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Improving Sustainability and Encouraging Innovation in Traditional Craft Sectors: the Case of Sri Lankan Handloom Industry

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/06/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Research Journal of Textile and Apparel
Issue number2
Volume24
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)111-130
Publication statusPublished
Early online date14/05/20
Original languageEnglish

Abstract


Purpose – The purpose of this study is to assess sustainability across the handloom industry in Sri Lanka and identify opportunities for sustainable innovations supporting new markets, development of SMEs and growth in the Sri Lankan craft sector
Design/Methodology/Approach – Using a multiple case studies methodology 10 case studies and 37 semi-structured interviews were analysed in conjunction with the triple-layered business model canvas.
Findings- The study reveals the handloom industry to be fundamentally sustainable but with structural barriers hindering innovation and growth. The environmentally conscious production process and social inclusion within weaving communities are the key driving forces of sustainability in the sector but the structure of the industry and lack of access to markets and information act as barriers to innovation and growth. The incorporation of design interventions, closed-loop manufacturing strategies and the encouragement of community-based entrepreneurship would support sustainability orientated business innovation in the handloom industry.
Originality/Value - The rapidly increasing market share for high-quality, hand-made goods indicates the potential of the creative industries to accelerate socio-economic growth. Handloom textiles is attracting growing interest in fashion markets, due to increasing concern about exploitation in production encouraging interest in the economic benefits of fairly traded, high quality materials, but also the potential contribution of handloom to sustainability in the fashion industry. The findings of this study will support the handloom industry and policy makers in developing support for sustainable innovation in the handloom industry.




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This article is (c) Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here. Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.