Connect with us

Life style

Fashion’s new order

Published

on

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.



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Life style

When Marine Mammals Come Ashore

Published

on

WNPS Monthly Lecture

By Anouk Ilangakoon

On Thursday December 9,

at 6.30 pm via Zoom

Marine mammals in Sri Lankas waters include whales, dolphins, porpoises and the dugong. All of these marine mammals spend their entire life cycle in the ocean. Therefore, when marine mammals come ashore it is immediately obvious that something is very wrong. So, lets discus why and how this happens, and what we should do when it happens. When marine mammals get beached or stranded out of the water it is a very dangerous situation for them as they cannot survive very long away from their natural aquatic environment due to several reasons. As a result, when live strandings occur it is of the utmost importance to try to help these animals as quickly as possible.

However, it is equally important to handle such situations in a manner that does not add to the distress of the stranded animal or injure it further in the process of trying to help it. When we talk about strandings however, this also includes the carcasses of already dead animals that wash up on our beaches. While in the case of live strandings the priority should be to help the animals get back in the water, for researchers carcasses of dead animals can be equally important as they can provide an immense amount of vital information. Therefore, it is important to have proper protocols in place to deal with all marine mammal strandings particularly in countries like Sri Lanka where we have high diversity and year-round occurrence.

Anouk Ilangakoon

Anouk has studied marine mammals in the waters around Sri Lanka since 1985 and has a Master of Science degree based on her research on small cetaceans off the west coast. In addition to her work in Sri Lanka, over the past two decades she has been involved in several marine mammal research initiatives in the south and southeast Asian region including projects in Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Bangladesh and India.

She is a member of the Cetacean Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, the Aquatic Mammals Working Group of the Convention on Migratory Species Scientific Council and the Sirenian Specialist Group (Indian Ocean Region). She published the first guidebook on the whales and dolphins of Sri Lanka in 2002. She has also contributed chapters for several other books both national and international on the subject of cetaceans and sirenians and has published over 50 scientific papers in peer reviewed journals. She was also the recipient of the President’s Award for Scientific Publication in 2014.

The NTB WNPS Public Lecture is presented in association with Nations Trust Bank and open to all.

Please sign up here https://forms.gle/84v3rgkFhYtJ4zBcA

Continue Reading

Life style

Intimate partner violence

Published

on

The iconic Colombo Municipal Council building was illuminated in orange with messaging on the national women’s helpline and Mithuru Piyasa hotline to place a spotlight on intimate partner violence and encourage more women to seek help.

The illumination organised by UNFPA in collaboration with the Colombo Municipal Council and the High Commission of Canada, launched the 16 days of global activism against gender-based violence in Sri Lanka with a focus on intimate partner violence. The intervention is the culmination of a trilingual national media campaign on intimate partner violence highlighting evidence from the Women’s Wellbeing Survey (WWS), Sri Lanka’s first national survey on women and girls.

Many women who experienced sexual violence by a partner did not seek formal help anywhere.

 Encouraging more victims to seek help and ensuring support systems are available and accessibility is essential for the recovery and prevention of violence against women and girls in Sri Lanka.

Speaking on the importance of collective action to end intimate partner violence Colombo Mayor, Rosy Senanayake, “Violence against women can happen to anyone, anywhere so it is vital that we talk about this issue widely. She said she was happy to be collaborating yet again with UNFPA to raise awareness on this very pertinent issue.”

The 2019 Well Being survey found one in four 24.9 cent women have experienced physical and sexual violence since age 15 by a partner or non partner.

Intimate partner violence is the most common form of sexual violence impacting millions of women worldwide Covid 19 lockdown and travel restriction have disrupted women’s access to life saving sexual and reproductive wealth sciences.

Physical, sexual or psychological harm by a partner is a major factor in maternal and reproductive health of mothers and newborns pointed out the 2019 Women’s Wellbeing survey.

