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Dressing female leadership, our own way

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  • A new Sri Lankan style identity for the female leader whether she’s taking the lead at work, the family front, social circles or the nation

 Sri Lanka is a country with a rich history of female leadership, starting from legendary queens centuries ago, the world’s first female premier, modern corporate powerhouses that dominate industries, to the millions of everyday women who bravely step up to the helm in supporting their families. And as more and more Sri Lankan women take leading positions, the need for our own stylistic image of a female leader becomes essential. Why? Because being able to visualise themselves as leaders is a major part of women feeling welcome and encouraged to pursue leadership. Aiming for this, we took a closer look at discovering what the modern Sri Lankan female leaders’ style identity is

Decoding the idea of leadership and translating it to fashion seemed like the kind of process that would need the input of an expert. This is why we turned to Fashionmarket.lk—a pioneering online fashion retailer built on the philosophy of connecting women to the kind of fashion that allows them to channel their very best. 

Sharing their views on the topic, the team of fashion editors and stylists at Fashionmarket.lk discussed the how the idea of a feminine leader is retold through wearables. 

“When you think of the idea of a leader, you think never-failing strength—and this doesn’t mean physical strength but the more mental strength which is really what is relevant nowadays. You also think of intelligence, vision and focus—the kind that you can really put your money behind...and also, we think, empathy—a leader who understands. This is the kind of female leader we envision and encourage through our brand philosophy,” one of Fashionmarket.lk’s brand managers stated. 

Fashionmarket.lk works with a number of talented designers whose brief is often to decode the leading female figure and dress her in a way that brings out her unique identity and vision. They work with colours, textures, shapes and dominant ideas on visualising authority and professionalism, often making references to international trends that allow women to present their global outlook. Discussing this, we asked the designers at Fashionmarket.lk to share some of their key rules for dressing the new Sri Lankan female lead figures.

The new Sri Lankan leading lady is deeply ambitious

This means that her look is focused. Her priorities are straight, and so is her style. Think focused palettes with the occasional contrast that brings in a pop colour or an interesting accessory, for an unusual touch.

She takes immense pride in her roots

Her style often resonates her heritage, the legacy of her country and the people of her community. This does not mean that she is orthodox in her views, but rather that she appreciates the beauty and vividity of cultures and treasures the practices and beliefs from her home. 

For the new Sri Lankan leading lady, this means handlooms woven in our own villages, traditional techniques such as batik, beeralu and dumbara weaving created by artisan hands...mixing in powerful local fashion elements such as sarees, osaris, sarongs and kaftans where appropriate. This is part of what makes her a leader who resonates wonderfully with her own people.

This also means that she loves culture in all its expressions

With a worldview that stems from knowledge and inspiration from around the globe, the modern female leader is a forward thinking personality who is unafraid of celebrating ideas, practices and creative expressions from faraway cultures and places beyond border. 

This means that the female leader today incorporates modern expressions of art, unusual cultural elements and exotic inspirations into her wardrobe in a sensitive and appropriate manner that also bears a personal significance. 

Cued-in to quality

Fashionmarket.lk designers highlighted recognising ‘good quality’ in fabric choices and finishing is one of the most telling aspects of a female leader’s clothing. The ability to pick out things that have been created with an obvious devotion to detail and preserving high quality in material and technique sends out an important message.

“It means that you notice the subtleties, that you’re cued-in to the details, that nothing escapes you. But, also that you have an appreciation for quality, which says volumes about a person,” said the designer. 

Simplicity says it all

Another key element about the wardrobe of a woman at the helm, is its distinct simplicity. This doesn’t mean that a female leading figure never wears intricate patterns or prints, but rather that they usually express a great equilibrium between the embellishments, colours and shapes as a whole. It stands for a balanced personality and a sense of understanding that is all-encompassing.

The personal connection

For a woman who believes in herself, what she wear has to do with who she is. She may sometimes be influenced by what is trending in the fashion magazines, or not at all, but her own sense of style remains a constant in her stylistic expressions. This often stands for a woman with great leadership skills such as self-awareness and consistency.

Storytelling style

The stylists at Fashionmarket.lk believe that women who are born leaders, often find it important to share what inspires them with the people around them. 

“This is usually quite important to women who are looking to inspire everyone else with what set their soul on fire in the first place. We find that fashion’s ability to tell stories plays a big role here. Imagine being a female leader who advocates women’s empowerment, and wearing a saree that has been woven by another woman who takes pride in her livelihood. It’s powerful storytelling, isn’t it?”

Bold colours—and that necessarily doesn’t 

mean loud

Colours play a major role in the impact that clothing creates in the observer, as well as the wearer. When you’re expressing an idea as simple yet dominant as ‘leadership’, chunks of solid colour, or bold coloured imprints go a long way because they stand for assurance and confidence. 

(This article is part of the editorial series ‘Wearing your Super Power’ in Daily FT in collaboration with www.fashionmarket.lk. For more information on fashion and its role in personal expression, the idea of using style as a tool for working women and unique Sri Lankan fashion brands that cater to this philosophy, reach Fashionmarket.lk on 076 777 1353 or log on to wwww.fashionmarket.lk for more information.)



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