HSBC Colombo Fashion Week: April 3, 4 and 5 Fashion is a way to explain yourself without talking. It’s the way you present yourself to the world – you can’t go into battle in sweats and tees – how will you close the deal like that? says Dutch designer Nish De Gruiter. �De Gruiter who [...]

The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

It’s here, another exciting edition


HSBC Colombo Fashion Week: April 3, 4 and 5

Fashion is a way to explain yourself without talking. It’s the way you present yourself to the world – you can’t go into battle in sweats and tees – how will you close the deal like that? says Dutch designer Nish De Gruiter. �De Gruiter who works on the commercial and creative sides at ‘Suitsupply’ says that it was while he was in Italy at Brunello Cucinelli for several years that he figured out that it’s possible to make beautiful garments without charging exorbitant amounts of money and that there is a market for style at all price ranges. “That was big for me,” he says.

Nish De Gruiter

Juan Duyo

Spanish designer Juan Duyos’ take on fashion is somewhat different: Fashion could be everything from what you wear to what you read, eat, listen or travel to. It became a global and powerful industry because it could make people dream and it is a vehicle to individual expression and surrounds us with beauty, he says.

Duyos has showed his collections at the Mercedes-Benz Madrid Fashion Week from 1997, and also at London Fashion Week once and in 2009 in New York City. “I have done co-brandings with many brands such as Adidas, Levi’s, Unilever, Nokia, Canon…to name a few. Nowadays, we run a demicouture atelier, producing our first line and wedding gowns, and I am also director of the fashion degree at ESNE, in Madrid. My style is always with an eye on the past and another in the future,” he says.

De Gruiter and Duyos are two of the hottest young male designers whose cutting edge design will be seen on the ramp when the Greater Colombo Fashion Company (TGCFC) presents HSBC Colombo Fashion Week on April 3,4 and 5 at the Colombo Hilton. Now in its 10th year, the CFW is hosting high profile designers from eight countries such as Agatha Ruiz de La prada, Bibi Russell, Radhika Hernandez and 28 others –both local and international.

Deneth Piumakshi

The HSBC Colombo Fashion Week 2013 aims to promote Sri Lanka as a hub for buyers of Resortwear and Spring/Summer clothing from any part of the world; a vital link that will also provide entry for international designers into South Asia which is fast becoming an important fashion market globally.

Over the past decade, the Greater Colombo Fashion Co. together with its many partners have helped HSBC Colombo Fashion Week maintain its singular vision of developing and uplifting Colombo’s fashion design industry by grooming and supporting new fashion designers and guiding existing designers towards important retail opportunities in Sri Lanka and beyond.

Among the local designers who’ve succeeded in breaking into the international market is Charini Suriyage. After her Bachelors in Fashion Design at the University of Moratuwa, Charini who’s reading for her Masters at the prestigious London College of Fashion, drew on her Sri Lankan heritage to launch her hand-crafted couture and ready to wear brand, The Concept Studio at Colombo Fashion Week in 2008.

Agatha Ruiz de la Prada

Moving on to the international fashion arena from there, Charini launched her eponymous lingerie brand at London Fashion Week in 2011 garnering attention as the first Lankan to take part in this prestigious event with her eco luxury collection, which exuded sensuality and glamour with a contemporary twist.�Charini is retailed in Europe, Sri Lanka, Australia as well as in the USA.

At the helm of Colombo Fashion Week are Ajai V. Singh, Dirk Flamer Caldera and Prasad Bidapa; three men responsible for the growth and development of fashion design and its associated industries.

Charini Suriyage

Each success story to emerge from HSBC Colombo Fashion Week is built on a firm base supplied by The Greater Colombo Fashion Company’s dedication to help designers to reach the heights they aspire to through the assistance TGCFC provides.�TGCFC’s Arugam Bay Surf Classic (rapidly growing in stature) is an example of how the company specialises in creating lifestyle related fashion properties. TGCFC also owns and manages the fashion brands Stringhopper and Sri Lanka’s first ethical fashion brand called Conscience.

Feminine elegance: A saree by Sonali Dharmawardena

Returning once again to the Colombo Fashion Week ramp is Deneth Piumakshi who will present a collection that is an intriguing union of handloom and Cheeththa inspired by an European classical style, especially of the period of the French designer Yves Saint Laurent.

Born in Kurunegala in the 1980’s, Deneth Piumakshi describes her childhood of growing up in a family of artists as a playground of creativity. With a name that means ‘Eyes’, it is no surprise that Deneth seeks to fill everyone’s vision with a riot of colours; An artist cum designer with a penchant for Sri Lankan Cheeththa, she’s taken this vibrant and unique yet mostly ignored rural patterned textile to new heights since her debut at Colombo Fashion Week in 2012.

Since winning the Gen-Next award, she has been selected and invited by the Institut Fran�aise for an Art residency, making her the first fashion designer to win the grant since 1950. Deneth has gone on to launch her own 21st-century “flower power” style inspired by her Sri Lankan home, as well as from many years living and travelling in Nepal, India, Bhutan and France.

Charini and Deneth apart, there are other exciting young Lankan designers who are aiming for international recognition- among them Kasuni Ratnayake, Gihan Ediriweera, Upeksha Hager, Fahad Sheriff, Dimuth Sahabandu, Ramona Oshin, Amanda Weerasinghe and Amilani Perera as well as the brand ‘Arra’. Fashion watchers will also have their eyes on well known local brands Yoland Aluvihare, Sonali Dharmawardena, Buddhi Batiks and Hameedia to note what they unveil as the show marks its tenth year.

With so much local and international variety on the ramp, the HSBC Colombo Fashion Week promises yet another exciting edition.

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