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CFW aims to make Sri Lanka swimwear capital via Asia’s first ever show
CFW aims to make Sri Lanka swimwear capital via Asia’s first ever show Wednesday, 22 July 2015 19:08 Written by  Daily FT

By Shehana Dain
Colombo Fashion Week (CFW) aims to position Sri Lanka as the capital for swimwear in the region with what it claimed as Asia’s first ever dedicated show in August.

Titled “CFW Swim” the fashion show on 7 and 8 August in Hilton Colombo will serve as a leading platform for swimwear designers as well as manufacturers in the region and beyond. Bringing in the technical expertise is apparel industry leader MAS Holdings’ swimwear specialist Linea Aqua, one of the top exporters of swimwear from Sri Lanka to reputed global brands.

CFW Founder and President Ajay V Singh said the “CFW Swim” will showcase the latest collections of nine Sri Lankan and three international swimwear labels.

“Swimwear is strategic to Sri Lanka in terms of both fashion consumption and manufacturing. It is a platform that Sri Lanka can boast of internationally. CFW Swim will showcase the latest trends and collections in swimwear and raise Sri Lanka’s profile in the global swimwear industry,” Singh added.

CFW is one of the four main fashion shows in the Asian region which is in par with Tokyo Fashion Week, Australian Fashion Week and India Fashion that have passed the 10 year mark.

When asked by the Daily FT as to why CFW opted for a swimwear show when other Fashion Weeks in Asian hasn’t, Singh said: “They (swimwear) would come into the market because it’s a growing category, but somehow we have to always be a little innovative because we don’t have the huge scale of market. So we rely on being innovative and to understand the opportunities.”

“Swimwear is already growing and we already have a base here for manufacturing and the CFW has already gained momentum and is seen as an important fashion week in this part of the world, South Asia and South East Asia. So if we introduced this season we would be the first one and then the others can follow up.” CFW Founder added.

Singh also noted “Other Fashion Weeks already have very strong Fall Winter and Spring/Summer seasons. I’ve seen in the fashion world people stick to the traditional seasons. We always try to break the rules. When we introduced the resort wear show we did it two years (2012) before Paris and Miami did. We did it because we didn’t get stuck with tradition. We base our seasons on people and how they are moving forward. I’m sure in a couple of years people will do swimwear but we want to be the first to do it.” Technical partner Linea Aqua Managing Director/CEO Sarinda Unambuwa expressed confidence on making Sri Lanka a swimwear hub speaking on how the economic landscape is for swimwear manufacturing.

The company currently exports 16 million swimwear pieces with a value of $ 125-130 million.

“When Linea Aqua started 15 years ago the we were the first and only specialised swim wear plant in Sri Lanka at that time. Our intention was to make Sri Lanka a swimwear hub, a one stop destination for swimwear manufactures to come in and get end to end service. When we started up we couldn’t even buy thread in Sri Lanka everything had to from overseas,” Sarinda said.

“I’m happy to say now that we provide a end to end service and we have an entire supply chain built around Linea Aqua starting up and several other manufactures have started up as well and Sri Lanka is on her way to becoming a swimwear destination of the world,” he added.

According to Sarinda the ultimate motive of partnering with CFW is to knock off the two most sought out swimwear shows in the world which are the Miami and Sao Paulo swimwear shows.

“Our intention is quite simple we want to knock off the two mega swim shows in the world off their pedestals at the moment. We want to show case all our local designers our entire local supply chain partners and Sri Lanka’s destination as one of the most beautiful beach spots in the world. This made perfect sense for us and that’s why we are here,” he added.

Bodyline, also an associate of MAS holdings will be partnering with CFW for their third season as well.

The Company is supported by two big brands in the world - Triumph and Victoria’s Secrets USA .

Bodyline currently exports one million swimwear pieces and revolves more around intimates which amounts to 55% of their output.

“We feel that swim wear has more potential as we feel swimwear has more chance to work with bigger brands,” Bodyline Marketing Director Sahan Rajapakse said.

He also stressed that Sri Lanka has the two most important elements to make swimwear work that is speed which makes sense as swimwear is very seasonal and the technology within the country to manufacture premium products.

The inaugural edition of Swim is presented by OLU Tropical Water, in a mission to make Sri Lankan tropical water a regional brand. OLU Tropical Water Managing Director Amal de Silva Wijeyeratne said: “As title partner of CFW Swim, we believe in their vision to create a regional and possible, an international platform for Sri Lanka. Like other regional water brands, it is time Sri Lanka took her tropical water to the world.”

CFW Swim will also create a citywide celebration of style and glamour during its shows; with CFW Fashion+Food presenting sensational, limited edition menus at five partnering restaurants, Cafe francais, rare at Residence, Kaema Sutra, Clique Cuisine and Il Ponte at Hilton Colombo from 7 to 9 August 2015. Il Ponte will also serve as the Fashion Cafe and the Bar at the CFW Swim throughout the weekend of the shows. CFW after parties will host the morning after party, a day-night poolside brunch party, on 9 August from 12 noon to 8pm at the Hilton Colombo Poolside.

Other partners of CFW Swim are Nissan (Official Automobile Partner), Yamaha (Official Jet Ski Brand), American & Efird Lanka Ramani Fernando Salons (Officia Hair and Beauty Partner) and Leo Burnet (Official PR Partners).

Pic by Nirmala Dhananjaya