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.