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Colombo Port dresses up for CFW Swim

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Untitled-4By Shehana Dain

The East Container Terminal (ECT) will be the hosting venue for the Colombo Fashion Week’s (CFW) ‘Swim Week Colombo,’ as it aims to flaunt the facility’s geographical advantage to the world.

The second instalment of CFW Swim is slated to be held from 24-26 June. The event is expected to attract an influential international audience and will be given coverage by international media. Thus this will subsequently be a platform for Sri Lanka to sell its geographical positioning to attract fresh business.

Speaking at the launch of CFW Swim on Tuesday (7), Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Chairman Dammika Ranatunga said: “We are looking at this partnership and we want to let people know what we have here. The ECT is a new terminal that is coming up and with this event the whole world will come to know what we are working on. When we partner with an event like this, it’s an unforeseen benefit the country and the port will derive from it. With this event I’m sure the apparel industry will grow further and in turn there will be more investments coming in and result in more volume passing through Colombo Port.”

With the construction of the ECT, SLPA expects to have a deep draft berth to cater to new generation deep draft vessels, increase container handling capacity and reduce ship waiting time at the Colombo port.

Ranatunga also mentioned that through CFW Swim the Ports Authority is also looking at capitalising on cruise tourism. Cruise tourism was taken up by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau (SLTPB) earlier this year as a fresh growth area.

“This will help us to introduce our plan to improve cruise tourism. It comes at a time where we are in discussions to develop cruise terminals in Colombo, Galle and Trincomalee,” he added.

CFW Founder and President Ajai V. Singh, who is the brains behind Asia’s first-ever fashion week dedicated to swimwear, advocated that Sri Lanka is ideally positioned to showcase itself as a swimwear destination around the world.

“There is not a single swimwear hub or show in Asia. We also boast of state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities through Linea Aqua in Sri Lanka. Every tourist flying into Sri Lanka will pack swimwear in their luggage and yet we are not retailing it, nor do we have designers going into swimwear design. This is an opportunity that was missed out, however we identified it and we are working on improving it.” Singh added.

Swim Week Colombo, presented by OLU Tropical Water, will showcase the top latest swimwear trends for 2017, in its new season. Swim Week Colombo is a technical collaboration with state-of-the-art swimwear manufacturer, Linea Aqua, and will feature 14 leading Sri Lankan and international designers on the runway. It will also bring together industry leaders and influencers who will address the latest trends and innovations in swimwear today and host an innovative retail platform for participating designers.

The fashion show aims to be the foremost platform for swimwear labels in the region. It is the merging point for swimwear designers, manufacturers, buyers, retailers and media. Sri Lanka boasts some of the world’s most cutting-edge swimwear manufacturing facilities, in addition to its status as a top beach holiday destination. Taking into consideration the strategic positioning of Sri Lanka, Swim Week Colombo aims to be a global swimwear hub and destination.

The new season of Swim Week Colombo will showcase the latest swimwear collections of 14 designers, spanning three continents – from Sri Lanka, India, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The runway shows will take place on 24 and 25 June, these collections will be brought to life on the runway by top international models from Australia, Russia, France, Thailand and Sri Lanka.

For the first time ever, CFW Swim Week will host TrendSwim, an engaging and informative series of talks that will bring together thought leaders and influencers in the swimwear to discuss the latest trends, innovations and ideas that are driving the industry today. The official TrendSwim blog will provide exclusive coverage all the happenings on and off the runway. TrendSwim will take place on 25 June at the Hilton Colombo.

According to the CFW founder, top speakers will be flying in for the discussion and strategies to enter the Indian market will be devised.

“We see a huge opportunity in India. There is a population of around 500 million who are under 25 years of age. The swimwear culture never took off in India because of cultural stigma and there is only one swimwear designer. It’s an untapped market and we want to get into that because the Millennials in India are getting away from the cultural boundaries. There are so many pools coming up in India be it apartments or hotels but no swim suits backed by a designer brand. We are currently in talks with a major e-commerce platform which will then give us access to India and we are positive about the outcome.”

Swim Wall, a unique retail platform, will provide all participating designers the opportunity to retail at Swim Week Colombo and leading retail outlets in Sri Lanka, as well as online on the official Swim Wall e-commerce website. Swim Wall will take place on 25 and 26 June at the Hilton Colombo, and from 26 June to 6 July at ODEL Alexandra Place. The Swim Wall website will be officially launched soon after the shows.

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