Fascinated with fashion

Adilah Ismail catches up with young fashion designer Asanga Godamuna who talks about his new company ‘Argo Designs’. Pix by Saman Kariyawasam

Breaking away from the flock is never easy - but it’s not impossible either. With the growing competition (both in the local and international) fashion scene and the recent surge in designers, the task of making your presence felt is no easy feat.

The Mirror Magazine caught up with Asanga Godamuna, a young fashion designer and entrepreneur, intent on making his mark. Having established his own company, Argo Design, he also possesses his own label ‘Seventy Nine’ and has participated in Colombo Fashion Week over the past three years.

An old student of Royal College, Asanga graduated from the Faculty of Architecture, University of Moratuwa with a Degree in Bachelor of Design (first class). Asanga’s designs are available at Aashkii, and Rithihi.

Q:led you to fashion designing?

I was privileged to get selected for the initial batch of the Bachelor of Design (Honours) Degree which is conducted under the Faculty of Architecture, University of Moratuwa. Getting selected changed my life totally and it was the first step for me to start off as a designer.

  Some of Asanga's designs presented at Colombo Fashion week. Asanga Godamuna with a model sporting one of his creations

I was always fascinated with human form. Out of the five design fields we had to specialize (Fashion, Graphic, Jewellery, Furniture and Ceramic), I felt that with fashion design I would be able to celebrate the human form with glamour.

Q:Could you elaborate a little bit about your designs?

For the moment I do hand woven saris. For the sari, the silhouette is defined with the drape on the wearer. In fashion there are three elements that we consider - silhouette, colour and material. So in this case my main concern is colour and material.

I love to use bright colours in my designs but it varies with the themes I work with or the inspiration I grab. I love to use different techniques in weaving as well as tie and dye and batiks.

Q:How did you first start ‘Argo Design’? What was the inspiration behind it?

Setting up my own design studio was one of my dreams while I was in university. I always wanted to take control of my life, and with Argo Design I felt that I am in control of the work I do. This company is still young and I have a long way to go. I dream of taking a Sri Lankan fashion label in to the international market.

Q:As an entrepreneur and a fashion designer, what are the challenges that you face?

In the Handloom Industry, it’s a little difficult to find young energy for weaving. Most of the master weavers are old and after them there is no one to take up their role. The other thing is that, there is a very limited customer segment that values local products and are willing to buy them. Most of the others go for non-branded cheaper products in the market from Thailand, China, India etc. So the biggest challenge is to change this attitude of the customer.

Q: How do you gain inspiration for your designs?

My inspirations come from everything around me. Every thing I see, hear and feel - Music, History, Paintings, Architecture, Movies, Comics. etc

Q:To whom are your designs targeted at?

For people who have a sense of art and who value Sri Lankan craftsmanship.

Q: Are you inspired by any other designers?

Rohith Bal from India for extreme details, Bibi Russell from Bangladesh for her use of traditional crafts, Barbara Sansoni for her use of colours – like this I have many more.

Q: Any advice for budding fashion designers/entrepreneurs?

Think big. If you fail, learn from it and do it again. Don’t stop until you succeed.

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