HSBC CFW ‘21: Emerging Designers Unveiled

Mar 25 2021. views 136

This evening under the glare of the spotlight 11 emerging designers will take to the ramp to showcase their collection. Undergoing an extensive selection process followed by three months of intense training and mentoring these 11 young designers from various design educational establishments in the country are set to take centre stage at the HSBC Colombo Fashion Week at the Shangri-La, Colombo.

1- Navindri Ranatunga
After graduating with a degree in Fashion and Textile Design from AoD, Colombo Navindri launched her graduate collection at PR in April 2020 under the “PR Rising Star” program, Since then, Navindri has been working on her own fashion label “Navyāti”. This season at CFW the Navyāti collection “Tales of a Path”, draws inspiration from ancient Sri Lankan flags for its textile development, and garments from different communities in the island for its
silhouette development. The color palette for this collection comprises soft earthy color tones—yellow and gold, pink, blue, purple, red and orange. The collection mainly uses silk, raw silk and cotton blend fabrics as material. Various types of pleating and frilling methods have been used as silhouette techniques. For textile development, digital printing techniques such as sublimation printing, also known to be one of the most sustainable printing techniques in the fashion industry have been used. Hand-painted motifs that draw from and play with ancient imagery and figures have been transformed into digital prints and layered with fragments of various hand embroidered motifs.

2- Hasindu Jayasingha
An undergraduate at the Department of Integrated Design of University of Moratuwa, Hasindu is a designer and an avid textile artist with years of experience in the field. He has mastered techniques pertaining to but not limited to batik art, eco dyeing and printing which are very iconic to Sri Lankan culture. He likes to champion a philanthropic view through his brand Medusa Ceylon. In a world where violence is forgiven but speaking of it is forbidden and considered taboo by societal norms, Hasindu uses fashion as the medium of communication to empower the unspoken stories, to give them a voice, and to reshape damaged personalities. In his recent work with children, he is influenced by the tragedy of a young girl abused by her own father. In her paintings, she symbolised a blue bird as a metaphor for his genitalia. This was a Sri Lankan cultural parental norm of addressing male genitalia as “chu kurulla”, roughly translated to “pee bird” in English. This bird plays a pivitol role in his collection. In addition to educating Sri Lankans on the importance of sex education, he also has emphasized child abuse in the patrilineal society to help those affected overcome their fears. The erratic colour palette of the collection is inspired by the stories embedded in the art of the abuse survivors. He has used organic cotton as the fabric of choice, with embroidery intertwined with batik.

3- Chamanka Pehesara
Having started his journey at CFW last year Chamanka has attempted to invent a new point of view in fashion. He aims to elevate the idea of clothing into something powerful, sexy and elegant. Luxury and craftsmanship is the DNA of his own brand. He wants to talk to the new generation, especially the Instagram generation who is looking for revelation and rebel. In this collection, his idea is to ‘release the beast’ - to push out the powerful and fearless side of women. A strong woman intimidates boys and excites men is the idol image for this collection. The collection is inspired by the beasts in nature. “Embrace the lioness, take the power of the tigress in you and be sexy for yourself not because someone told you to but because you want to” he says. He has mixed hard fabrics like suede and faux leather and his colour palette is based on elegance and luxury.

4- Nisansala Deegala
Emerging as the top of her batch when she graduated from the University of Moratuwa. in 2018, Nisansala won the MAS award for best overall student in 2017. Her awards include winning the Chokolaate mother-daughter fashion show in 2016 and being awarded the title for the most outstanding designer in the UOM graduation fashion show 2018. Her collection named “First concept” is about high fashion-driven, conceptual, conscious fashion full of life and splendour which bridges past and future. To the First concept, circularity is paramount. Nisansala has used brass in her collection with the intention of recognizing an age old industry and helping to revive a dying traditional craft.The key focus is the sophistication of the silhouettes. Unexpected cutout placements tap into the subversive sexiness and conceal-and-reveal trend. The colour Lazuli Blue and mango sorbet are used to marry the concept of
the past and the future along with the natural brass colour. High-quality materials have been used which are committed to prolonging such as soft jute, crepe and unbleached rib-knitted materials.

5- Ishani Rajapaksha
A student specializing in fashion and lifestyle design at the University of Moratuwa, Ishani is currently experimenting with and experiencing the fashion industry to increase her knowledge and launch her brand. She is interested in Sri Lankan traditional crafts and has worked with Dumbara weaving, beeralu and batik crafts. She has decided to incorporate “lines” as her main focus to bring out a new fashion aesthetic in cooperation with Sri Lankan crafts. She is working on her brand IRAK which represents lines as the main focus. Her collection features pleated batik which reveals the journey of working women with a line aesthetic. The colour palette contains 5 colours, blue, white, beige, pink and black. Every single colour has a meaning and the alignment of the colours represent the journey of powerful women. The silhouettes are a combination of masculine and feminine looks made in muslin and silk.

6- Naduni Katuwandeniya
A Fashion and Lifestyle Design undergraduate student of University of Moratuwa Naduni is passionate about doing nature-inspired designs and loves to work with sustainable crafts. This is her first collection for her brand TANDRA and comprises occasion wear and resort wear. Her designs are based on the craft industry in Sri Lanka and her main target is to give a modern look to the traditional craft industry. All her silhouettes and colors are inspired by nature and she tries to use contrasting color palettes with detailed craft. This collection is done with Beeralu craft and is inspired by the beauty of the ocean. Monochromatic colours are used because she wanted to give a modern look to the traditional Beeralu craft. The  Silhouettes are inspired by the sea creatures and the old Sinhala traditional clothes, sleeves play a major role in a design therefore she paid little extra attention to make the sleeves as dramatic as possible using Beeralu crafts to show the rhythm of the human body.

