Colombo Fashion Week 2020 Summer initiates responsibility in fashion 0 252

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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The Sun radiates all the goodness of life! Sinhala and Tamil New Year! 0 1832

The Aluth Avurudda or the Sinhala and Tamil New Year as it is officially termed, is a traditional religio-cultural festival dating back from centuries past and held in April, the month of ‘Bak’ which word deriving from Sanskrit means ‘Bhagya’ or fortunate. Grandly celebrated throughout the country at specified auspicious times for each event, the Aluth Avurudda commence on the eve of the planetary change in the Zodiac circle with the sun moving away from Aries and entering Pisces.

The mythological concept of the Aluth Avurudda is that the Avurudu Kumaraya referred to as Indra Deva wearing a tall floral crown descends upon the earth in a silver carriage drawn by six horses. People in certain areas in the South of Sri Lanka light oil lamps to welcome the Avurudu Kumaraya and seek his blessing.

In the old world the agricultural farming society worshiped regional gods whom they believed to be in charge of the areas, during the planetary transition period of the New Year the Punya Kalaya also known as the Nonagathaya. Kalu Banda Deviyo, Minneriya Deviyo, Hurulu Deviyo, Ranwala Deviyo, Irugal Deviyo, Wanni Deviyo and Ayyanayaka Deviyo were some of the gods widely worshipped. Meanwhile, the goddess of chastity Pathini, figured among villagers in the Kalutara and Galle Districts where some rituals such as Peliyama and Ang keliya were practiced especially in her honor.

Although presently the Roman calendar is followed the world over, ancient Aryans formed the Saka Era affiliated to the Sinhala and Tamil New Year according to which we are in the Saka Era of 1941. This Saka Era depicted in almanacs was handed down to Sinhala Kings who adopted same in their official correspondence. Thalpath (ola manuscripts), thudapath, sannas and other royal documents as much as birth horoscopes carry the Saka Era.

From time immemorial up to the dawn of the new civilization, human beings had lived with nature, with chiefly those in agrarian societies of yore worshipping the Sun and other celestial elements. On the day of the New Year Hindus even today gather on the banks of the Yamuna River, and people of Benares on the banks of the Yamuna and Ganga to worship the rising Sun.

One of the captives of the English vessel which touched on the eastern coast in AD 1660 and was taken prisoner by the Kandyans Robert Knox, later wrote a celebrated book on the Kandyan Kingdom titled a ‘Historical Relation of Ceylon’ in which is mentioned that at that time, the new year was a major festival of the Sinhalese celebrated in March following the harvesting of paddy in February, six months after it was sown in September with the fall of the rains.

According to the chronicles, during the period of the Sinhala kings of the Kandyan kingdom there were four principal national festivals observed: the Avurudu Mangalya, Nuwara Perehera, Kaitiaya Mangalya – the festival of the lamps and the Aluth Sahal Mangalya – festival of the rice. These had been instituted both for religious and political objectives.

In ancient Lanka, before the approach of the New Year, the king’s physicians and astrologers were allocated specified duties. The former, to superintend preparation of a thousand pots of juices of medicinal plants at the Natha Devale in the premises of the Dalada Maligawa from whence carefully covered and sealed, they were sent to the royal palace and distributed with much ceremony to the temples where at the auspicious time the heads of the people were anointed on the ‘Thel Gana Avurudda’. The king’s head too was anointed with great solemnity. Meanwhile the duty of the astrologers was to form the Nekath Wattoruwa based on which commenced every activity: the Nonagathaya, dawn of the New Year, lighting the hearth, partaking of the first meal, ganu denu or transactions, and settling forth to work.

Sinhala kings gave royal patronage to the celebrations. During the rule of the Nayakkara Kings, festivities shifted to fall in line with the Tamil New Year, Pudu Warsham. The palace was adorned with thoranas or pandals that made a very fine show. On top of implanted poles were flags fluttering and all about hung painted cloth with images and figures of men, beasts, birds, and flowers. In addition, fruits were hung up in order and exactness. On each side of the arches stood plantain trees with bunches of plantains on them. At the appointed time of commencement of the New Year, the king sat on his throne in state surrounded by his chiefs, and the ceremony began.

The rituals of ganu-denu or transactions prevail in society but with a different from the past. In the Kandyan Kings regime the ceremonies were held as a joint ritual with all office bearers participating to prepare the royal cuisine. They were the Bathwadana Nilame, Vahala Ilangama, Muhandiram, Kuttaha Lekam, Sattambi Ralas, Madappuli Ralas, Mulutenge Mahattayas, Pihana Ralas, Mulutenge Naide. Those in attendance were Maha Aramudali Wannaku Nilame, Maha Gabada Nilame, Veebedda Rala and Undiya Rala.

It is recorded that during the ganu-denu period people brought in as taxes, money, corn, honey, cloth, alcohol, oil, wax, iron, elephant tusks and tobacco among other items. Following the ganu-denu the citizens went among their professions. The king himself as the head of the nation went to the field and turned the first sod with the royal golden plough. This was a feature of patronage of the kings and especially the anointing of the head was looked as a special interest taken to look after the health of the people. The traditional outdoor games seem to have disappeared from the villages.

