The Emerging Designers at CFW Summer 22’

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By Shanuka Kadupitiyage

Glamour filled the night as CFW kicked off its nineteenth iteration with their emerging designer showcase at Shangri-La Colombo. Once again, sustainability was the centre theme of the event.

The emerging designer showcase is always an exciting night to experience. Not only are you able to witness the fresh ideas and concepts of Sri Lanka’s future designers but also be part of their growth as world-class professionals, thanks to the mentoring programme that CFW has organised for the best designers. 

Chamanka Hewage

Creating patterns using minimal wastage of fabric, Chamanka’s collection was inspired by a Spanish poem named ‘Garden of God’. 

I especially like the unique blue patterns he has managed to imbue into the outfits in his designs. However, only some managed to evoke a reaction in me enough to think, ‘I want that.’ 

Those, I absolutely loved, but the others were a bit of a miss for me. However, a strong collection nevertheless.

Hashintha Halwala

‘Resurrect’ is the central theme of Hashintha’s collection, which is inspired to bring back to life forgotten Sri Lankan crafts, bringing back techniques such as pleating and hand embroidery detailing. 

Hashintha’s designs were bold, with great use of contrasts and subdued colours. I especially love the interesting use of subdued colours with highlights of red to accent. There were a couple of showstoppers from Hasintha’s collection, his use of black against whites with embroidery grabbed my attention the most, with a number of interesting silhouettes and looks resulting in his experimentation. 

Prasadi Weerakkody

Inspired as an artist with a philanthropic view, Prasadi’s collection was all about celebrating the beauty of all skin types.

I like the use of subdued colours that complement any skin tone and colour well. Besides that, Prasadi’s designs had a touch of funk and personality that I wholeheartedly enjoyed. Every piece seemed to be able to reveal a little bit of ‘inner rockstar’ when worn, and had the exactly what is needed to deal with the warm and humid Sri Lankan climate.

Mikail Hameed

It was all about timelessness and minimal elegance in Mikail Hameed’s collection that was showcased. If I were to imagine Mikail’s design in the form of a music genre, it would be Lo-fi hip hop with some Japanese elements. 

I loved the vibe and aesthetic he created with his designs, but felt they were a tad lacklustre in my opinion. To be honest, I was expecting more from him, which might be influencing my decision. Even so, I wanted something more. But he did have a few outfits that I would love to have in my own wardrobe. 

Hirushi Jayathilake

Following a cosmopolitan aesthetic inspired by the Ironworks at the V&A Museum in South Kensington and architectural art, Hirushi’s collection featured a perfect collection for those who want to stand out. Each design showcased a great use of colours and interesting silhouettes. Her entire collection was powerful and dazzling. What more can I say?

Harinda Gunawardena 

Batiks played a big role in Harinda Gunawardena’s collection. Although there were a couple of designs I really liked, it wasn’t a collection where I could look at and say ‘wow.’ 

But that doesn’t mean that Harinda didn’t have a few eye-catching pieces. Flowing reds against blacks created a nice contrast. Caught in the wind, the fluttering red garments were gorgeous.

Githmi Samarasekara

I was impressed with Githmi’s collection, inspired by Sri Lanka’s tea culture, drawing influence from Sri Lankan, British and Indian styles to craft new silhouettes, shapes and details. 

I also liked the approach of using tea-dyed fabrics. A nice touch.

The subdued colours accented with dashes of reds and greens were a great touch, and created a showstopping collection of designs. It was clearly one of the best collections of the evening. 

Akash Paranavitharana

Titled ‘Lust and Temptations,’ Akash’s designs were all about bringing unconventional materials to use in abstract concepts. 

I really enjoyed the use of his golds and blacks, and the dashes of red against black. However, not every design was a smash hit. Some of his collection fell short of my expectations. However, it was a strong collection overall.

Seeing each designer step into the light as their names were called out, flashing a nervous smile to the gathering before hurrying back reminded me of the fact that the designers showcased were, in fact, novices in their craft. Sadly, for the most part, their inexperience did show through some of their designs. 

Even so, I do see a lot of promise in them for Sri Lanka’s future in fashion and design. In time as they mature as designers, I’m sure each and every one of them will become industry leaders in their craft, pushing design to higher limits. I feel that the future of style and fashion in Sri Lanka is in good hands. 

(Pix by Venura Chandramalitha and Laksiri Rukman)