7- Nipunika Fernando
A fashion and costume designer who has experience in creating garments for casual, event, costume and avant-garde wear, Nipunika’s designs focus on sustainability and Sri Lankan design elements. She received her Bachelor of Design from LCI Melbourne in 2019, majoring in Fashion and Costume and minoring in Graphic Design, for which she also received the Dean’s Award of High Distinction. She has showcased her designs in two runways for the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, for the years 2018 and 2019. She believes a person’s style is an expression of themselves and considers this when creating custom pieces for clients. Nipunika views clothing as a method of storytelling, as people make conscious decisions about what they wear depending on their mood, personal style, and environment. Her brand Naikava aims to add a Sri Lankan touch to everyday wear using traditional motifs and silhouettes. Her collection Sanni St. aims to bring traditional Sri Lankan motifs into street and event wear using a modern take on the iconic Sanni face, incorporated into comfortable, versatile garments. This collection features numerous pleats in wrap skirts and dhoti pants along with collared shirts and fitted blouses. The strict pleats of the Kandyan Osari and the flowing gathers of a Sari are made into detachable pieces, providing a new way to add a Sri Lankan touch to any outfit. The garments in this collection are made from locally crafted handloom in a shimmering gold, brought together with ivory and chocolate brown linens. Utilising natural textiles and coconut fixings, sustainability is woven into the very fibre of this collection.

8- Kavishna Kuruwitage.
A past student from Lyceum International School (Wattala) Kavishna is currently interning at MAS Katunayake as a designer. She started off her designing journey through AOD. and a nursery graduation ceremony. Her brand MARKU represents her personality which portrays who she is and who she strives to be as a person. Falling in love with batik, one of the most beautiful crafts that Sri Lankan tradition holds has paved a way for her to create intricate details and explore and experiment with new ways to create various textiles. Her collection titled Skeletal Dimensions is a womenswear collection inspired by 1980’s men’s workwear clothing. It combines the juxtaposition between the human skeleton structure and its mindsets. The silhouettes show the bold, tomboyish persona that she portrays. The technique that she has used through batik is a reversible method that creates a clean refined
technique on one side and an abstract textured effect on the reverse side. This technique is shown through most of the pieces within the collection. The use of fabrics includes cotton, linens and silks. Trying to start being responsible in fashion she has incorporated natural buttons which are made from recycled plastic and some of it are also made from the extracts of fruits.

9- Akash Paranavithana
Akash is fond of doing abstract concepts. His designs concentrate on zero waste patterns and upcycled patterns in garments, He also likes to work with unconventional materials and make them wearable. He focuses on jewellery and accessory making as well to enhance brand and has more variety and he believes that it is also a way to come up with designs to recycle leftover materials. His brand MAEL CEYLON is a brand that focuses on highs Streetwear and accessories. His collection is about how a person's emotions become more stable with age. The amount of pure emotion that a person shows is blocked and faked because of various factors. The loss of freedom to show what a person truly feels has a good side as well as a bad side to it and this is what he tries to showcase through his collection.

10- Hashani Fernando
Hashani is a final year undergraduate at University of Moratuwa . She has gained Professional experience with MAS Linea Aqua Hanwella, as a trainee designer as well as a product developer through her knowledge and confidence as a fashion designer. OCTO Atelier is a brand where she initiated to showcase her own designer pieces. It’s a sustainable fashion brand that promotes undergone fashion concepts and techniques due to technological advancement. Crochet, Beeralu, macramé and organic dying techniques are the key elements of the brand. Her collection for the show is called “Cottage soul” and is a reflection of the simplicity of cottage life. The key design element is hand crocheting. Calm earthy tones and shades of green enrich the collection in order to exhibit the correlation they had with the environment. The Cottage soul collection was inspired with the intention of
showing the simplicity we all had ages ago before industrialization.

11- Divya Jayawickrama
Divya graduated with a B.A. Fashion Design from the University College of Ratmalana in 2019. Her graduation collection was awarded the Best Menswear Collection of the Year at her graduation fashion show. Radical patternmaking, textile development, bold manipulations and meticulous research go hand in hand with her ambition and will to create something new and modern. Divya designs with sustainability in mind and uses no waste, reversible and convertible techniques in her collections. Her debut clothing brand “DIVYA93”, is a unisex brand that was launched at Colombo Fashion Week Summer 2020. This collection is inspired by playing cards (poker cards), It is about feelings, looks, shapes and card virtuoso. The concept name is “PLAY FOR ME”. Each and every garment speaks for itself with a small narrative more accurately. Hand block printing has been used mainly in her collection to express her ideas with handcraft design. The fabric has been developed through surface dying, block printing and also through natural ayurvedic protection using neem and turmeric. This collection is targeted at the high-end millennials. Voluminous, traditional formalwear and vintage looks have been merged into her collections.


Tina Edward Gunawardhana

Tina Edward Gunawardhana is a journalist specialising in travel, fashion, lifestyle, cuisine and personalities. She is also the Features Editor for Hi!! Magazine. An intrepid traveller, she likes to show readers the world through her eyes and experiences. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - tinajourno


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