THE BEGINNING . . .
"Where can I buy a plain, good quality T-shirt this week? without having to order it online from an international site which will ship it to me in a month." Was the question our Founder asked few friends, that lead to opening the Pandora box of "Modern Basics" at Absolute. Frustrated with the lack of a concrete answer or the answer being to check more than 4 to 5 places that may or may not have one, helped her understand that there is no dedicated place within Sri Lanka, where one can purchase a basic t-shirt (no prints, no logos, no extra stitches to make it interesting) or a perfect day shirt, any day of the month or year. With a passion to build a model around the gap for modern, high-quality basics in Sri Lanka, Absolute was brought to life with the vision to create nothing more nor less.
With the initiation in April 2019, Absolute has managed to develop its expertise in fashion essentials, sourcing, product development & quality control that is on par with export quality garments. Sri Lanka is one of the key hubs in South Asia for Apparel Manufacturing & Exports, with industry large enough to contribute to 40% of exports from the country. We believe that the consumer in Sri Lanka deserved the same output that we create for developed economies, instead of a compromised product.
Absolute has strived to grow gradually over the past two years amidst various economic challenges the country has faced. The learnings have been many & we have tried to channel it to create a brand that truly is for the consumer, and one that creates value in their life beyond sales & profits. The Brand has been an advocate for slow fashion, conscious consumerism & responsible fashion, and we are proud of how far we have come as opposed to creating a culture of buying anything & everything that's available in the marketplace. The Brand has taken time to understand the market, the willingness & the need that the country has for slow made, quality garments, instead of hundreds of fast fashion brands that operate within the country. We worry about every aspect of our pieces to the last amount of detail, so that you don't have to. By starting to ask where your garments came from, how it was made, and more importantly, asking yourself if you really need to buy something before you do, will eventually lead you in a clutter-less path, giving you more clarity about your style choices. Buying higher quality clothing will eliminate the need to shop multiple pieces for no reason.
Quality, zero compromise, pushing the existing industry boundaries of taking the easiest & most cost-effective way out has been the central pillars of our design philosophy. People are at the center of any brand's success. We treat our brand as a living breathing being, therefore any other person associated with us too. The garment workers are so often mistreated in the fashion industry, as a result of poor practices, fast fashion, & poor leaders. We are committed to working with responsible factories that pay workers fairly, protect workers rights, have safe working environments, and prohibit child labor, forced labor, and discrimination. We visit our factories personally and work closely with them to manufacture our collections. We've chosen the factories below based on their expertise and their social responsibility.
Our design journey started with the "Crew Neck" T-shirt and since our first attempt, we have gone through at least 5 factories to find the right one. Sri Lankan boutique apparel industry in nature is used to producing garments in the cheapest possible way. This is driven by the demand that comes from brand to produce garments the cheapest way as except for few brands, the majority is fast fashion oriented. Unless you are price competitive, you will loose business as a factory. The first question we get asked when we visit a potential factory & discuss the design process is if we produce for the local market or export purposes. When we say Local, the first suggestion we receive is to drop a few steps in construction to reduce the cost of manufacturing. 9 out of 10 factory owners we have met seemed to have the same mindset. Which we understand. It's the only way they stay in business. Because demand drives the market
We're committed to sustainable fabrics, responsible factories & practices. Our woven clothing is made in an all female boutique factory lead by an incredible young woman. Located in Gampaha District, the factory is in very close proximity to our offices & warehouse, allowing us to have a smooth supply chain reducing our carbon footprint. The expertise they bring in pattern making, technical design & quality control has played a huge part in the success of the brand. We often feel like Family during our visits as it's a very tight community of Gals.
All our knit products which are one of our key categories are made in a boutique factory of 95% female team. Lead by an a gentlemen with 10+ years of technical expertise in the industry, the factory has allowed us to achieve tremendous amounts of quality in our knitwear.
At Absolute we focus on fabrics that are beautiful but also sustainable. We are committed to using sustainable fabric in all of our designs. We primarily use cotton, cotton blends, linen, deadstock fabric (leftover fabric from International Brands that would have filled landfilled otherwise). Textiles impact the environment in several different ways, so we think about the impact as a whole and try to choose fabrics that have the least negative effect on the earth. Some of the things we consider are water and pesticide usage during fiber growth, energy and chemicals used during processing, disposal techniques, care requirements, fabric longevity, and biodegradability. We've chosen the following fabrics because we believe they are the most sustainable options for what we are creating.
We work with 100% cotton primarily for T-Shirts or about a 5-10% mix of elastane with cotton. The weight of the fabric is also a key in picking the right fabric for t-shirts. The right use of fabric results in the longevity, the right amount of stretchability that ensures a t-shirt remains in the right form.
We are happy to have found the right suppliers to find cotton in Sri Lanka that has allowed us to expand our cotton ranges. Variants of cotton are used for Shirts, Dresses & Pants.
Tencel is made from natural wood fibers that are sustainably harvested. It requires less water than other fabrics, and it's biodegradable. Tencel uses a closed-loop system that recycles solvents, rather than releasing them into the environment.
Linen is made from natural fibers (flax) and does not require pesticides or chemicals as conventional cotton does. It also gets better with time and is biodegradable.
In addition to new fabrics, we like to use deadstock fabrics, which are materials that have been leftover from other designers/brands. By using deadstock fabrics, we can avoid creating new waste and can save existing materials from the landfill and give them a new meaning & use.