The Responsible Fashion Movement and Swim Week Colombo Is Propelling Sri Lanka Towards A Greener Future

Apr 16, 2018 @ 19:04

Fancy living on an island, sipping on some coconut water and designing an eco-friendly swimwear line?

Swim Week Colombo -currentMood Magazine
+ Cover-up and Bottom: Meraki, Top: La Pard (SWC’17)

Apart from being known for its pristine blue waters and sun-kissed beaches, Sri Lanka is also being recognised for sustainable initiatives like The Responsible Fashion Movement and Swim Week Colombo (SWC). Spearheaded by Ajai Vir Singh, the former was launched earlier this year and aims at bringing sustainability to the forefront by encouraging industry stakeholders to take charge and become environmentally friendly. While the latter showcases some of the best ‘green conscience’ swimwear pieces you can get your hands on. “We want to let people know that it’s possible to start a successful business and be responsible towards the environment,” says Fazeena Rajabdeen, CEO of Swim Week Colombo.

+ Top: Meraki, Bottom: Aqua Island (SWC’17)
Swim Week Colombo -currentMood Magazine
+ Cover-up and Bikini: Hot-As-Hell (SWC’17)

Sri Lanka also witnessed its first fashion hackathon in association with the Design Development Corporation, MAS, SWC and Colombo Fashion Week this year. Fashion students were asked to create sustainable tees and the winner got the opportunity to showcase his creation at Colombo Fashion Week. The purpose of this programs was to encourage students to thinking ‘green’ and eventually create a generation of ethically mindful designers.

SWC has been well received by designers and consumers in the country. Some of the brands that participated last year were Heidi Klein Swim, Rumpunch, Meraki, Hot As Hell and two of Ajai’s in-house brands – Conscience and Arugambay. All of them try and implement sustainable production practices and feel that going green is a way of life now. “It’s imperative for all businesses to consider sustainability at every level,” says Heidi Klien. “As leaders in our industry, it’s also important that we try to lead by example, use our capabilities in research and development to forge new pathways and discover new ways to bring the sustainability conversation into swimwear. Enjoying the world that we live in is central to our business, so it’s a very natural progression to strive to protect that space.”

“We want to let people know that it’s possible to start a successful business and be responsible towards the environment,” says Fazeena Rajabdeen, CEO of Swim Week Colombo.

Swim Week Colombo -currentMood Magazine
+ Monokini: Buddhi Batiks, Hat: stylists own (SWC’17)
Swim Week Colombo -currentMood Magazine
+ Bikini: Arugambay (SWC’17)

While being a 100% sustainable is tough, all the designers who participated in SWC strive to cover various aspects of it. Rumpunch incorporates sublimation printing, up-cycling and the use of hybrid vehicles for all brand related transports. Meraki on the other hand strives to be plastic free and uses recycled boards as hangtags, etc. Whereas Heidi Klein works with partners who operate in an environmentally friendly way – by recycling water, recycling used fabric into new items or ensuring that all components are created as geographically near to each other as possible (minimising excess transport) and by giving back to the local committees.

Ajai and his team have created an eco-system that provides designers and brands with an ethical supply chain. From design to execution, providing a platform to exhibit the collections and right down to its disposal. Sri Lanka is now a one stop shop for anyone who wants to manufacture swimwear. “We have ethically conscious brands and designers here, we showcase their creations, have manufacturing units and source from ethical suppliers,” says Fazeena. “So any brand that feels like they want to take the green conscious route can come to us and we’d provide them with the tools to do so.”


Photographer: Rohan Shrestha – @rohanshrestha

Styling, Creative Direction & Article: currentMood – @currentmood.mag

Model: Carla M, Toabh Talent Management – @car.gulin

Hair & Make-up: Azhar for Ramini Fernando Salons – @ramanifernandosalons

Location Courtesy: Mount Lavinia Hotel, Sri Lanka – @mount_lavinia_hotel

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Last modified: June 26, 2018