Let’s Talk Sustainable Fashion 0 80

By Mahika Panditha

At some point or another, you have probably heard the term ‘sustainable fashion’, or you have used it before. For those of you that do not know, sustainable fashion is basically clothing that is designed, used, manufactured and distributed in the most environmentally friendly manner. It goes hand in hand with ethical fashion, which refers to a type of consumerism where consumers are conscious of the social welfare and employee rights behind the clothes they purchase and wear. 

Nowadays, the fashion industry should be moving towards making their efforts more sustainable. It is only beneficial for them as it will allow them to operate in ways that will allow them to work for years and years. There is an ever-growing interest in doing so, with sustainable fashion being highly debated and covered in the media, and within the companies and so on and so forth. 

Many businesses around the world are looking to transform their business models and are adjusting their supply chains to reduce the negative environmental impacts they cause. Unfortunately, sustainable fashion is not the forefront of the industry. It is fast fashion that has taken over and has become the dominant market. Fast fashion is clothing that is designed with the intention of being sold at cheap prices. This invites consumers to buy and buy, while the clothes end up being disposed of as opposed to recycled. 

This is at the other end of the spectrum, as fast fashion is far from sustainable by exploiting workers around the world for cheap labour, and misusing natural resources at hand, there is an absurd amount of waste piled up because of it. Aside from this, the fashion houses that everyone loves to look at, only produce a few collections per year, whereas a fast fashion brand would have new pieces coming out every single week. 

Sustainable fashion is slow, but what caught the world’s eye was the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in 2013. The tragedy of the garment factory in Bangladesh caused over 1,100 deaths, and is said to be the worst ever industrial incident. It was an eight-story building in the outskirts of Dhaka; there were large cracks found on the building the day before the collapse. The shops and banks on the lower floors were closed, but all warnings to evacuate the building were ignored. When the garment workers returned the next day, the building collapsed leaving many dead, and many more trapped under rubble and machinery for hours to days before being rescued. Gaining worldwide attention, the public interest and media attention uncovered the truth of fast fashion (cheap labour, terrible working conditions, etc.). Many activists and several organisations fought tooth and nail to bring attention to the problems that fast fashion has caused and will cause in the future. The Rana Plaza tragedy forced transparency in the industry; to this day, there is still a major debate occurring all over the world. 

Sustainable fashion is not an isolated term; there are many forms of sustainable fashion. You may see some of your favourite actors and actresses promoting sustainable and ethical fashion, for example re-wearing a red carpet outfit. There are many strategies for sustainable fashion, all of which advocate conscious production and consumption. It goes as follows (via Green Strategy); Custom Made clothing (this can be made-to-order, bespoke, DIY), Green & Clean, High Quality and Timeless Design (which you will find in the traditional fashion houses, in regards to Sri Lanka – it would be sarees passed down through generations), Fair and Ethical (clothing that is made traditionally with animal rights and human rights in mind, or using artisan craft – this can even include handlooms), Repair, Redesign and Upcycle (if one of your favourite tops was missing a button, you could easily repair it instead of throwing it out), Rent, Lease and Swap (sharing clothes with friends or renting out fancy outfits for one-time events), and last but not least – Second Hand and Vintage (which happens to be one of the most popular options that more and more people are looking into nowadays with the surge in thrift stores both online and offline). 

When it is put like this, it does not seem difficult to adjust to from an individual standpoint. When an item of clothing is completely worn out, it can be returned to its first stages and reused. Instead of purchasing new items constantly, there are many ways to recycle your pieces; for example, a scarf can be used as a wrap-around tube top. 

The good thing about this model is that there is a strategy for everyone but some strategies will not work for some people; it is all about individual taste but it just goes to show that it is not impossible to support sustainable fashion. 

With regards to corporate responsibility, while they have a responsibility to change their production and distribution practices, they also have the responsibility towards their consumers and the patterns showcased from their customers. In Sweden, some companies provide second-hand or rented fashion systems, which allow consumers to lease clothes or accessories. Other companies have set up collection and recycling systems which will aid in the reusing of items and textiles. 

As a consumer that supports the sustainable fashion movement, you should ideally be looking for eco-friendly dyes. This includes dyes from digital printing as well that are more plant-based, recycled materials such as clothes that have been made from pre-existing textiles that do not require any new extraction from natural resources. This can include recycled nylon, polyester and cotton, in addition to organic and natural materials such as hemp, linen, cotton, silk and so on. As opposed to acrylic, nylon, or polyester which is derived from petroleum, low-waste or zero design clothing minimal to zero pattern cutting, as this contributes vastly to waste material. 

