Considering The Contemporary Sri Lankan Society

02 Nov 2017

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Sri Lankans have adopted the European and American Fashion designs to a significant level. Particularly in metropolitan areas, casual clothing styles such as denim jeans are very popular and even in rural areas, dresses such as trousers, t-shirts etc. are generally used. Considering the organizations, formal dress and business suits are mandatory in most of them. People in our time tend to wear colorful and trendy designs with a bit of fancy touch. Also, a boost in fashion trends and brand devotion can be seen in the country. As an example, though it’s not directly related to clothing, there’s a trend for the usage of sneakers started in 2010-2011 period. Also, original and phony products which carry the celebrated brand names such as Nike, Adidas and Versace are massively consumed. In the meantime, local Fashion chains like Nolimit and Odel are also introducing their own brands such as NLM and Embark. These are more focused on providing Sri Lankans with ideal clothing that suit the local conditions. When considering the Formal dresses, companies like Hameedia are offering clothing with a fashion design approach

Sri Lanka is a developing South Asian country with a male to female ratio of 0.97:1 (estimated). Most of the people are working in government and private organizations and the service sector is more popular in the country’s economy. All these have a great influence on how fashions are consumed and marketed in the country. Apart from that, with the open economy, high literacy rate and the rapid development in ICT in the last decade, people have been influenced by Fashion in a considerable manner.

This has led to a situation in which number of clothing shops in all the parts of the country offering the market with numerous choices for those who seek fashionable clothing. This adoption of fashion is mainly based on few vital demographic factors such as gender, age, race, income and job as well as on other socio-cultural factors like attitudes of people, Religious views, income distribution and lifestyles Gender, Fashion and Fashion Design Industry

This is the basic factor that influences fashion in almost all the parts of the world. Sometime back, Sri Lankan males were not much interested in fashion when compared with females. Nowadays both males and females are interested in fashionable clothing and accessories and lot of choices are there in the market for them. On the other hand, still some people – specially the older generation - think that fashion is only for females but not for males.

However, currently, on day-to-day streets of urban areas, it’s quite evident that people are into fashion and it does not heavily depend on gender. One good example is the use of pink colored clothes. A color which was reserved for females has now become a fashionable color worn by both males and females and it is not only in casual wear. Formal office dresses also come in lighter pink colors which are accepted as decent and impressive in general. Denim fashions are also popular within both genders, especially the youth. When it comes to gender’s influence on clothing, only the basics of clothing remains unchanged (E.g.: Blouses are made for females and shirts are for males) but various colors and styles are adopted by both genders. Still, the exposure of body is not much encouraged or accepted in the society and it’s applicable for both males and females. Although there are lots of fashion designs of that kind which are popular, they do not exceed a certain limit due to cultural reasons.

Therefore, the Fashion Designs for Sri Lankan society can be done in many ways and freely for both males and females. The western clothing methods give a designer lot of freedom on design and decoration of a dress and there are potential customers for almost all the types of day-to-day clothes in Sri Lanka. Only thing is that a Fashion Designer should be aware of the potential market for a particular product. In the gender aspect, the society can be mainly divided into four parts, namely Rural Females, Rural Males, Urban Females and Urban Males. Although the fashion approaches of these four sectors differ according to other factors, the significant difference is due to the geographical background.

In the Fashion Design sector, a large number of females are attracted to the profession and comparatively it’s higher than the number of males. When it comes to the quality of designs, both males and females have performed well recently. Still, in the corporate sector (E.g. companies like MAS), chief fashion designers who hold managerial positions are mostly males and that’s changing rapidly with the high enrollment of female to the Fashion Academies. Therefore, Fashion and Fashion Design is becoming non-responsive to the gender segregation.

10 corporate sector (E.g. companies like MAS), chief fashion designers who hold managerial positions are mostly males and that’s changing rapidly with the high enrollment of female to the Fashion Academies. Therefore, Fashion and Fashion Design is becoming non-responsive to the gender segregation.

The effect of age on Fashion Design Industry

When considering the age groups, the ageing population of the country is increasing. According to 2010 estimations, the age variation is as follows.

Age Males Females Total

0-14 2757000 2674000 5431000

15-39 4325000 4369000 8694000

40-60 2266000 2352000 4618000

61+ 901000 1009000 1910000

Generally, elder people are not that interested in fashion but the younger generation is very keen to be fashionable and seek the latest fashion designs. Anyhow, the middle aged and younger aged population along with preteens and teens set up about the half of the country’s population. Therefore, the market for the fashion designs and fashionable clothing has a huge potential in Sri Lanka. Also, the vast majority of these age groups are contributing to the labor force and therefore, clothing and fashion is a day-to-day need of their lives.

Income, Occupation and Fashion Design Industry

The consumer behavior hugely depends on income and occupation of people and the consumption of clothes is affected by these than many other consumer goods. Being a Shopping Good under the product classification of Marketing, a dress is purchased with lot of planning and comparison. This planning and comparison of quality, price etc. are directly affected by the income and occupation of the buyer. This is due to the ability of purchasing and the environment in which the dress is worn.

occupation resembles the social class and acceptance of a person and that‟s another reason for the occupation to become a vital factor in choosing fashion.

However, the income of people is also a deciding factor when it comes to purchasing apparel. Sri Lanka is still a developing country with a per capita income of $ 2400. Most of the trendy and fashionable clothing designs are slightly higher in price when compared with normal clothing solutions. As an example, a good normal blouse can be bought for a price of Rs. 500.00 but a better design with a silky material would cost some additional Rs. 250.00. Therefore, with the income of people, diversity of fashion is limited to a part of the society. This can be clearly seen by observing the day-to-day clothing of people from Colombo and suburbs. Lower middle class people are limited to a certain pattern of clothing while the middle and upper middle classes diversify from that pattern upon their income and social background.



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