Violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world. It knows no social, economic, or geographic boundaries and can affect anyone, regardless of their status in society. Fashion has a universal appeal and can be a powerful tool to address and create awareness and empower communities to challenge norms and beliefs that perpetuate violence against women and girls.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Sri Lankan fashion brand label Amilani Perera, embarked on a partnership to address the issue of violence through the fashion and the apparel industry. Women engage in the apparel industry in all aspects, from designing, producing, modelling and beyond, and we must ensure these women are treated equally in their chosen field of employment.
Amilani Perera is a ready-to-wear brand which is driven through a two-pronged motive: providing the wearer with a truly unique garment, and giving back to society. Speaking on the partnership with UNFPA, Ms. Amilani Perera, Owner and Founder of the design label, said, “I want the brand to be a voice for women who may be suffering from violence in silence. Fashion can make a bold statement, and it is time that we use this platform to speak up about issues that are often silenced”.
Through the partnership with UNFPA, Amilani Perera will engage survivors of violence in product development, while conducting mentoring programmes to enhance their fashion and design skills. The products also feature hand paintings by Amilani Perera and will be part of the brand’s ‘UNBREAKABLE’ collection which will be launched at the Colombo Fashion Week 2020, in line with the Responsible Fashion Movement in Sri Lanka. Crowned title-holder of Mrs World 2020, Caroline Jurie, will walk the ramp as the showstopper for this revolutionary collection.
“We are excited to join hands with Amilani Perera to reach wider audiences and raise awareness on this important human rights issue. It is often difficult for survivors and their loved ones to speak up about violence, but using forms of art such as fashion can be a powerful outlet to break the silence. Talking openly about this taboo topic in many cultures is a meaningful first step towards a violence-free Sri Lanka.”, says Ms. Ritsu Nacken, UNFPA Representative in Sri Lanka.
According to UNFPA, 1 in 3 female homicides in Sri Lanka are related to intimate partner violence and 69% of such incidences go unreported, according to a study done in 5 provinces in the country. As one of the lead UN agencies working to further gender equality and women’s empowerment, UNFPA strives to effectively prevent and respond to violence against women and girls for a safer Sri Lanka for all.