Further, you also have a choice of locally made clothes, such as products of local vendors you can support who source their fibres from local regions, a concept that many brands have embraced by producing their items closer to the location of purchase. The final option is second-hand clothes where you can find durable second-hand clothing, especially if it is handed down through family. 

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A woman whose light doesn’t have an off switch! In conversation with – Ashanthi Soris Mirchandani 0 1819

When saying TRX what we’re really talking about is a training method called ‘suspension training’. This has started in 1997 when an old Navy SEAL, Randy Hetrick developed a method that allowed for exercising during deployment.

TRX training is about using body weight exercises to develop strength, balance, flexibility and core stability simultaneously. It requires the use of the TRX suspension trainer, a performance training tool that leverages gravity and the user’s body weight to complete the exercises.

What you should know about the workout itself is that TRX is also a form of functional training. And why we like functional training is because the benefits go well beyond your fitness studio. With functional training you don’t just burn fat and build muscles, you also increase your core strength, power and mobility which are needed for virtually every movement of life.

If it’s all about the numbers and/or aim to lose weight, then we have got some good news. A single session of 60-min TRX training at high intensity burns approximately 400 calories. Which is indeed more than what you can expect to burn with all the fancy boutique cycling classes.

And, there’s more to it, we have just the person you can turn to who is also a professional TRX trainer in Sri Lanka.

Q & A

BiZnomics: How did you come up with the idea to start up the breakthrough Studio?

Answer: I have always been a fitness enthusiast. Fitness has been a passion, a hobby, and something I incorporated in my daily routine. I started my fitness journey as a personal trainer a year and a half before I started the Breakthrough Studio. Personal training became tough, I had to commute from Battaramulla where I was residing at the time, to meet about 6 clients a day whom I trained in Colombo. I didn’t see a future in it for me to grow in that area. I wanted to build a brand in fitness using TRX and create a business out of it. Having a little studio meant that I could do just that. And at the same time I could serve more people.

BiZnomics: What qualifications made you the best person for this?

Answer: The biggest qualification I say I have is the love and passion for fitness and TRX. Passion is the biggest qualification you need for anything in life. Other than that I am certified in TRX suspension training, TRX Rip training, and Pre and post-natal training. I also hold a BSc in Food Science and Technology from the University of Victoria, Australia.

BiZnomics: Do you follow a certain morning routine or daily schedule to maximize productivity and well-being?

Answer:I never had time to follow a morning routine, with work. I used to get only 6 hours of sleep on most days, and I love my sleep so, I never had a morning routine as such. My daily routine includes a one hour workout in between work, and on most days quiet time in prayer, and reading the Bible. Also listening to teachings of Prophet Kirby.

BiZnomics: What is the biggest challenge for you as an entrepreneur?

Answer: At the beginning of my career as a coach and an entrepreneur, I used to take 7 classes a day, and that I did for about a year and a half. It was a lot of work although at that time it didn’t feel like that. I couldn’t take time off, I couldn’t cancel classes, I knew that my clients were coming with enthusiasm and they had goals and were eager to achieve them. Therefore there was no time in between. I couldn’t find trainers who were passionate about what they did and who would be a part of the studio, until a few months ago. Now it’s a team of three who trains from 6am to 8pm at the studio. Finding individuals who love their job, the people with a passion to serve as you would to your clients who were also committed to what they do, was a challenge and I think it’s a challenge in any business.

BiZnomics: What did you do before starting up the studio?

Answer: I worked as a Senior Secretary to the CEO at Dialog Telecom. Thereafter for my dad, in our family owned business after which I turned into fitness and worked as a personal trainer.

BiZnomics: What is the most difficult thing about what you do?

Answer: Honestly NOTHING!!! This has been the easiest thing I have done ever, and I have the most amount of fun while at work too!!! I love meeting people from all walks of life, I love being able to have a positive impact on their life. Most of my clients have never worked out before, so it’s interesting for me to watch them enjoying a healthier lifestyle. It’s crazy but no, it’s not difficult at all, and I think that’s because I love what I do, and I have a knowing kind of an assurance that GOD has my back. There is ZERO anxiety and stress, when you realize who you are in God. It has never been difficult, even when I was doing 7 classes a day 5 days a week, it wasn’t impossible, I didn’t hate it, I loved it.

BiZnomics: What type of a person do you think should be an entrepreneur?

Answer: Anyone can if they have the right heart, attitude, passion, determination and the will to do it. BUT one must want it.

BiZnomics: What mantra do you live by?

Answer: I have a few;
See the Goodness of God in Every Situation whether it’s Good or Bad!
No matter how bleak the situation is God’s got my back;
There is blessing in the delay;
Always keep your conscience clean;
I am loved no matter what;

It is what – it is just – do it and get on with it!
It’s a mantra I use when I have to get stuff done and I am whining to myself at times, says Ashanthi laughingly.

