Head table from left: Unilever Skin and Haircare Marketing Manager Mihira Kulatunga, Ramani Fernando Salons Founder Ramani Fernando, Wildlife and Nature Protection Society President Spencer Manuelpillai, UNFP Representative for Sri Lanka and Country Director Kunle Adeniyi, Shangri-La General Manager Herve Duboscq, Colombo Fashion Week Founder Ajai Vir Singh, HSBC CEO Mark Surgenor, Italy Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives Rita Mannella, South Beach Weligama Managing Director John Balmond and Vision Care General Manager Harsha Maduranga
- Emerging Designer Fund, NextGen Award, Responsible Meter, CFW Accelerate key highlights during much-awaited show from 24 to 26 February at Shangri-La Hotel Colombo
By Nazomi Thalpawila
HSBC Colombo Fashion Week (CFW) begins a new season next week championing societal and environmental wellbeing as well as several new initiatives reinforcing the significant impact it has made for nearly two decades.
Slated for 24 to 26 February at Shangri-La Hotel Colombo, the 19th CFW has ‘Green Conscious and Earth Sensitive’ as its theme expanding its scope in the new normal environment by developing a series of programs that not only supports emerging designers but also create a system that allows designers to have sustainability at the core of their design philosophy.
Organisers said CFW will feature 23 designers who will help revitalise a pandemic-ravaged industry while somehow emphasising recycling and reducing carbon emissions.
The line-up includes Charini Suriyage, Dimuthu Sahabandu, Sonali Dharmawardena, Amilani Perera, Fouzul Hameed, Indi Yapa Abeywardena, Asanka De Mel, Dinushi Pamunuwa, Kamil Hewavitharana, Achala Leekoh, Himashi Wijeweera, Divya Jayawickrama, Ayesh Wickramaratne, and Nilusha Maddumage.
CFW invites three notable South Asian designers to display at HSBC Colombo Fashion Week this year, following a two-year hiatus. The line-up will include well-known Pakistani designer Rizwan Beyg, Woolmark Ward winner Suket Dhir, and Indian designer RimZim Dadu. These designers are also involved in a knowledge exchange initiative with Sri Lankan designers.
CFW throughout its 19 years emerging designer program has remained a key initiative of CFW. This year it extends this program further by announcing the HSBC Fashion Fund for high potential designers who showcase at CFW. This fund focuses on supporting designers who need financial assistance to move ahead in these challenging times.
The HSBC Emerging Designer Fashion Fund will identify five high potential young designers through a panel. The names will be announced after evaluation at the end of February. NextGen Award, Responsible Meter and CFW Accelerate are other initiatives.
“Before CFW began the fashion industry had no ecosystem. Since 2003 we have endeavoured to develop and champion the fashion ecosystem as well as sustainability and now we are expanding this with funding opportunities,” CFW Director Fazeena Rajabdeen Director told the media launch of CFW.
Founder Ajai Vir Singh said CFW as a development organisation, in a systematic manner, created formats that demand transformation across the key pillars that would define a fashion industry. CFW’s mission is to establish, develop and maintain an efficient fashion eco-system that incubates the best of Sri Lankan fashion design.
The various companies of CFW focus on different aspects of fashion, from fashion week platforms, creative events, media, sustainable fashion, education-based programs, and fashion brands
This is HSBC’s 15th year as the title partner of Colombo Fashion Week and during that time this partnership has seen the fashion industry of Sri Lanka expand into an eco-system that encourages new generations to come into the design industry. To celebrate this milestone, in addition to the HSBC Fashion Fund, HSBC also announced its second collaboration The Responsible Meter which creates a pathway for designers to start a sustainable supply chain.
HSBC Sri Lanka and the Maldives CEO Mark Surgenor stated: “HSBC is delighted to be completing its 15th year of support for this most sought after showcase of Fashion, Design and creativity in Sri Lanka. Celebrating our 130th year in Sri Lanka as the leading international Bank, we are delighted through our partnership with CFW to be able to continue to support the opening of a world of opportunity for our clients, designers and the Fashion industry in Sri Lanka.”
Responsible Meter is one of its kind garment tools that evaluate the impact of a designer›s supply chain on Environmental and Societal wellbeing. This scoring is to guide designers and to make consumers aware of their purchases.
Shangri-La Hotel Colombo, the official host hotel, has also yet again partnered with CFW this season, they have stood from strong sustainable principles immersed in design outlook making them connect with design platforms. This partnership has strengthened over the years and shares similar values on the responsibility towards the environment.
Speaking on the partnership, Shangri-La Hotel Colombo and One Galle Face General Manager Herve Duboscq said: “As we partner with HSBC Colombo Fashion Week for the fifth consecutive year, we are consistently inspired by the values and evolving aesthetics embraced by the event, including this year’s theme – ‘Green Conscious and Earth Sensitive,’ that emphasises mitigating the impact on Sri Lanka’s diverse wildlife and natural landscapes.”
“Reflecting our own aim to create colourful moments of joy for our guests in a sustainable manner, we’re also enthusiastic that this year’s edition of CFW will provide a rich showcase for the work of many talented designers, whilst bringing salient focus to the meaningful ideals embodied by the event,” he added.
This season is the second year that UNFPA partners with CFW to bring attention to sexual and gender-based exploitation of women. The apparel and the fashion industry boasts of healthy women participation in its supply chain making them important stakeholders. This aspect of societal wellbeing plays an important role in arresting this exploitation. Designer Amilani Perera integrates this aspect in her collection to be shown.
Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) partners with CFW to highlight environmental issues that need attention, the month of February is called the month of Wetlands as these important ecosystems need attention and preservation. Established in 1894, WNPS is the third oldest conservation society in the world and the largest and most active in Sri Lanka.
This season also sees the introduction of the Italy Award by The Embassy of Italy for a talented young designer. The award also includes a financial reward and a scholarship to study fashion at a prominent design institute in Milan.
For the first time CFW partners with South Beach Weligama, a designed based development that finds synergy with CFW on pillars of sustainability, creative lifestyle and trends.
The hair looks for each day will be presented the Tressemme, the official hair care partner, an expert brand that also partners New York fashion Week.
Vision Care is the Official Eyewear Partner for Colombo Fashion Week and has been so for the last five years. In its role as the leading eye care brand in the country with over 55 branches located islandwide, Vision Care is unwavering in its commitment to driving the sector to achieve greater heights.
Another first partnership with CFW , the official makeup partner for the season is Beautybyrosh. An inclusive Australian brand founded by Rosh Kumarasinghe of Sri Lankan origin. The brand is cruelty-free, vegan, ethical and sustainable, and works towards creating a more inclusive space in the global beauty community.
Ramani Fernando Salons is Sri Lanka’s largest and leading hair and beauty brand, with over 40 years of experience in the industry. Ramani Fernando has been the Official Hair and Make-Up Partner for Colombo Fashion Week since 2003, and they continue to support CFW with its growth.
Hameedia continues to extend its longstanding affiliation with CFW, and continues providing its unwavering commitment to this year’s event too.
Emerging Media, a market leader in location-based indoor and outdoor advertising are our Official Outdoor Digital Media Partner. Wijeya Newspapers Ltd. is the official print media partner.
Media factory, who commenced business in June 2005 and was an instant game-changer for the industry and has continued to do so, is the official Media partner.
Also joining hands with CFW for the first time as the Hard Talk, Official PR partner is Hardtalk, a public relations agency with over 12 years of experience working with both local and international brands. The Official Radio Partner of this year’s event will be TNL Radio.
Pix by Lasantha Kumara