On Saturday, 13 November 2010 at the Sri Lanka Design Festival (SLDF), Kasuni Rathnasuriya was awarded the Young Fashion Entrepreneur (YFE) Award 2011.
|The YFE 2011 Award being presented to Kasuni Rathnasuriya by Tony Reilly, Country Director – British Council Sri Lanka
The YFE 2011 Award is a British Council initiative offered in partnership with the Sri Lanka Design Festival, that seeks to champion and celebrate the importance of creative entrepreneurs in the 25 to 35 age category working in the field of fashion.
Applicants were drawn from various areas of the fashion field including fashion textile, accessories production and design, fashion promotion, fashion education, fashion marketing, and fashion publishing.
Out of the many applications received, three candidates were short-listed based mainly on their written applications and supported by additional evidence of their entrepreneurial skill and ability.
The short-listed candidates were Ahamed Barry, Sandun De Silva, and Kasuni Rathnasuriya.
For the final interview, the short-listed candidates were given an opportunity to make a short presentation expanding on their written application and addressing questions related to market awareness, vision and ambition and their desire to develop mutually beneficial engagement with the UK.
The final judging panel for the YFE Award 2011 comprised of Kumar Mirchandani, Managing Director Favourite Group and garment industry representative; Rwituja Mookherjee, Head Creative Economy British Council India & Sri Lanka; and Tony Reilly, Country Director British Council Sri Lanka.
Kumar Mirchandani comments on the judging process, “The bar was definitely higher this year; we had three great finalists, any one of which would have been a worthy winner. But eventually it was about combining both creativity AND entrepreneurship – and that's why Kasuni was our choice.”
Kasuni Rathnasuriya, who was announced as the winner after the Industrial Fashion Show at the SLDF, is the founder and sole proprietor of the label ‘KUR’. A contemporary women’s label, which she launched in 2009, ‘KUR’ concerns the sustainable approaches in the fashion business such as revitalising the dying crafts in Sri Lanka, and recycling approaches.
A Member and a passed finalist of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK, Kasuni is currently employed as a Market Analyst at Brandix Lanka, the single largest apparel exporter in Sri Lanka with globally renowned eco-friendly best practices. She graduated from the Academy of Design in 2007 and is currently reading for her MBA at the Postgraduate Institute of Management, University of Sri Jayewardenepura.
“In 2007, when British council launched the YFE award, I was there. At that time it was just a dream. But last Saturday, my dream came true. This is one of the best things that has ever happened to me in my life and my fashion career so far. I am so happy to be recognized for my entrepreneurship skills and to get the chance to represent my country in the final program. Many thanks to the British Council for launching this award in Sri Lanka,” says Kasuni.
As the YFE Award winner for 2011, Kasuni will be given the unique opportunity to attend a tailor-made study tour to the UK, attend fashion and trade events and to network with peers and fashion leaders in February 2011.
British Council Country Director, Tony Reilly, comments on YFE 2011, “After only three weeks in Sri Lanka, I am bowled over by the talent and creativity of the next generation in this beautiful country. A country’s greatest asset is its people, its human resources – Sri Lanka has abundant talent. With peace and stability now at hand, the future looks very bright indeed.”
British Council and SLDF warmly congratulate Kasuni and all the other applicants on their achievements.