Colombo Fashion Week 2020 Summer initiates responsibility in fashion 0 142

By Shenali Bamaramannage 

True to its reputation as one of the most elite fashion events in South Asia, the 17th CFW 2020 Summer kicked off in the heart of Colombo in all of its glory within a span of 3 days from the 13th to 15th of August, showcasing the creativity, talent, and passion of 27 local designers. Resilient in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was held with strict health precautions to ensure the safety of the participants. The audience was encouraged to maintain social distancing and wear masks at all times. The event was live-streamed in an attempt to allow fashion enthusiasts to experience Sri Lanka’s most prestigious fashion show on a global scale.

The fashion industry being the environment’s top 5 polluting industries in the world, CFW 2020 took the initiative to introduce the revolutionary concept of ‘Responsibility in fashion’, the first of it’s kind in the world, highlighting the urgency of the need for sustainability and circularity in the industry and providing designers with the knowledge and tools to approach it with actionable plans. The incorporation of the Responsible meter has played a key role in shaping this change, making the process of fashion designing more transparent, accountable, and responsible by urging the designers to implement more sustainable methods of manufacturing and disposal.  

 

According to Mr. Ajai Vir Singh who is the Visionary, Founder and Managing Director of Colombo Fashion Week, ‘This was in the works for the last couple of years and we really wanted to be the first fashion week in Asia, if not the world, to introduce a system of accountability which encouraged and celebrated the responsibility in Fashion, which is such an urgent need. This system of the audit is very different to what is available, it does not take the route of policing and accusing but of training, of aligning hearts so that this path of change is embraced by all designers and stakeholders to lead towards positive impact.’ He went on to state that the system educates the fashion consumers and is the next step in Responsible fashion which can be enabled across various fashion platforms with relative ease.

Providing upcoming designers with a platform to showcase their creativity and gain recognition has always been a key aspect of the HSBC Colombo Fashion Week. This year was no different with the first day of the event on the 13th of August in Shangri-La Colombo, solely focusing on 13 outstanding emerging designers. They are namely, Achala Leekoh, Ayesh Wickramarathne, Chamanka Pehesara, Divya Jayawickrama, Harinda Gunawardena, Hirushi Jayathilake, Himashi Wijeweera, Joanne Kulamannage, Mikail Hameed, Nilusha Maddumage, Ranga Senevirathne, Thamoda Geegamage, and Udarika Dalugama. These high-caliber young designers were mentored by the CFW mentorship panel after their selection, enabling them to refine and perfect their skills to put on an unforgettable show, stunning the audience with their elegant embroidery, bold silhouettes, excellent pattern-making, classic tailoring, unique prints, and amalgamation of traditional aspects with the modern in order to create wearable contemporary pieces which environmentally non-toxic in nature. The featuring of new face mask styles in the midst of the pandemic is a notable feature.

The second and third days of the fashion week were held on the 14th and 15th of August in Shangri-La Colombo and Hilton Colombo respectively. The events featured collections by some of the most established and accomplished designers on the island. Aslam Hussein, Dimuthu Sahabandu, Fouzul  Hameed, Koca by RN,  LOVI Ceylon, Vogue Jewellers, and Wraith took over the runway on Friday while Amilani Perera, Charini Suriyage, Indi, Jai by Aashkii, Limak by Kamil, Meraki and The Old Railway were set on Saturday, the third and final day. These distinguished designers no less than awed the audience with their stunning couture (and jewelry) collections together with their stunning presentations.

The leading companies with aligned goals that joined hands with CFW to bring on this elaborate fashion show are The Title Partner HSBC; The main partners, Shangri-La Colombo, Hilton Colombo, TRESemmé, Vogue Jewellers, Vision Care, and Hameedia; The associate partners, Ramani Fernando Salons, Media Factory, Emerging Media and We Are Designers. Their joint vision together made this hallowed event a success.

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Glistering Portraits 0 851

By: T.V Perera

One reason Sri Lanka is referred to as a resplendent island attributes to its colourful gems in Ratnapura, Elahera, Embilipitiya, Okkampitiya in Buttala and several other places. Among the precious stones un-earthed from gem pits in Buttala are rubies, sapphires, cat’s eyes, moon-stones and garnets. Stones found in rough from are cut and polished by gem-cutters following which their values are assessed based on purity (free of blemish) and weight measured in terms of caratage – a carat being equal to 200 milligrams. Polished gems adorn jewellery, the crown of royalty, and in the past handles of swords of kings. 

