Buzz with Danu: Kosh Hewage

Jul 03 2024.

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Today on the Buzz I speak to a young and hardworking individual who has worked his way up in the world of fashion. He has also been instrumental in making many young talents be seen globally, creating platforms which have helped them. His very unique sense of style and his petite frame has clearly caught our eyes. Today he speaks more about his life and what makes him Kosh.

WHAT MADE YOU GET INTO MANAGING TALENT? Managing talent was actually not something that I wanted to do at all, though I have a degree (BSc) in Business Management, this whole story of getting into talent management happened by accident. Right after I won Designer of the Year 2015 I was in a reality show and after graduation there was pressure from my dad - get a job and start working...  While I was in university during summer break I used to volunteer and manage the backstage of Colombo Fashion Week, while doing that, our very own Adam Flamer Caldera saw my talent of managing the models backstage. He spoke to Anjuli, and I managed to be the very first employee of The Agency Sri Lanka and I was the model scout and model coordinator. That’s how I got into talent management.

HOW IS THE DEMAND FOR MODELS THESE DAYS? ARE CLIENTS WILLING TO PAY? Well if you are good at what you are doing and know the techniques - this applies to both models and their managers. We can definitely promote and encourage clients to pay better. The models need to understand that getting gigs is not solely an agent or manager's job. Models need to maintain their office, that means H to T (head to toe) with the most important thing being their attitude and their behaviour and good social life- digitally and physically. A model's first portfolio is their Instagram account or their tik tok account. Therefore they have to update and keep creating.

At The Agency Sri Lanka we have 3 tiers - Mainboard: more like top models. MIP: trained models and actively working but not as senior as mainboard. Fresh faces: new faces with not much experience but under training. The demand is there, not just locally. We have many inquiries from international brands and clients as well. If the team knows how to pitch and make their portfolio strong and if the models know how to deliver the best outcome, the money will flow. What goes wrong in Sri Lanka - many people (not calling them models - because it’s a respectable job) do work for super cheap to get featured in a billboard/ TVC or a well known brand - to show off in their tik tok's and call themselves  “famous ” or an “influencer." This is something we need to actually stop, because it takes so much work away from real models.

WHAT MADE YOU ENTER THE FASHION WORLD? This is a world I actually loved and cherished. Since the year 2000 when Priyanka Chopra was crowned Miss World, my soul got caught up by that glamour- the outfits and the crown. So ever since that day I had a very special place in my heart for the fashion and entertainment world. So I secretly did a little work with my mum with her bridal designs and other fashion designs. I used to design / mostly drape clothes for my sister’s Barbie dolls. And then I did what made me happy. Took part in a few fashion designer  competitions, but  some I only got into the semi finals, and some I won a few titles. In 2015 I won the Designer of the Year award and the same year I was awarded as the best talent at the NSBM We Got Talent show. I also became a finalist at a national television reality TV show. This industry got me to showcase my collection at the Asian European Fashion Week in Paris 5 times, and twice in Milan as well.

HOW HAVE YOU SEEN THIS INDUSTRY GROW? AND DO YOU FEEL WE ARE IN A GOOD PLACE?  Ohh the industry is actually growing and many things are changing, but not at the correct speed. Our models are walking in many international shows, becoming finalists in pageants, winning big titles, doing Netflix shows and Amazon prime shows, and our designers are showcasing at international shows, but I think we have to be more active and manage the talent better.

Our designers - they don’t do seasonal collections, most of them don’t do their own shows, they don’t do campaign shoots, they just make money out of the basic clientele they have. Our designers are so talented and their work is outstanding but they don’t have the right managers to guide and take them to places. It’s not just about the money, when you are a brand - you have to do your PR, brand management, VM, there are many things we have to look into. So I think we  can be in a better and bigger place.

WHAT IS THE ADVANTAGE OF HAVING  A MANAGER?  Having a manager can be very beneficial, it’s like having a parent apart from your real family. A manager will do the pitching, negotiation, handling the financial aspects, maintaining the portfolio, updating the portfolio, doing their PR, and delivering and getting them what they want. Example: if your talent wants to be in a reality show, pageant or anything that comes under talent - you have to get it and make sure you deliver and satisfy his/ hers needs. you can be a manager and be like 'oh pageants are goday, not relevant anymore, or it doesn’t go with my agency agenda!' You have to be able to make sure you manage them properly and get them the right exposure they deserve.

WHO HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION? Since I was a kid there were many people I looked up to. One was my dad - he actually showed me that even though he is super rich, he still went in the bus, never pushed and spoiled us to buy luxury stuff from his money. His teaching was: if you want something expensive- work and buy it yourself. And my fashion inspiration personality is Tyra Banks. The way she helped and mentored models is super cool. And when it comes to managing and branding. It’s none other than Kris Jenner. And if it’s about my personal fashion style it’s a little  of Zendaya, Jackson Wang (Chinese musician and fashion icon) Krit Amnuaydechkorn a Thai actor and singer / also a major fashion icon.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR CHILDHOOD? It was an actual Sri Lankan childhood. Played house with my cousin and sister, never played sports, went to a big government school, was an average student in class but I was always a leader or monitor in my class, hated school (mostly hated waking up at 5.00 am) I was compared with my friends a lot for studies, but I make double the cash they make in a month and I find it in a day or few hours. I had a pretty normal childhood but I was a major introvert. But for some reason I always wanted to be the centre of attention and to be loved by everyone. Was a big time people pleaser. But eventually I became more independent, more confident and less dramatic- because I knew this journey I have to go alone and I don't want my success to be owned by anyone.

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FASHION STATEMENT? HOW DID YOU GET THE KOSH LOOK? The Kosh look is something that happened after I started watching a Thai series and fell in love with the Thai entertainment industry and culture and most of the Southeast Asian entertainment industry. My personal day to day style is very chic and minimalistic. But my red carpet/ event look is completely different- it’s more out there, sexy yet red carpet chic , and it’s memorable! I always believed one thing - you have to dress to impress and it should be appreciated at the event you are attending. And what makes my outfits appropriate is because I wear them with confidence. And I really enjoy putting a look together and styling myself. I don’t just take things out of my closet, I pre plan everything and I have at least 2 looks per event and the second look is always in my car just in case...

Pix courtesy Kosh 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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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