Mirror Magazine


Nelum, Anarkali and Gayathri


New look sarees
South Asian women love their traditional dress but want more modern ways of wearing it, discovered young designer Kosala Kannangara (inset) who conducted a survey among expatriate Sri Lankan women in the 20 to 40 year age group in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.

These women, both students and professionals, she found, enjoyed wearing smart clothes with an 'Oriental twist' for special occasions so that they would be distinctive without being ostentatious.

A 2000-year tradition is not something which can be tossed away, she said in an interview with an Australian newspaper, but with many of the women in the workforce, they want something which is better suited to modern living conditions. This prompted her to think of designing different, more comfortable, easy to wear saree drapes.

A student of the Canberra Institute of Technology, Kosala unveiled her innovative saree collection using much less fabric and sarees made up of three panels; the fall, the frill and the bottom. She also designed sarongs and Western style garments, all of distinctive and colourful fabric from Barefoot at a successful show of Sri Lankan fashions titled 'Rhythm of My Display' which was attended by Sri Lanka's High Commissioner in Australia Major General Janaka Perera and Ms. Perera.

Kosala went to Australia in 1999 to fulfil her dream of becoming a fashion designer and began her studies at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology for a diploma in clothing manufacture. She has now graduated with a Bachelor of Fashion degree in Canberra and plans to return to Sri Lanka to pursue her career and hopefully, she says, to set up her own fashion school.

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