Academy of Design flies high

Linda Speldewinde, has been announced as the National winner of the British Council International Young Fashion Entrepreneur (IYFE) 2009 award

"Sri Lanka's fashion industry is still at an embryonic stage and I am so privileged to be able to create, re-define and formulate its very future with my contributions. It's like working on blank canvas. In 2000/2001, I founded the Academy of Design, a pioneering venture to provide undergraduate education in Design to young Sri Lankans. Since then I have been working on taking the Design industry forward through many projects.

Press conference at British council

I set up 'Peshakala', a project to revive the use of indigenous/native textiles in Sri Lanka and engage young designers with craft communities in villages; this is ever so important in a country like ours where there is such economic disparity between the urban and the rural. This year I launched and ran "Colombo's inaugural Design Week" starting the creative industries on a new journey. My most recent project is a programme to promote Entrepreneurship in the Creative Sector. My aim is to ensure, through the work of the Academy, the designers we produce and the other projects we do that we build Sri Lanka's fashion industry.

We need to build this industry to contribute towards ensuring the sustainability of our Apparel manufacturing Industry to make its products not only ethically manufactured but also fashionably viable. We also need to ensure that the fashion industry becomes a job creator and a contributor to our economy"

Ms. Linda Speldewinde MD AOD

Press Statement, Sri Lanka's national winner of the 2009 IYFE Award, Ms. Linda Speldewinde, founder and managing director, Academy of Design. As the national winner, Linda will represent Sri Lanka at the international competition to be held in London in February 2009, alongside London fashion Week. She will compete alongside 8 other winners from around the world for the title of International Young Fashion Entrepreneur (IYFE) 2009. The 8 other countries are Brazil, India, Indonesia, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Tunisia and Vietnam.

Applicants for the competition are drawn from various areas of the fashion field including- fashion textile, accessories production and design, fashion promotion, fashion education, fashion marketing, fashion publishing etc. recognizing that an applicant may strongly influence the business of fashion without being a practicing fashion designer. Excellent English language skills were a pre-requisite for this award. The award is a British Council initiative that seeks to champion and celebrate the importance of creative entrepreneurs in the 25 to 35 age category working in the field of fashion.The aim of the award is to raise awareness of the potential of the creative industries and share the experiences of the UK which has grown its creative industries exponentially in the last decade.

Linda, was chosen unanimously by the judging panel as the winner of the award. The judges were of the opinion that she would be a worthy ambassador for Sri Lanka as she understands the power and potential of the creative industry to create opportunities for people in this country. She has unlimited drive and ambition that the judges recognized as vital qualities to compete for this International award.

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