HSBC Colombo Fashion Week enters its 16th year with the emphasis on launching the second phase of fashion development in the country, expanding its vision to impact, define and revive the local fashion industry. Over 30 designers both local and international are set to grace the runways from  February 27 to March 2.  The line-up [...]


Fusion of creativity that will make Colombo come alive

HSBC Colombo Fashion Week

A section of the audience. Pix by Sameera Weerasekera

HSBC Colombo Fashion Week enters its 16th year with the emphasis on launching the second phase of fashion development in the country, expanding its vision to impact, define and revive the local fashion industry.

Over 30 designers both local and international are set to grace the runways from  February 27 to March 2.  The line-up includes international designers Rajesh Pratap Singh and Sukit Das along with Lankan designers such as Sonali Dharmawardena, Charini Suriyage, Annika Fernando, Sharmila Ruberu, Dimuthu Sahabandu, Fouzul Hameed, Aashki, Amilani Perera, Asanka De Mel, Dinushi Pamanuwa, Nilanka Silva, Brian Kerkoven, Aslam Hussein, Vathsala Gunasekara, IndeevariYapa Abeywardene, Kamil Hewavitharana and Gihan Ediriweera amongst others.

CFW founder and MD AjaiVir Singh addressing the media

For the first time ever CFW will be hosted across multiple venues in an exciting collaboration that aims to showcase the best of Colombo, with Galle Face Hotel hosting on February 28, Shangri-La Colombo on March 1 and Hilton Colombo on March 2.

The collaboration was led by Hilton Colombo, a CFW venue for the past 13 years, and was backed by Shangri-La Colombo and Galle Face Hotel in an effort to showcase Colombo from a destination perspective too.

The three participating hotels will also host Fashion + Food, creating limited edition menus for a gastronomical adventure during fashion week from February 25 to March 3.

The ambitious second phase places emphasis on the ‘Next 15 Years’ as the slogan of the season, aiming to take the fashion industry to the next level through a collaboration of fashion, food, and film.

Another inaugural event as part of CFW 2019 is the Sri Lankan Fashion Design Exhibition, which will showcase and celebrate archived works of important Sri Lankan designers. The exhibition, open to the public will run through the week.

Partners of the Fashion Week outline their vision for this year’s event at a media briefing

Fashion design is set to become even more accessible, with the upcoming launch of a ramp-to-retail initiative titled ‘Look To Book’, where select designs from the runways of CFW 2019 will be available for purchase.

Tying in with the creative aspect of fashion, the ‘Fashion Films’ initiative will create a platform to promote fashion though film and vice versa. Aspiring filmmakers will be required to capture a 1 minute video on their smartphones in an interactive visual representation of each designer’s collections and the inspiration for it.

This fusion of creativity that makes the city come alive is the key focus of the 16th year, according to Founder and Managing Director of CFW AjaiVir Singh.

“Colombo has so much to offer, and we want to make the city come alive with the fashion industry. We want to make it look like a creative and vibrant city,” he explains.

For more information and developments, visit, @colombofw on Instagram and @colombofashionweek on Facebook

Mentoring for emerging designers

The mentorship panel: Upeksha Hager, Darshi Keerthisena and Kanchana Thalpawila

This season a new mentorship format is created to lead emerging high potential designers in CFW’s Emerging Designer Development Programme. The mentorship panel consists of Kanchana Thalpawila, Darshi Keerthisena and Upeksha Hager who will have mentoring sessions with the emerging designers starting from February 15.

This season will see 10 high potential designers take the ramp.The Emerging Designer Development Programme and the resulting showcase is the engine that supplies designers for the fashion design industry – a key focus of CFW since its inception which has seen the emergence of many exciting young designers.

“Mentorship, guidance, training or any other value addition to a young fashion talent is very important to CFW as an organisation, and this has remained a core to us since inception. It will remain integral in this journey, as this is where we find the ever evolving future of Sri Lanka’s fashion design industry. I am so thankful to Kanchana, Darshi and Upeksha to come forward and lead this important programme,” says Ajai V. Singh, Founder and Managing Director CFW.

“Mentoring is a long process but some effort in that direction by CFW should be admired and we are glad to share our experience with a young group of creative talent which is willing to go through the process to sustain themselves in the business of fashion beyond the glamour and popularity of the world of fashion,” says Kanchana Thalpawila of KT Brown.

“Fashion is an art, and to sustain the art it must succeed as a business too. I look forward to working with the CFW emerging designers to pass on some tips (learned the hard way) on how the design process can be shaped to serve both the art and the commercial side of it,” says Darshi Keerthisena, Creative Director of Buddhi Batiks.

These senior designers will be the panel that will pick one emerging designer for the prestigious “THE NEXT” award.

“I am very excited to be a part of the CFW mentorship programme. I believe in passing it forward and so glad CFW has a space for me. CFW is very much about offering the support new designers might need with guidance in creating a collection that would launch them comfortably to the biggest stage in Sri Lanka. The idea is to allow them to hit the ground running with their businesses” says Upeksha Hager.

Each partner of the Fashion Week is a partner in the vision to create and develop a unique identity for Sri Lanka through the development of the fashion design industry. Title Partner HSBC, Official Hotel Partners Hilton Colombo, Shangri-La Colombo, Galle Face Hotel Colombo, Tresemme, the Official Hair Care Partner, SML Frontier Automative – Jaguar Land Rover, the Luxury Automobile Partner, Vision Care, the Official Eyewear Partner, Serenia Residences the Official Residences Partner, Ramani Fernando the Official Hair and Make-up Partner, Hameedia, Colombo City Walks, Mullen Lowe as the Official PR Partner and Emerging Media as the Outdoor Digital Media Partner.

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