to Mangala Jayasinghe , and I’m blessed with two beautiful young daughters Ranthini and Yoneli.
I always had a passion for fashion. Although I could pursue a career in the field of law, the love for fashion in my veins led me towards starting my own business in the field of fashion.
Q : Can you tell us about your journey as a women founder in the fashion industry and how you navigated any challenges along the way?
A : I always had a passion for fashion. Being a LLB graduate I could have easily pursued a career in the field of Law but my love for fashion has always led me to move towards a career in fashion industry. Before I stepped into designing I owned a fashion store, salon and spa under the name Gees gallery. I had to close down that business for personal reasons and after five years I identified a different need in the market and I re entered the industry with a new name and face. Today my fashion store , Silk Wraps by Gees is a renowned haute couture Fashion Studio and my dream for the future is to take my label to greater heights that will create a benchmark in the Sri Lankan fashion industry. Further I have plans to expand my business to few other avenues as well specially food and beverages in the near future .
Regarding navigating through challenges I must admit that once I entered into the industry I understood that it was not as easy as it looked from the outset and not always a glamorous world as it is believed to be. Behind the glamour there is hard work, stringent deadlines, last minute changes and many sleepless nights. Apart from these I had to face many other challenges in the process but these are all part and parcel of any career. With determination and motivation were strong factors I was able to navigate these obstacles that came up throughout my journey.
Q : Your fashion boutique and its specialisation?
A : My fashion boutique is called Silk Wraps by Gees. I create exclusive custom fitted clothing made from high quality fabrics. They are sewn with close attention to detail and finished by capable and dedicated tailors and seamstresses under my direction and is made specifically for the specific wearer. My range of products include Indian Sarees and kandyan outfits embellished with intricate hand work, simple yet elegant and easy to wear. Modern saree gowns,voluminous or tight fitting evening silhouettes and elaborate lehengas, in addition to all types of bridal and retinue outfits are my forte.
Q : What inspired you to become a designer and when did you realise you had a passion for fashion?
A : As I mentioned earlier my love for fashion has always led me to move towards a career in this field. I have always loved the transformative power of dressing up hence my passion to this field of work. I believe fashion is a language in itself and a vessel to carry groundbreaking messages out into the world.
My passion for fashion dates back to my birth I guess .I still recall how I used to constantly nag my mother by standing next to her sewing machine when she used to make clothes for me. As a little girl of eight or ten years, until I’m totally satisfied with my fitting and design I used to get my mom to alter my dresses.
Q : Can you tell us about your creative process when designing clothes for celebrities? How do you decide what suits them?
A : There is no such special process when it comes to celebrities. Every client is equally treated and given equal priority and importance . I simply love to innovative designs when I have to decide what suits a client . When I see a piece of fabric that a client chooses I picture hundreds of ways in which I can transform it into an artistic piece of clothing and out of those I get the client’s opinion too to do the final pick . I really enjoy all of the creative, artistic and technical aspects of designing. I also believe how to convert my mental picture to the final product. Further more I have the ability to understand and visualise my clients requirements and thereby able to enjoy total customer satisfaction with the delivery of the end product.
Q : What was the inspiration behind turning an entrepreneur?
A : Being an entrepreneur is fulfilling . You can transform your dreams and ideas into reality and you can create something artistic for the wearer
Q : Your design are known for their intricate detailing and luxurious fabrics. How do you source materials, and what goes into creating a truly exceptional peace?
A: I source materials from many places. I have suppliers in Bombay , Chennai and Dubai. I have many places in Sri Lanka as well.
I put my heart and soul into my creative process. I really enjoy all of the creative, artistic and technical aspects of designing. I believe i can interpret every aspect of life using art as a tool and can always bring revolutionary changes into the trends. Basically I could tell a story using the integral parts of my creation yet my creations stand exceptional.
What have been your personal milestones ?
A milestone for me was when we opened our first fashion boutique – it gave me a lot of joy and it showed me that I can grow my business. When you start out, you don’t know where this journey will take you and you think that you will have to always tend to every aspect of it. But opening Silk Wraps by Gees showed me that we had become a brand which can grow in the years to come.
Oman National Day : Time for Gratitude and Loyalty
by Zanita Careem
Shangri-La hotel was the venue for the Sultanate of Oman Ahamed Ali Said Rashdi to host a reception to celebrate thier 53rd National Day of the Sultanate of Oman. A large and distinguished gathering among whom were heads from the corporate sector, diplomats from many countries stood attention to the national anthems of both countries of Oman and Sri Lanka after which Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman to Sri Lanka spoke of the close ties between the two countries in elucidate confidence. Excerpts of the speech.
Thank you very much for being here with us to celebrate Oman’s 53rd National Day. Year after year, my country has celebrated this day. It is a chance for us to reflect on Oman’s past and draw inspiration for Oman’s future. We remember Oman’s renaissance and rally together to achieve further progress and development.
This year my priority is to reaffirm Oman’s unwavering support for the Palestinian people’s legitimate right to freedom, dignity, and self determination. Gaza is currently subject to brutal and random Israeli aggression. This aggression has killed tens of thousands of people, and injured many more, leaving their loved ones distraught. Civilian infrastructure, humanitarian facilities and homes have been destroyed. Hundreds of thousands are displaced. Let there be no doubt that this aggression has surpassed all justification. It flagrantly violates all human ethics.