For example, women suffering from intimate partner violence are less likely to use or even have a say in using contraception which would lead to unplanned pregnancies.

The Survey found that one in five (20.4%) women in Sri Lanka have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner. The survey also found that women who experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner had contemplated suicide; highlighting the serious repercussions violence has on the lives of women and girls.

Highlighting the importance of policies that take the evidence of the WWS into account Mr. Daniel Joly, Counsellor and Head of Development Cooperation, High Commission of Canada in Sri Lanka stated “The Government of Canada is committed to supporting Sri Lanka and several other countries to end all forms of violence. it has been a long journey but I am pleased to see the results of the WWS we supported come to light today in the form of crucial evidence. Surveys like this are on essential building block in working towards ending all forms of violence against women and girls.”

UNFPA will continue advocating with its partners beyond the 16 days to encourage collective action to take the message of 16 days of advocacy forward to different audiences in Sri Lanka for a world free of gender-based violence and harmful practices towards women and girls ahead of the 2030 Agenda.

Women in Sri Lanka are oppressed under represented and harassed, even in the sanctity of their homes is a sad story.

To raise this awareness the UNFPA in Sri Lanka partnered with Sri Lanka Medical Association to organise a panel discuss on “The impact of gender violence”.

Sri Lanka is a country that prides itself for its rich cultural heritage and values. Our social ethos are highly recognised by many. However, amidst the vibrant, rich culture this ugly truth lurks in the background, the fact that Women in Sri Lanka are oppressed under represented and harassed, even in the sanctity of their homes is a sad story.

The surveys results were made public recently in a special event heralding the start of 16 days of activism with a call to end intimate partner violence. Needless to say, this all occurred during a period of time when attention towards the injustice women face was hot on people’s minds, where the uncouth. harassing remarks of a Parliament minister towards a female minister of Parliament faced little to no repercussions after refusing to apologise for his conduct, and the news of the Kinniya bridge tragedy was fresh in people’s minds as well.

One only needs to look back to the various news reports of this year to recall a number of other heinous acts inflicted upon women in Sri Lanka; one such being the beheading and dismemberment of a young woman whose remains were discovered in a discarded suitcase, the culprit a Policeman nonetheless.

As such it is clear that Sri Lanka does indeed have a problem with how its people treat the women around them, with men usually being the guilty party

Although such reports alluded to a major societal issue, there had never been concrete proof of how widespread the issue of how Sri Lankan women are treated .However, where there is smoke, there is fire and in this case, a blazing inferno – putting into question how Sri Lankan women are truly treated, even in their own homes.

Although a home should evoke feelings of safety and security, of love and freedom, that is not the reality for one in five women in Sri Lanka, who have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime, and that women in Sri Lanka are more than twice as likely to have experienced physical violence at the hands of a partner than by another.

Additionally, two in five women in Sri Lanka have experienced physical, sexual, emotional and/or economic violence, and/or controlling behaviour by a partner in their lifetime, revealing the sad truth that for many women in our

country, their homes are not in fact safe havens, or escapes from the evils of the world. For many, the danger lies within, at the hands of the person she shares her life with.

The danger has only increased with the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns, which locked their victims in (more often than not) with their aggressors, with no means of escape for months on end.

Needless to say, the violence, aggression, and controlling behaviour imposed upon women in Sri Lanka have far-reaching consequences, ones that could even be seen and identified from generation to generation.

In fact, the children of parents who are in an abusive relationship are found to be more likely to drop-out of school, and it was also discovered that such children are more likely to grow up and become aggressors or victims as adults, according to the findings of the survey

Global evidence also shows children who have experienced or witnessed violence at home are more likely to become either perpetrators or victims of SGBV We must stop this vicious cycle.

Violence against women and girls continues to plague women in Sri Lanka and across the world, but this year COVID-19 has fanned the flames and this is the reason to highlight it now more than ever.

