South Asian Apparel Leadership Forum set to support future vision this November

Friday, 7 October 2016 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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  • Top event titled ‘Disrupt! Reinvent! Transform! - The New Age Paradigm for Sri Lankan Apparel Industry’ to feature influential global topics


Time and again every industry reaches a tipping point where strategies and operational models are challenged and those lacking a transformative change often become obsolete. Even large corporates, complacent in their success, lack agility to adapt to changing business environments, fail to reinvent themselves and perish. Stronger, faster, innovative players take control of the market and thrive to ride the wave of change. 

Today, Sri Lankan industrialists face a multitude of pressures with a changing consumer landscape externally to demand for resources internally. Dramatic change surrounds us and it is taking place at exponential speed. Growth will only be possible through a transformative change in how business is conducted. 

This year’s South Asian Apparel Leadership Forum, which will be held on 5 November as part of the Sri Lanka Design Festival (SLDF), is appropriately crafted to bring together the best thought leaders from around the world to share their insights and experiences on how creative disruption and innovation can help reinvent and transform business.

Some of the key themes for this futuristic thought leadership forum will include: 

nDisruption, Disorientation, Displacement, Disconnection, Distortion – Welcome to the Age of the Millennials, presented by the premier trend consultancy, The Future Laboratory. Manufacturing will be replaced by 3D printing, hyperloop technology will replace ground transportation, digital retail will dominate and seamstresses could be uberised. Designs will be customised and 3D printed at home and the possible impacting points are endless. How can industry transform to survive the fourth Industrial revolution?

nReinvent, reinvent, reinvent...mass customisation on basics, presented by Rob Cromb - Founder and Managing Director of Kookai. The personal mantra that ensures Kookai remains relevant in the mindset of an evolving 22-year-old and how a vertically integrated business model staying focused on their niche customised basics for the key demographic and helped to build a successful brand. 

nHow can Sri Lanka’s manufacturing units be transformed from the typical line-based manufacturing model to a more agile model to deliver customised design?

nHow/what can be learnt from China to ‘hack’ growth in the new era leveraging ‘digitalisation’ to be at the forefront by China Research Group Principal Ben Cavendar. How China strategised to become the factory of the world from poor quality manufacturing to customer-focused, market-driven manufacturer and retailing, how China embraced the ever-changing technology landscape to leverage growth and excellence, how Chinese companies are diversifying into unrelated areas and building global business powerhouses and the transformational challenges for China in achieving the above and how they strategised to get there. This session will be further supported with an insider view from China by Patrick Gottelier and Jane Rapley through an ‘in conversation’ titled ‘China from the inside’ where they will share how China continues to be a big force as a threat and an opportunity, always in constant flux but continuing to make its mark. Two fashion experts working on the inside with China share their intimate knowledge and insights of a thriving export industry and growing domestic market and how China is leveraging everything ‘design’ to the new now.

nPreparing for bigger game changes: A future where ‹joining’ technology› will be irrelevant presented by Adrian Elliott - President, Global Apparel and Footwear, Coats Plc. The world’s largest maker of threads may trace its roots to the middle of the 18th Century but longevity and size alone did not ensure its survival into the 21st Century. With an unparalleled global footprint, Coats continues to service their customers as they reshape the supply chain for fast fashion and just-in-time deliveries. And as they innovate to develop ‘clever thin lines’ to be used in high-end training shoes to conductive thread in wearable electronics, the company is preparing for a day that ‘joining’ technology may become obsolete.

nRethinking Talent, Culture, Business Models - Young Sri Lankan industrialists present a future vision for Sri Lanka apparel. Customers are increasingly at the epicentre of the economy, physical products and services are enhanced with digital capabilities to increase their value, new technologies make assets more durable and resilient, while data and analytics are transforming how they are maintained. A world of customer experiences, data-based services and asset performance through analytics, meanwhile, requires new forms of collaboration, particularly given the speed at which innovation and disruption are taking place. And the emergence of global platforms and other new business models, finally, means that talent, culture, and organisational forms will have to be rethought.

nInternational growth through leveraging design in a new digital landscape presented by Kurt Kavano - Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of GT Nexus. In the recent past, we have seen the cyber-social landscape explode with growth. Over a billion people can be connected to a single social platform at a given moment in time. This is a powerful proposition for any creative engineer designing products. Exceptional product design that appeals to the masses regardless of boundaries are rewarded with likes, shares, emotions and comments creating celebrities overnight. This is the power of the digital age. With such power, the only barrier to growth internationally becomes your mind and creative ability to sense design for emotional engagement. As the digital landscape matures at exponential speeds, the power of design can only move in one direction and that is an increase to be the edge that defines your market relevance. E.g. Travel fashion platform

nBranding Sri Lanka Apparel presented by the Future Laboratory. Nation branding for Sri Lankan fashion, the first Insights and how this would work globally and how travel fashion could be a solution. 

nSurviving the Millennials – the Automotive Industry Response. The automotive industry has been at the forefront of every industrial revolution, from mechanised production to mass production to automation leveraging electronic and information technology. Now internet companies are entering the vehicle market with self-driven cars and millennials who shun asset ownership will opt for an Uber. The fully-functional car is to be 3D printed in the next seven-eight years. How would the automotive industry cope with these changes?

nFuture Growth: Breakthrough Brands Fuelling Business Growth. A discussion on the next generation of brands - the start-ups, upstarts, challengers, problem-solvers, innovators and category creators. The Ubers of tomorrow, brands that offer evidence of how our cultures, behaviours and planet evolve, the ones that will impact generations and define progress, the ones that are making it happen.

The forum will target an outcome for Sri Lanka apparel that will result in a document for a futuristic transformation strategy for the industry so it can continue to be a future industry leader as in the past.  

To achieve this, a select group of young leaders from the apparel industry, together with senior leadership, will be invited to a ‘Transformation Strategy Workshop’. At this workshop each of the groups or individuals will present action items for the industry to take away and form a transformation plan to implement. These actions will feed into this future vision strategy paper. 

This year’s SLDF will take place on 4, 5 and 6 November at SLECC Colombo, with AOD in partnership with DIMO hosting the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Runways; Coats Thread, the official thread and zip partner; GT Nexus, the official technology partner; HNB, the official banking partner; Mount Lavinia Hotel, the official host; the Wijeya Newspapers Group, the print media partner; Just-Style, the international media partner; Free Lanka, the official beverage partner; Secquoro, the business transformation partner; Salon Kess, the official hair and make-up partner; and We Are Designers as well the key apparel industry participants MAS, Hirdaramani, Timex, Star Garments, LICC, MRC, Maliban, Orit, Innovative Knits, EKKO, Union Apparel, Penguin, Lanka Leather, Rakshaa, Textured Jersey, Avirate and Vogue Tex. The event is endorsed by the Joint Apparel Association Forum.

For partnerships, participation and more information, contact the SLDF Secretariat on 5867772-3 or email [email protected].