Today, I call on all policymakers to listen to their conscience and do everything in their power to stop this senseless war immediately. I call upon everyone to do all you can to achieve peace, to support those civilians who are suffering, and to stop the violence. We must widen the passages for the entry of relief aid into Gaza. And we must intensify political action, to appeal to the international community to fulfill its moral and legal duty. History has proven the impossibility of a military solution to the Palestinian issue.
The only solution is to end the illegitimate Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and establish an independent Palestinian state, with the borders of June 4, 1967 and East Jerusalem as its capital. This solution is in accordance with international law and the resolutions of the United Nations. And the establishment of a two state solution is the clear objective of the Arab Peace Initiative. Oman takes this opportunity to emphasize that we are dedicating all our energy and capabilities to delivering security and peace at all levels. This means achieving justice for Palestinians. In our view, it is a moral imperative to stand alongside the legitimate Palestinian cause. In today’s world, it is impossible to be blind to the suffering. You cannot look the other way. And we have a responsibility to act in pursuit of justice, in whatever way we can.
Oman will continue to use all means available to achieve peace, security, and justice.
The Sultanate of Oman and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka are traditional friendly countries with the relations dating back over many decades. The two countries established full diplomatic relations and set up Resident Embassies in each other’s capitals, Sri Lanka opened its Embassy in Muscat in 1987, and in 2013 the Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman was opened in Colombo. The two countries celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the diplomatic relations in 17 February 2021. Both countries always strive to strengthen political and diplomatic cooperation.
Oman National carriers, Oman Air and Salam Air operate daily flights from Muscat to Colombo with future expansion plan. There are many Sri Lankan companies investing in the Sultanate of Oman and likewise many Omani companies investing in Sri Lanka. Several memorandum of understanding have been signed between the two countries with many more in the pipeline.
Oman Vision 2040 was set up as a fundamental guide for development between 2021 and 2040. It integrates reality with objective foresight. It aims to elevate Oman to the ranks of advanced countries in the fields of economy, society, environment, governance, and institutional development.
As part of Vision 2040, Oman is pursuing national strategies for economic diversification, energy transition, and carbon neutrality by 2050. Oman aims to take a leading position in the world’s green hydrogen industry. It has the main components necessary: abundant land, renewable energy potential, and human resources. Our experience in energy production and export, our strong international partnerships, and our position close to global markets and trade routes, will enable us to excel.
Festive luxury with Minor Hotels Sri Lanka
An unparalleled host of festive celebrations and getaways at the Minor Hotels Sri Lanka, home to the luxurious Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort, the enchanting Anantara Kalutara Resort, and the vibrant Avani Kalutara Resort said a press release.
There will be many extraordinary line-up of gastronomic journeys, elegant celebrations, and enchanting experiences, at each of thier unique resorts, during the holiday season.
Nestled on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle will be secluded paradise for a world of dazzling festivities and blissful relaxation. The release said reunite with family over a festive high tea at the lobby, indulge in a delectable Christmas feast at Journeys on Christmas Eve or usher in the new year at a stylish soirée with a toast to new beginnings as the sky lights up with magnificent fireworks. Opt-in for an exclusively intimate cliff-side dining experience with your better-half, with live entertainment, on the 31st of December and relish an authentic, Italian 5-course menu while sipping on the finest Champagne stated the release. Anantara Tangalle is prepared to mesmerize you with a fusion of classic Yuletide traditions and refined revelry.
The release said ” One can enjoy a delightfully sophisticated journey this season with Anantara Kalutara Resort- where contemporary luxury meets Sri Lankan hospitality. Indulge in a decadent dinner surrounded by your family as your kids are kept occupied with a myriad of kids’ activities, opt-in for an intimate candle-lit dinner on Christmas Eve with your better half or waltz into the new year, a glass of champagne in hand, and behold the magnificent fireworks painting the tranquil lagoon with splendour. Be a part of our 7-day count-down to Christmas where each day takes you on a nostalgic or immersive festive experiences. From Christmas movies nights by the lawn, festive mixology lessons and poolside Yuletide quiz nights, the team is geared up to keep the resort buzzing with joyous activities.
The release said in December at Avani Kalutara Resort and embrace the sun, sea and the sparkle. Sip tropical cocktails by the pool, enjoy a delectable Christmas lunch on the 25th December with your loved ones or shimmer and shine at the New Year’s Eve countdown party as you end the year on a high note. The Christmas eve dinner buffet at #AvaniKalutara is an exceptionally festive affair with an unmatched international flair, live entertainment, and kids’ activities.
December brings friends and family from across the world together and each of our resorts offer state-of-the-art villas and suites with stunning views and upscale amenities for the perfect holiday unwind said the release.
The release said there will be a seamless blend of authenticity, luxury, seasonal warmth and genuine celebration as we invite you to join Minor Hotels Sri Lanka for a unique experience for your festive family reunions and warm gatherings.
About Minor Hotels : Minor Hotels is a renowned name in the world of hospitality, with a portfolio of luxurious properties that reflect our commitment to delivering exceptional experiences. We believe in turning moments into memories, and our resorts in Sri Lanka are no exception.For reservations and more information, please visit our respective websites. Embrace the joy of the season with Minor Hotels Sri Lanka, where every moment is a celebration.
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