Answer: I love being a couch potato and watching Netflix with Haren in my free time.

BiZnomics: What do you do to be motivated?

Answer: Spending time in prayer keeps me motivated. Praying in tongues keeps me energized and motivated. It floods me with ideas and creativity. Motivation to me is supernatural. It’s like a gift that fell on me suddenly and it doesn’t cease. I haven’t done anything to keep developing it as such and that’s why it is not normal. There is a sense of excitement and enthusiasm when I think about the studio. It has always been there since I started the studio two years ago.

BiZnomics: Do you think women feel intimidated in business?

Answer: There is no reason why they should, if it is so. It has nothing to do with another person or the business. They have allowed themselves to become victimized by someone else’s action or by somebody. They need to deal with it if they feel that way.

BiZnomics: What have you learned about mentoring others?

Answer: Still learning! Allow them to make mistakes and let them learn at their own pace, but push them to be good learners than fast learners.

Don’t mentor someone unless they want to be mentored, you need a willing heart;
Be approachable;
Listen to their point of view;
Admit your mistakes;
Accept that everyone is different;
Don’t judge anyone;
Allow them to grow, and trust their growth;
Teach them responsibility at work.

BiZnomics: Is this your childhood dream?

Answer: YES, it indeed has been a childhood dream to own a business that I built myself, to start small and make it grow, to be a successful entrepreneur, to do something that would have a positive impact on society. To be where I am, I feel blessed.

BiZnomics: Where do you find courage, confidence and motivation?

Answer: In having a relationship with GOD and learning about him through his word, knowing how much I am loved, and knowing my identity in HIM. The secret of ‘success’ in every area of your life is in the ‘WORD’. That’s why I love the teachings of Wow Life Church. That’s what I am and what I want to become!

By : Savanna Audrey

“Couch Safari’’ A Resounding Success 0 23

The first ever initiative of Sri Lanka Tourism’s effort in showcasing the island’s wildlife to the world through streaming technology is an unprecedented success with the support of the stakeholders, partners and wildlife enthusiasts from all over the world. The event was backed by Sri Lanka Tourism’s largest online marketing initiative in the year 2020. 

The wildlife streaming sessions were telecasted from 4th to 13th of November through a dedicated website, social media channels, Apple TV, Roku TV, Periscope and Boxcast channels covering four popular National Parks of Sri Lanka; Kaudulla, Minneriya, Udawalawe and Yala. 

Dr. Prithiviraj Fernando (Chairman, Center for Conservation & Research Sri Lanka (CCR), Mr. Chitral Jayatileka (Award winning Wildlife Photographer), Mr. Srilal Miththapala (Wildlife expert) and Mr. Vimukthi Weeratunge (Wildlife Biologist) joined the program to share their expertise and guide the team as they wandered in to the wilderness to capture footage of the majestic wild beasts of Sri Lanka in their natural habitats.

Overall, as at date the campaign generated over 22 million impressions, over 1.7 million video views and generated over 40,000 clicks. The campaign was implemented on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. Direct display advertising campaigns were carried out using Google Display Network and Trip Advisor. Couch safari was advertised using both video and display advertisements on top Travel. Wildlife, Destination websites and YouTube Channels.

Sri Lanka Tourism Facebook page reach to around 7 million people during the campaign period, it generated over 1.4 million video views, close to 200,000-page engagements including around 5,500 shares, and over 3500 comments. The campaign also generated over 11 million impressions on Facebook with over 16000 link clicks during the campaign period.

The viewers actively engaged with the program by asking questions from the experts and having them answered in real time. This not only made the event an enjoyable one, but also an educational experience for viewers of all age groups. The program opened the eyes of many to the diversity of Sri Lanka’s wildlife.

 Sri Lanka Tourism also conducted a competition for foreign viewers titled ‘My Sri Lankan Story’ allowing them the opportunity to win a free holiday in Sri Lanka. This competition also received a great response from viewers as well as the local hoteliers who came forward to sponsor hotel stays for the winners. 

“I wish to express our gratitude to the wildlife experts, the camera & production crew, industry stakeholders and partners who supported us promoting the event and most importantly the local and international viewers who joined the “Couch Safari”. This was a great example of achieving success through team work, with the best interest of the country at heart. This event provided us some great insight on the importance of Sri Lanka’s natural environment and that wildlife can be integrated to generate tourism income for the country. We hope to extend this program to other national parks and tourism segments as well in the future” stated Kimarli Fernando, Chairperson Sri Lanka Tourism thanking everyone who supported the event.