Fashion design students of the University of Moratuwa at CFW Day with Colombo Fashion Week President Ajai Vir Singh, University of Moratuwa Department of Textile and Clothing Technology Head Dr. Ujithe S.W. Gunasekera, fashion designers Yasisurie Kiribandara and Amilani Perera, and the CFW team
Colombo Fashion Week recently held its fourth successful CFW Day as part of its ongoing Designer Development Program, which aims to nurture the next generation of fashion talent in Sri Lanka. This edition of CFW Day was held at the University of Moratuwa, where a great turnout of fashion design students was able to engage with the CFW team, senior designers and PR partners. The CFW Day participants were able to gain valuable insight into CFW’s work and the fashion industry, and explore different opportunities that are available to them through CFW’s design and retail initiatives.
“CFW Day is very close to my heart and it is a key component of Colombo Fashion Week,” said CFW President Ajai V. Singh. “Through this program, along with the CFW Fashion Design Fund and ‘BrightSpark’ Shows, we are developing the next generation of designers in Sri Lanka, in line with CFW’s overall objectives.”
By hosting CFW Day at leading fashion design institutions in Sri Lanka, CFW hopes to identify 10 new fashion designers, who will be groomed and mentored through an intensive program in the months leading up to ‘BrightSpark’ Shows, a showcasing of young fashion talent which is held during each season of CFW.
These young designers have the rare opportunity of working closely with the CFW team, who guide them through their creative process to produce a standout collection on the runway, and help them learn the inner workings of a fashion week. At the end of the program, the most promising ‘BrightSpark’ designer is awarded the prestigious CFW Fashion Design Fund, which funds the winner’s entire collection.
Addressing an eager audience of aspiring fashion designers, Singh outlined the role that CFW plays in supporting the growth of the Sri Lankan fashion industry. He emphasised that Fashion Weeks are not a form of entertainment but are an important platform that enables designers to build a solid clientele and gain commercial success, both locally and internationally. CFW is developmental in nature, and is constantly finding new ways to not just showcase the latest designer collections, but also prepare designers to retail their collections and pursue fashion as a serious business.
Students were also able to learn what it takes to be a successful fashion designer today, and they were advised on the importance of applying innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit, to stay ahead in the global fashion industry. It is essential that designers recognise their unique point of view, pay attention to the consumers’ point of view and develop creativity that sells, Singh noted.
Also present at CFW Day, Yasisurie Kiribandara and Amilani Perera addressed the gathering and highlighted how CFW has played a key role in their progress as fashion designers. “As a designer, it is important to work with a professional body, such as CFW, that supports your goals,” said Kiribandara, the winner of the CFW GenNext Award in 2014. “By showcasing at CFW, I have grown as a designer, the quality of my collections has improved and my pool of clients has grown larger. I have also been able to participate in CFW’s retail programs and this has helped me understand the business aspect of fashion.”
ARTRA Founder and Editor Azara Jaleel spoke to the students on the magazine’s ‘Emerging Designers’ series as a platform for young designers to gain wider attention amongst local consumers, and also shine a light on the growing opportunities that are available for fashion journalists in Sri Lanka today. Past and ongoing initiatives by CFW to train fashion bloggers and marketers were also highlighted at the event.
Since its first edition at the University of Moratuwa in December 2013, CFW Day has been able to inspire a whole new generation of fashion designers to work towards showcasing at CFW, one of four main fashion weeks in Asia that are over 10 years old, as an immediate step forward, following graduation. The backbone of Sri Lanka’s fashion industry for 12 years and counting, CFW continues to drive growth amongst young and established designers, whilst constantly evolving its own initiatives to take Sri Lankan fashion into the global arena.
For more information on Colombo Fashion Week, CFW Day and upcoming events, visit www.colombofashionweek.com. Use #cfw and #colombofashionweek on Facebook (www.facebook.com/colombofashionweek), Twitter (@hsbccfw) and Instagram (@hsbccfw) to follow the latest updates on CFW shows, designers and projects.