Monday, August 13, 2007

Tattered jeans earn big bucks for Sri Lanka

The denims look tattered and frayed, but shoppers in Europe and the United States are prepared to pay good money for "distressed" jeans and Sri Lanka is cashing in.

In the industrial town of Avissawella, east of the capital Colombo, it takes workers around 13 minutes to cut and sew basic five pocket denims. They then spend another four days torturing the pants by dying, bleaching, and sand papering them to get a "distressed" look.

"Each garment is dyed or dipped around 16 and sometimes as many as 30 times to achieve the proper torn, tattered look," .

"We earn more money by making denims look dirty and torn, the classic clean look doesn't bring us much," Mr Kumarasiri said. Basic denim jeans cost around $6 to make, but the shabbier "premium" ones cost twice as much, he added.

"In many ways, premium denims are replacing the little black dress as the wear anywhere fashion staple," he said.

Overseas buyers such as Levis, Gap and Pierre Cardin are now regular buyers of premium jeans from Sri Lanka where they can be made for as little as $12 a pair, and often sell for over $100. Buyers have been shifting production out of Europe to low-cost countries such as Sri Lanka.
Source: DC

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