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CFW 2019; a blend of fashion and film


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From left: Ramani Fernando Salons Founder Ramani Fernando, Uniliver Sri Lanka Category Head –Hair and Skin Care Mihira Kulathunga, Galle Face Hotel Group Director of Sales and Marketing Mubarak Gaffoor, HSBC Sri Lanka Maldives CEO Mark Prothero, Colombo Fashion Week Founder and Managing Director Ajai V. Singh, Hilton Colombo General Manager Manesh Fernando, Shangri-La Hotel Colombo Vice President and General Manager Timothy Wright, SML Frontier Automotive- Jaguar Landrover CEO Ravi Perera, Vision Care General Manager Srimantha Wevelwala. Pix by Indraratne Balasuriya.

By Divya Thotawatte

Giving a new edge to the 16th edition of the HSBC Colombo Fashion Week, the film industry will be collaborating with fashion to create a platform to promote designs through visuals while highlighting Colombo as a tourist hub, said top officials recently. 

The fashion week, which was inaugurated in 2003 with a vision to impact, define and revive the local fashion industry, has expanded the boundaries of the industry by marketing promotion of Sri Lankan designers and fashion through films and viceversa. Also while showcasing Sri Lanka’s fashion design platform to the world, the CFW 2019 organisers have taken steps to highlight Colombo as a vibrant and creative fashion destination by hosting the shows in three key hotels around the city. The designs featured at the shows will be accessible for fashion lovers for retail through a new program called ‘Look and Book’ during the fashion week which is to be held from 27 February to 2 March. 

Speaking at a media briefing last week, CFW Founder Ajai Vir Singh said that fashion films would take lead this season while a Fashion Film Award will be won by one director during the show. “We’re focusing on fashion films this time because films are a very important part in the creative industry. We worked with art last year and this time films will be coming in to play a lot more. Fashion and films work together. Fashion is all about visuals and films are also a good marketing tool. Film expresses fashion and therefore we have collaborated both film and fashion this year as a marketing promotion of Sri Lankan designers. There will be five film directors working with ten fashion designers who will create idea films which will be showcased before each segment,” he elaborated. 

He also said that CFW had expanded focus this year and taken steps to showcase Colombo to be associated with fashion. To serve this initiative, the shows will be held in three key hotels around Colombo. The fashion week will be held at Galle Face Hotel on 28 February, at Shangri-La on 1 March, and at the Hilton on 2 March.

“If Paris can come alive when the fashion week happens there, why can’t we make Colombo come alive when the fashion week happens here?That’s why we decided to take it around, I think this is a significant start because Colombo has so much to offer. We want to see Colombo come alive with the fashion industry; we want to highlight it as a creative and vibrant city. Therefore, fashion will be around the town, and I think that is an interesting perspective,” the CFW Founder added. 

The fashion week will feature creations of more than 30 local and international designers over a period of four days. Some of the international designers include Rajesh Pratap Singh and Sukit Dir. The Sri Lankan designers will be Sonali Dharmawardena, Charini Suriyage, Maus by Annika Fernando, Meraki by Sharmila Ruberu, Dimuthu Sahabandu, FH by Fouzul Hameed, Jai by Aashki, Amilani Perera, Lovi Ceylon by Asanka De Mel, La Pard by Dinushi Pamunuwa, La Sari by Nilanka Silva, Brian Kerkoven, Aslam Hussein, Vathsala Gunasekara, Indi by Indeevari Yapa Abeywardene, Kamil Hewavitharana and Gihan Ediriweera among others. 

Held for the first time this year, theSri Lanka Fashion Design Exhibition which will be open to public for a week will also celebrate the work of important Sri Lankan designers. Another first, a new mentorship format has been created this season in order to guide emerging designers. The mentorship panel consisting of senior designers Kanchana T., Darshi and Upeksha will have sessions with younger high potential designers. ‘THE NEXT’ award will also be given to the best performing young designer.  CFW Founder and Managing Director Ajai V. Singh, HSBC CEO Sri Lanka and Maldives Mark Prothero, Hilton Colombo General Manager Manesh Fernando, Shangri-La General Manager Timothy Wright, Galle Face Hotel Group Director of Sales and Marketing Mubarak Gafoor, Unilever Sri Lanka Hair and Skin Care Category Head Mihira Kulatunga, SML Frontier Automotive – Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ravi Perera, Vision Care Managing Director Dasantha Fonseka and Ramani Fernando Salons Founder and CEO Ramani Fernando were members of the head table at the media conference held on 6 February to announce the event line-up.

Pix by Indraratne Balasuriya


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