A2S Technology Centre: New era dawns on garments

Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa recently formally opened the A2S Technology Centre, a cutting edge research, development and production facility operated by intimates and swimwear manufacturer Sintesi Ltd.

The launch of the operation, according to Sintesi Joint Managing Director Antonio De Micco Padula – with perhaps only a touch of hyperbole – represents a ‘second industrial revolution’ in garment making. It also further solidifies the reputation of Sri Lanka’s intimates manufacturing industry as a global leader of innovation.

Sintesi is also bridging the ancient Sri Lankan art of the handloom, as well as one of the world’s oldest fabrics, with its new-age lingerie and swimwear-making technology. By doing so, it’s hoping to provide jobs for thousands of rural women throughout Sri Lanka, in a project that moves beyond traditional corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts by creating a real and sustainable bottom-line incentive for everyone involved.

In 2012, Sintesi – which employs 2,000 people and is managed by Antonio and his long-time business partner, Kaushala Yahampath – generated about US$ 20 million in revenues. The company makes around 6 million garments a year for British brands Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Matalan, lingerie specialist Hunkemoller, global clothing maker H&M, and others. “It isn’t difficult to envision an entire vertically integrated bamboo fabric industry in Sri Lanka,” Antonio says.

Government support would help accelerate the process. “To develop the industry, we would need incentives each step along the way,” Antonio says. “Farmers would have to change their crops, we would need the scope to develop yarn, and fabric mills to produce bamboo fabric.” The best part, though, is that there will very likely already be a strong demand for the fabric, thanks to Kandygs and Sintesi.