‘Sri Lanka is one of the most preferred locations for top international brands.’

Written by SAO  •  Special Features  •  April 2013 PDF Print E-mail

An exclusive interview with Asim Younoos, CEO, Avirate Fashions, Sri Lanka

Aviraté is a high-street international label for women, derived from the Sanskrit word Avirati, which means sensuality. A venture of Timex and Fergasam Group, one of the top five apparel manufacturers in Sri Lanka and amongst the top ten apparel manufacturers in the world. Driven by a vision par excellence, Timex’s commitment towards continued growth and exploring new possibilities in the world of fashion led to the creation of the fashion label, Aviraté.

It was launched in June 2010 during the IIFA (International Indian Film Academy) Film festival and was the sponsor of the IIFA Fashion Show. Initially, the brand showcased its collection at a leading department store and after an overwhelming response, it launched its flagship store in Sri Lanka on December 7, 2010, and a year later in India, in 2011. Aviraté at present has five stores in Sri Lanka and seven in India. It has boldly paved the way for a new era in fashion. Matching international standards in design and quality, Aviraté, is not about selling; it’s about accentuating the inherent sensuality of a woman.

What competitive advantages does the Sri Lankan textile industry offer?

The Sri Lankan textile industry has many advantages to benefit from. Most prominent of these are low prices, the extraordinary quality of the final product and Sri Lanka’s excellent IT infrastructure.

What is the status of the Sri Lankan textile industry in South Asia?

Sri Lanka is one of the most preferred locations for top international brands because of the quality and the expertise that the Sri Lankan garment industry is able to provide, as compared to other countries within the region. The infrastructure of the factories successfully meets international standards supported by a great IT structure within their organization.

What challenges have you faced as a manufacturer?

As a manufacturer, the sourcing of the fabric can prove to be quite cumbersome and tedious. To meet international standards and uphold the global reputation of a brand like Avirate, it is essential that we have the absolutely best quality fabric. It is challenging because the local industry for fabrics is below par and limited

What key geographical markets does Avirate Fashion serve?

Currently we are catering to Sri Lanka and India. By mid-2013 we plan to enter Australia and by early 2014, we are hoping to enter the UAE market as well.

What point of differentiation does Avirate Fashion enjoy over its competitors?

Avirate Fashions has established a very strong reputation for itself. Our in-house design team is based in the UK and we also have our own manufacturing plants. In terms of design and availability, a vast selection of prints is used and available in one season and we keep our designs dynamic, making sure to keep up with global trends and expectations. Our expert staff, which have years of experience dealing with some of the top international brands, also forms an integral and strong team behind the product.

Where do you see the industry ten years down the road?

It is going to be a tough road ahead with the cost of living in Sri Lanka increasing. The GSP isn’t available and smaller firms will find it difficult to survive in the market. In efforts to meet competition, international brands are also trying to locate their manufacturing plants closer to the retail destination, since logistics have become costly. However, the bigger companies that deal in high fashion garments will be able to survive and maintain a place for themselves.

What economic impact will the industry reap once the Port of Hambanthota becomes operational?

The Port of Hambanthota will undoubtedly bring more investment towards the southern area. As a result, more factories will be established thus creating more job opportunities. 

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