Glistering-Drawings-01

A third grade of although colourful stones were thrown back into the pits in similar manner as stone shavings and filings were discarded as obsolete and of no utility value until things took a turn when gem cutter Saman Ajith Bandara embarked on an artistic handicraft project, producing brightly coloured portraits, wall hangings, photo frames, plaque designs and sceneries with gem shavings and found a ready market for his products.

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In an interview with BiZnomics, Bandara who has his workshop in Buttala said, “I collected shavings of natural stones in their separate colours, which otherwise would have been discarded and began my industry on a small scale”. Explaining previously when shavings were used ha says, “The only instance gem shaving are made use of is when they are filled into small clay pots and hung from roof beams with pure astrological meaning to ward off evil. On a traced map of Sri Lanka, I pasted the shavings giving each topographical district a different colour. Finally I had a 25 coloured map of Sri Lanka”. Bandara’s effort proved to be an instant success as he described, “I took the map to Ratnapura where a gem merchant paid me Rs.6000 on the spot for my handcrafted frame which provided me the necessary encouragement to produce more pictures”.

Glistering-Drawings-03As orders increased, Bandara quit his gem cutting job to devote full time to the new venture, and to assist him secured the services of a close relative Indika who with time, become joint partner of the Crest Mineral Creatines Company they formed in the year 2000. The company presently count 15 artistically talented employees who contribute to its high earnings.

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Secrets to Living a Happier Life 0 982

Akna Goonaratne University of Deikin, Melbourne
Akna Goonaratne University of Deikin, Melbourne

Our brains are focused on survival. Anything more than that, you have to work for it.

There’s an unfortunate reason why happiness is often elusive – our brains simply aren’t wired that way. Instead, our brains have evolved to survive, to protect ourselves, to keep us safe. Sure, we have moments of elation and periods of contentment and bliss. But many of us are plagued with persistent negative emotions – we are just plain stuck in the “blahs.”

How do we find more joy in our life? Like anything else, it takes practice to cultivate ongoing happiness. In a sense, we have to reset our baseline. It won’t happen overnight, but here are some things you can do every day to discover the secrets of being happier.

Focus on the positive

To find long-term happiness, you need to retrain your brain from a negative mindset to a positive mindset. Try these things: Spend one to two minutes looking for positives in your life. Do this three times a day for 45 days, and your brain will start doing it automatically.

Choose a positive mantra for the day — something you will repeat to yourself, such as “Today is beautiful” or “I feel grateful for all I have”. And when things go sour, take a moment to try and see it from a positive light. Never under estimate the importance of recognizing the silver linings in life.

Celebrate little victories

Life is full of ups and downs, but in between we have a lot of little victories that go unnoticed. Take a moment to celebrate these small wins.

Did you check off all the things on your ‘To-do’ list that you’ve been procrastinating on? Yay! Did you finally clear out the thousand emails that have been filling up your inbox? Woohoo! Take pleasure in these little achievements. They add up!

Find your work–life balance

Work takes up a lot of our day, but it shouldn’t be the only thing we do. It’s important to pursue activities and interests beyond our job. Do you have a hobby? Are you spending time with friends and loved ones? Are you getting exercise? Creating balance in your life will reduce stress and give you other outlets to express yourself and have fun.

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness mediation, works by bringing your awareness and attention to the present moment. It’s about being non-judgmental and accepting how you are feeling. Practicing mindfulness means being present, aware and curious. Accepting what we are going through decreases stress and helps us see situations for what they are. Through mindfulness, we can find peace and affirmation in ourselves.

Celebrate little victories

You may think of artists as being moody and depressed but studies show that engaging in creative activities on a regular basis actually makes you happier. Those who spend time using their imagination and being creative have more enthusiasm and are more likely to have feelings of long-term happiness and well-being. Such creative activities can include writing, painting, drawing and musical performance.

Accept imperfection

Many of us strive for perfection – we desire to push ourselves to be our best. But in order to be truly happy, you must embrace the imperfection that is part of life. Perfection is impossible, and holding ourselves and others to these standards is futile. We will always end up feeling let down. Accept that life is imperfect and recognize that there is beauty and grace in that imperfection.

‘’Don’t waste the best years of your life in a joyless job’’

Akna Goonaratne University of Deikin, Melbourne
Akna Goonaratne University of Deikin, Melbourne

Do what you love

It’s pretty hard to maintain happiness if you hate your job. Don’t waste the best years of your life in a joyless job, even if it’s paying the bills. What are you interested in? What are you truly passionate about? Focus on building a career in an area that motivates you and will provide you with a high level of satisfaction, and your happiness factor will go up exponentially.

