Businesses that encourage and promote high-quality long-lasting products that add lasting value to an individual’s wardrobe as well as the planet is the way to go, says Sandani Perera, founder and fashion designer of the fashion brand IKIGAI, in an interview with the EthicalX team.
IKIGAI promotes slow fashion and Sandani currently sells two main categories under the label – men’s and women’s ready-to-wear clothing and customised bridal wear. She has also showcased her collections at Colombo Fashion Week.
Following are excerpts of the interview:
1. What does climate-friendly business and ethical fashion mean to you?
Climate-friendly and ethical fashion is saying no to trend-driven fast fashion and mindless purchases. Businesses that encourage and promote high-quality long-lasting products that add lasting value to an individual’s wardrobe as well as the planet is the way to go.
2. What measures have you taken to make your business more sustainable, ethical, and climate friendly?
Our brand is a minimal fashion brand that concentrates on timeless pieces with clean construction, promoting the attitude that ‘less is more’. Our designs come predominantly in neutral tones, which makes mixing and matching a breeze. They also allow multiple styling options that make them versatile and wardrobe must-haves.
We educate our clients on developing personal style and encourage them to buy products that help enhance their personal style which will put a stop to the fast fashion mindset that encourages people to purchase low-quality items that have a short lifecycle through frequent sales.
3. What are the key challenges that you have faced in your journey and how did you overcome them?
As a small business, finding a factory that can work within the required order quantity as well as do the kind of finishes our products require has been a challenge. It is a difficult process and persistent effort is made to make the product better.
4. How does EthicalX help enhance your knowledge and skills on ethical, sustainable, and climate-friendly business enterprise?
As a young business, EthicalX has given us the opportunity to meet with other like-minded entrepreneurs so that we can learn from each other. The sessions so far have provided me with a lot of insight into how I can improve my brand further.
SLYCAN Trust launched the EthicalX programme in January 2022 to enhance Sri Lanka's start-up ecosystem and strengthen ethical, sustainable, and climate-friendly entrepreneurship on all levels. Through Climate & Innovation Hubs, EthicalX provides capacity-building and technical support for entrepreneurs at various stages of their business development.
The EthicalX Fashion Cell comprises talented and well-rounded entrepreneurs with a common interest in enhancing their capacities, expanding their network, and promoting sustainable practices through their enterprises.
SLYCAN Trust is a non-profit think tank. It has been a registered legal entity in the form of a trust since 2016, and a guarantee limited company since 2019. The entities focus on the thematic areas of climate change, adaptation and resilience, sustainable development, environmental conservation and restoration, social justice, and animal welfare. SLYCAN Trust’s activities include legal and policy research, education and awareness creation, capacity building and training, and implementation of ground level action. SLYCAN Trust aims to facilitate and contribute to multi-stakeholder driven, inclusive and participatory actions for a sustainable and resilient future for all.