Sri Lankan SM apparel sector explores business in Indian Market
By: Staff Writer
Colombo (LNW): Economic crisis hit Sri Lankan SMEs engaged in apparel sector are readying to weather cascading impacts of global economic challenges by exploring export opportunities in the South Asian market.
JIA MODA shifted manufacturing base to Sri Lanka 20 years ago, headquartered in Paris has cited Sri Lanka’s latent talent to develop high-end apparel and the competitive edge.
With global economic challenges impacting Sri Lanka’s apparel sector, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are moving from the drawing board into realisation of envisaged plans with numerous options to weather the cascading impacts of declining orders.
JIA MODA for example is seeing potential opportunities in the Indian market. Located in the suburbs of Colombo, JIA MODA is a study in resilience, where for over 20 years it has provided employment to over 250 individuals, most of whom have been with the Company since inception.
The Founder and Managing Director of JIA MODA John De Silva who first launched his Company in Paris, made a conscious decision to shift his manufacturing base to Sri Lanka.
He cites the latent talent that could be developed to create high-end apparel by merging his European experience and knowledge as the competitive edge Sri Lanka has.
The Paris based De Silva stated that the Company was able to forge ahead primarily because of Sri Lanka’s knowledgeable workforce, “with their ability to produce high-end apparel, which we leveraged with strong partnerships we have built with our buyers over the years. Most of our buyers are located in neighbouring India.”
Explaining further he said, “One cannot overlook the potential of trading with India. JIA MODA’s export capacity to India has significantly grown and now accounts for 80% of our output.
“However, there is further room for expansion if we fully leverage the ISFTA (Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement),”he said.
De Silva stated that JIA MODA is in the process of launching an online platform specifically catering to the Indian market, as a measure to enter into the retail market further under the brand JIA MODA. “Plans are afoot to open an additional two new outlets in Sri Lanka and in Paris.”
India is one of Sri Lanka’s largest export partners, with over USD 800 million in trade carried out in 2022, showing a notable increase in textile imports. This increase is not limited to raw materials but includes finished goods.
JIA MODA has embraced the opportunity to work with this $24 billion USD Indian apparel market, given that it opens opportunities and allows the Company to subcontract for major brands and be an integral stakeholder in the fashion industry.
“Sri Lanka’s potential should be harnessed wisely,” stressed De Silva. “Instead of chasing low-value exports, the focus should be on utilising the country’s unique strengths and making the most of available resources, from raw materials to fabric. The opportunity is right next door.”