‘’The lessons all the rituals impart is the togetherness, generous collective harmonious living with mutual help and service to others to co-exist’’

By : T V Perera

To Raise Exceptional Children, Teach Them These Values 1 871

Any fact or bit of knowledge we teach a child might be obsolete when they are adults but values endure through all changes.

To parent our children to be exceptional, we must allow our children to experience ‘optimal levels of frustration’ It is our job to love and support them through their struggles but to refrain from solving their problems for them.

We need to equip our children with the insight that their struggles and failures serve as master teachers that help grow them into stronger, more successful people. It is important we help our children overcome the emotional blocks they face, which breed thoughts of small-mindedness and create self-imposed limitations. We must teach them to set high standards for themselves and to never apologize for striving to live up to those higher standards. Our goal as parents should be to encourage our children to think as big as they can, expect nothing less than the best, to have courage and most importantly, to be kind.

Teamwork

To be successful, our children must understand the value that others hold in their lives. We must teach them that fundamental to happiness and success are healthy, supportive and successful relationships. We must encourage our children to get involved in extracurricular activities and give them chores and responsibilities in the home as ways to garner a sense of teamwork into their repertoire of life skills.

It is essential we also involve ourselves in their lives, as this gives us the opportunity to set the standards for the work they need to accomplish inside and outside of the home. The standards we set must be challenging, yet achievable. In doing this, we teach our children to be a valuable asset to each environment they are a part of. The value of teamwork keeps our children from being self-centered and entitled. We must help our children understand they can only go so far in life alone. Our goal must be to show our children that joining forces with others enhances each person’s personal power and elevates the success of all.

Self-care

Personal power and complacency cannot co-exist. We must parent our children to dedicate time and energy whenever necessary to ensure that no important areas of what they need to accomplish are being neglected.

They deserve to have work-time and free-time where they are able to take a minute to feel unrestricted from the weight of their responsibilities. The easiest way to balance work-life for our children is to require they put their responsibilities first and free-time second. This value helps them manage their own lives in a highly effective way. Putting free-time second allows our children to not be bogged down with nagging responsibilities during their free-time, because they have none. When we teach our children to set high standards in all areas of their lives, they will come to see that their hard work rewards their free-time and vice versa.

Seeing possibilities where others see problems

When we teach our children to approach their challenges with a belief in solutions, this encourages them to engage in the creative process of examining and architecting alternate routes up the mountain. Being solution-focused safeguards our children from defeatist thinking. It is our job to teach them that if they cannot find a solution, they must open their mind, seek the advice of others and apply new ideas and suggestions until barriers are removed and their problem is solved. When we parent in this way, our children learn that life is full of possibility when they apply persistence and consistency in thought and action towards solving their problems. When solutions are the focus, we teach our children the all-important skill of pivoting in life whenever necessary.

Motivation

To grow our children in their personal power, we must parent them with a ‘motivation mindset’ by teaching them to consistently monitor, evaluate and adjust to the work ahead of them and their attitude about it and to stay clear of sabotaging beliefs that may drive complacency, too much time on electronics and other roadblocks that interfere in them living up to their higher standards.

One of the best ways to keep our children motivated is to teach them to write things down as a method of defining their goals and direction. Encouragement, validation, and support must be consistent in our parenting. Our children want to live up to our expectations and our acknowledgment of their effort is almost always what they experience as their greatest reward.

Time management

One of the most important values we teach our children is ‘the power of now’

Success is deeply rooted in having exceptional time-management skills. We must parent our children to get their most important tasks accomplished first. It is natural to want to avoid stress but if we can teach our children to get their most stressful tasks done first, the rest of the work they need to accomplish will be much easier.

When our children get caught in the small non-urgent tasks, it pulls them away from the more important aims requiring their attention. It is also important to teach our children to be on time or early to all commitments. No one likes dealing with people who are chronically late. We must parent our children to understand that being on time makes other people respect them and to see them as dependable.

Accepting responsibility

For our children to be and feel successful we must parent them to understand that whatever happens in their life or career, the best path to follow is always to take responsibility for the outcomes, both positive and negative, which are the result of their efforts. If they make a mistake, we must encourage them to see their mistake as a self-created learning experience. We must help them examine what they need to shift and change to avoid making this same mistake in the future. Taking responsibility allows our children to learn the value of humility and to be flexible enough in their thinking to change their approach whenever necessary. We must parent our children to believe that true power is understanding that mistakes gift them with more than they take away from them. It is from their mistakes that all of their new directions will arise. It is important for our children to understand that powerful leadership is not about ego; it is about humility and a willingness to learn.

Kindness

There is no greater a value to teach our children than the value of kindness. Kindness does not turn our children into sappy pushovers. It turns them into classy people who possess good character.

We must teach our children that all people have value and that they can deliver both good and bad news to others with a sense of grace. We must parent our children to be kind to themselves, as our children can be so hard on themselves when things are challenging them. When we are kind to our children, our children believe we see them as deeply valuable. When our children believe that we see them as valuable, they learn to value themselves. Their belief in their personal value sets them up to live their lives with a solid sense of confidence in who they are and what they have to offer. As parents we want to create an emotional environment of kindness that is infectious, contagious and advantageous to the children we are raising. Kindness will take our children further in life than any other human characteristic.

By: Chantal D.