Spend wisely

It’s tempting to believe that the more money you have the happier you’ll be. But the reality is, it’s how you spend your money that helps you feel happier. The key is to do it wisely. Spending money on experiences — travel, dining, and concerts and so on — can make us happier because we are sharing those experiences with others. Happiness connected to material possessions fades, but experiences help us define our purpose and passions in life.

Live in the moment

Our thoughts and feelings often revolve around the past or the future. Reality is what you are experiencing at this very moment; what you are going through right now. Sometimes we want to escape that reality. But when we stay in the present, we are fully engaged in our lives. Endeavor to live in the moment, and you’ll begin to have a deeper appreciation for your life.

Cultivate gratitude

Find ways to cultivate gratitude on a daily basis. Giving thanks and being grateful for all you have will make you happier and more content. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what you have received in life. Those gifts may be tangible or intangible. When you spend time each day acknowledging all that is good in life, you’ll see there is more good than you realize, and you’ll find that sadness, anxiety and depression are diminished.

‘’Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what you have received in life’’

Give back

Be generous with your time and your money. Give to others in need. Give to those you love and care for. Those who give back have a sense of selflessness and humanitarianism. Those who are generous in spending money on others tend to have good health, perhaps because giving has a feel-good effect that lowers blood pressure and stress.

Surprise yourself

It’s hard to feel happy if you are bored or feeling blah about life. Part of feeling happy is feeling stimulated, interested and a little surprised by life. So surprise yourself by setting goals outside your comfort zone. Put yourself in new or unexpected situations. Set goals for yourself and then work to achieve them. And remember to enjoy the ride!

Listen to and engage with music                      

Listening to music lifts our spirits. It makes us feel better, in part because listening to music causes our brains to release dopamine, a neurochemical connected to pleasure and reward. Those who engage with music through dance or through attending concerts report high levels of happiness and a sense of well-being.

You, be you

One of the best things you can do to boost your happiness is to just be yourself. That means not being dependent on the approval of others, but accepting yourself for who you are. Spend some time getting to know yourself. What defines you? What do you believe in? Who are you, underneath it all? Search for ways to be comfortable in your own skin.

Hang out with happy people

Ever hang out with a gloomy person and leave feeling bummed? That’s because moods can be contagious. It turns out that feelings can be transferred from one person to another, and the more we share experiences with one another, the more our emotions and behaviors become synchronized. One secret to long-term happiness is surrounding yourself with others who are also happy.

Nothing compares to you

Stop comparing yourself to everyone around you. Most importantly, stop comparing your things to all the things everyone else has. Social media has a way of making us feel like everyone else has it better than us. How often does scrolling through your newsfeed make you feel negative emotions? Allowing envy and resentment to take root, robs us of appreciating what we have.

‘’Constantly worrying about everything creates toxic anxiety’’

Stop worrying

Constantly worrying about everything creates toxic anxiety, where your mind is steeped in negative, spiraling thoughts. Worries plague your mind and make you afraid and apprehensive about things you often have no control over. Sometimes we believe that if we worry enough, we can keep bad things from happening. But the truth is, you cannot experience joy or even contentment when you’re consumed by worry.

Akna Goonaratne University of Deikin, Melbourne
Akna Goonaratne University of Deikin, Melbourne

Build meaningful relationships

Happiness, love, friendship and community go hand in hand. As humans, we have a fundamental need to interact and connect with others. We naturally seek our tribe – the people who will support us, understand us and be there for us through life’s roller-coaster ride. Without meaningful relationships, we are lonely and isolated. We’re happier when we pursue happiness with others.

Spend time in nature

Some researchers believe that today’s ultra-wired generation is actually suffering from a nature-deficit disorder. Studies have shown that the more time we spend in nature, and the more we relate to the natural world around us, the greater our sense of happiness. Our connection to nature also plays a role in maintaining positive mental health

Reminisce over happy memories

Why do we love all things retro? Perhaps because nostalgia makes us happy. Nostalgic feelings, or reminiscing about our past, can help us reconnect with feelings of love and a sense of wonder and fulfillment. Our past shapes us and defines our identity. When we remember good times and happy memories, we can increase our self-confidence and feel closer to those around us.

Article by: Chantal D.