Buzz with Danu - Sanduni de Silva

Oct 11 2023.

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Today on the Buzz, I have a lady who has made her way into the fashion arena, with her take on Batik. It’s not an easy place to make a name when the industry has so much to offer.  Her commitment to being a mother, work and life itself is a testimony to what you see in her creation.

She likes to keep it simple and timeless as these fabrics speak for themselves. Working under the brand name Colombo Batik she introduced her creations on her husband Lahiru Mudalige's platform.

What made you get into fashion?  Well, it's a journey that combines my background as a software engineer with my deep passion for fashion. After nearly 8 years in the IT industry, I began to feel the weight of a demanding job and a hectic lifestyle. I needed an outlet to reduce stress and find a creative balance.

Fashion has always been more than just an interest for me. The idea of creating something beautiful and expressive through clothing had always been in the back of my mind, waiting to be realised.
I yearned for something more, something that would allow me to tap into my creative side from the very beginning.

As a woman, a mother, and a wife, my love for fashion deepened with each role I embraced.
It became a means for me to celebrate the many facets of my identity. I wanted to see my creative vision come to life and share it with others.

That's when the concept of working with batik came into focus. It was a monumental challenge, and I'm someone who thrives on challenges. They present opportunities for growth, and I have a deep-rooted love for succeeding in the face of adversity. Batik artistry became my source of empowerment and fulfilment, allowing me to blend my technical expertise with my artistic dreams.

The process of bringing my sketches to life and seeing them transform into tangible garments fascinated me.

Another great motivator was the positive feedback I received from others who appreciated my designs. Each sketch and experiment became a step toward realising my passion, shaping my identity as a fashion enthusiast, and driving me to explore the limitless possibilities within the world of style and expression.

Batik is a very crowded business, how did you find your space in it? I never entered the world of Batik with the intention of finding my space in the crowded business.

My primary goal was simply to design and explore my creative instincts, without being preoccupied with market or competition. I was driven by a genuine passion for the art form.

I am grateful that people resonated with my designs. I never felt the need to forcefully carve out a space for myself; rather, I allowed my creations to speak for themselves. By remaining authentic and true to my artistic vision, my designs, infused with creativity and passion, naturally found an audience.
My love for the art and my dedication to my craft set me apart, allowing me to create a space that was uniquely mine within the thriving Batik industry.

How do you work on your designs? Tough question, I do not have a structure or a process to design. As cliche as it may sound my design process is deeply rooted in spontaneity and intuition. I don't force creativity; instead, I patiently wait for inspiration to strike me. I find that some of my best ideas come when I least expect them – a burst of creativity sparked by random encounters in my daily life and the nature around us. It is important to understand that the creative journey is often unpredictable and nonlinear. When inspiration does strike, I immerse myself completely in the moment. I start by sketching rough outlines, capturing the essence of the idea before it fades away. These initial sketches serve as the foundation, a raw expression of my vision.

From there, I carefully refine the details, paying attention to colour palettes, textures, and intricate patterns.

It's a journey of self-discovery where I allow my creativity to roam freely, capturing the essence of inspiration in every stroke and detail. This approach ensures that each of my designs is a true reflection of my passion, creativity, and the world as I perceive it.

Who has been your inspiration in fashion?  There are many great fashion designers. However, my inspiration in fashion is mostly the adversities of my own life, being a software engineer, a mother and a wife somehow inspired me to express my emotions creatively. And so I did. The work of other fashion designers helped me fabricate my designs. Their work helped me express my emotions through art and fabric.

What are the looks you are going to make for the season? My designs for the upcoming season are currently a work in progress. I must also say that none of my designs are seasonal but I can give you a glimpse into my creative direction.

My goal is to create timeless pieces that are inspired by the beauty of nature and the intricate wonders of the abstract world. The fusion of these elements shapes my vision for the new release, resulting in designs that capture the essence of natural forms and blend them with artistic abstraction.

One of the central themes I'm exploring is feminism. I firmly believe in the power and beauty of every woman. Each individual is unique, and my designs aim to celebrate this diversity. I want to create pieces that not only adorn the body but also amplify the inner strength and confidence of every woman who wears them. Stay tuned!

Where do you retail and where can we buy your work? We have just opened a studio in Ethul Kotte to showcase items and help my customers find their style. Additionally, you can find my pieces on our website   
Which celebrities do you think have the best sense of style? The beauty of celebrity style lies in its boundless creativity and adaptability. Celebrities have the unique advantage of exploring diverse fashion realms, adapting their style to perfectly suit different events and functions. Each celebrity possesses a distinctive fashion flair that makes them stand out, and it's this diversity that I find incredibly inspiring. I genuinely believe that every individual, irrespective of which community you come from is a celebrity, with their individual approach to fashion, showcases an exceptional sense of style.

Famous fashion designers you admire? Alexander McQueen remains an iconic figure in the fashion industry, and my admiration for his work knows no bounds. His designs were not just garments; they were profound expressions of art, emotion, and craftsmanship. McQueen had an unparalleled ability to push the boundaries of fashion, creating pieces that were not only visually striking but also deeply meaningful.

His legacy continues to inspire designers worldwide, reminding us of the transformative power of fashion. Alexander McQueen's innovative spirit, combined with his deep understanding of the human psyche, has left an indelible mark on the fashion landscape, making him a timeless source of admiration and inspiration for aspiring designers like myself.

What advice to people starting? Absolutely, my advice to aspiring fashion designers is to tap into your inner creativity and find a sense of originality that defines your unique style. Fashion is a deeply personal form of expression, and your individuality is your greatest asset. By embracing your authentic self, you're not just creating designs; you're crafting a distinct identity for yourself.

Remember, as a fashion designer, you are a trendsetter. Don't be afraid to think outside the box, challenge conventions, and experiment with unconventional ideas. The most memorable and impactful designs often come from daring to be different. Your creations have the power to influence and inspire, so let your imagination soar. Additionally, never compromise on quality.

Equally important is to keep sustainability at the forefront of your mind. The fashion industry has a significant impact on the environment, and as a designer, you have the responsibility to contribute to positive change. Explore eco-friendly materials, ethical production practices, and sustainable design techniques. By integrating sustainability into your work, you not only contribute to a greener future but also align your brand with socially conscious values, resonating with an increasingly eco-aware consumer base.

Lastly, stay passionate and persistent. The journey of a fashion designer is filled with challenges and setbacks, but it's your passion and perseverance that will drive you forward. Keep refining your skills, stay updated with industry trends, and most importantly, believe in your vision. Your dedication and belief in your work will be the driving force behind your success.          

(Pix courtesy: Colombo Batik)


Danu Innasithamby

Danu is a Jaffna Boy with a Marketing qualification (only because he needed to study, and not because he wanted it). He has been a part of the team for seven years and is the face behind Buzz with Danu, and WTF.


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