The pandemic’s long-term socio-economic effect may make the road steeper, but the joint efforts must continue.

Continue Reading

Life style

It all began in the late 19th Century…

Published

on

During the time of British Imperialism when the Sinhalese were on the verge of losing their innate Sinhala Buddhist identity, and with the growth and expansion of the Christian missionary education in Ceylon, the need arose to educate them by combining the English language as a medium of education.

Amid religious restlessness, Sinhala Buddhist elites, some of who were heavily influenced by the Theosophical Society, stepped forward and became the life-blood of the Sinhala -Buddhist revival movement. Realizing the need and the necessity to empower young Buddhist girls on par with the missionary education, Mr. William de Abrew, a philanthropist and an affluent member of the Theosophical Society, followed by his son Mr. Peter de Abrew took the initiative to form a new structured educational institute in Cinnamon Gardens. They recognized the talents and administrative skills of the German born Educationalist, Mrs. Marie Musaeus Higgins who was also a part of the Theosophical society to commission the school, which they named, Musaeus Buddhist Girls’ School.

In 1891, Musaeus College was born in a simple mud hut with a thatched roof, with 12 girls. With time, it evolved into a grand edifice formed on a firm foundation laid by our Founders, Mrs. Marie Musaeus Higgins, Mr. Peter de Abrew, Col. Henry Steel Olcott and Ms. Annie Besant. At present, Musaeus College houses over 6,500 students and an academic faculty of 362. Both the National and British Curricula are followed by giving our students an opportunity to expand their horizons in this fast-paced competitive world.

Musaeus College amidst challenges and obstacles

The Easter Sunday attacks in April 2019, followed by the pandemic situation soon after, disrupted the smooth functioning of schools and created a standstill in all aspects of our lives. Being visionaries, the management of Musaeus College, had already implemented digitalization of teaching and learning of the school, by purchasing Smart Boards and offering teacher-training, unaware that this will be a blessing in disguise during this unforeseen time. Thirty Master- Teachers had already been given training in this field and were well- geared to this challenge of using online platforms for teaching, learning and testing, by the time Covid 19 afflicted our island. Since the teachers were well equipped with the tech- knowledge, within a short span of time Muasaus College launched Microsoft Teams as their digital platform as soon as lockdowns were imposed. With this, Musaeus College became a pioneer and a model school where a virtual, structured, and formal teaching plan was implemented from the Lower Nursery classes to the Advanced Level classes.

By this time the College was in the forefront in completing the academic curriculum and received much praise from the school community and the general public.

We went a step ahead by introducing an evaluation system for all grades, paying special attention to students who were preparing for National and International academic examinations such as GCE O/L, GCE A/L, Cambridge, and Pearson Edexcel examinations.

The constant lockdowns at different time periods restricted our functioning and this had a huge negative impact on our students whose carefree school life had come to an abrupt halt. The teachers, understanding their students’ plight, took the initiative to continue with the extra-curricular activities and sports training through virtual platforms. Presently the school has more than 25 clubs and societies and many of these organized virtual Intra-school and Inter-school events. The students participated in International Competitions and won World Prizes.

A virtual Vesak festival, Debating Competitions, most Inter-House Competitions, Young Inventors, Wild Life Conservation seminars, five-day virtual Guide Camp, motivational sessions, and student Power Hours etc. were continued uninterrupted. Further, many other activities such as text book distribution, admission interviews, plant distribution for the newly admitted Grade 1 students and even an all-night Pirith Ceremony in memory of our Founders were conducted virtually and Drive Thru modes. The highlight of this was the ‘Drive Thru Prize Giving’ where 742 students received their prizes.

As Musaeus College reaches another milestone in her long epic journey of 130 years, we pledge to continue to carry forward the vision and legacy of our Founders into the future.

Long live Musaeus College.

Musaeus College celebrates

130 years of excellence

By Principal, Mrs. Nelum Senadira

Continue Reading

Trending