Eight Sri Lankan labels that caught our attention at Colombo Fashion Week’s 2019 swimwear edition
Vibrant sarongs, sequined swimsuits and more!
BY Manali Shah | September 10th, 2019
Held across three venues, Colombo Fashion Week’s Swim Week and Luxury Resort Wear edition saw the best of emerging, as well as established designers. While CFW is 16 years old, this was the fifth edition of Olu Swim Week Colombo, and this time around, it hosted a week-long creative festival, Celebrate Colombo. The initiative (presented by So Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka tourism) brought together art, fashion, food and music, in the form of a photo essay by Jatin Kampani, a curated art exhibit by 40 prominent Sri Lankan artists, and a food festival held at various restaurants in the city. Celebrate Colombo was also a way of standing for unity, love, peace and boosting tourism, which has been severely hit after the tragic Easter attacks earlier this year.
From sequined swimsuits to pared back monochromatic resortwear, there was plenty that caught our attention at the Sri Lankan fashion festival. While the line-up featured Indian names such as Abraham & Thakore, Tarun Tahiliani and Nivedita Saboo, here are the eight Sri Lankan labels that you need to know about:
Upcoming designer Nilusha Maddumage made an impression at CFW with flowy resort wear in monotones. The beautiful creations were reversible, highlighting the fact that you can change the bad in the world to good.
Warm, vibrant hues of pink, red, orange and green ruled Sonali Dharmawardena’s beautiful showcase. Known for employing traditional Sri Lankan Batik techniques in her design, her resort wear collection, featuring sarongs, maxi skirts and silk saris, was no different. The collection, Celebrating Life, was a tribute to the spirit of unity that Sri Lankans embody.
Annika Fernando’s gorgeous swimwear collection was a mix of clean monotones and quirky illustrated prints inspired by local Sri Lankan elements, such as the Awurudu Koha bird (Asian Koel) and rambutan fruit. The classic elegant silhouettes had our vote.
Sustainable Sri Lankan label Pigeon Island’s line featured an array of prints and some colour-blocking. Each swimsuit is created from recycled plastic, a trend we can totally get behind. The prints range from olive Ridley turtles to grey reef sharks, and proceeds of each piece you pick up aids conversation of the particular species.
Sri Lankan designer Sharmila Ruberu’s resort wear line, Mystical Monsoon, was inspired by the change and new beginnings the rain heralds. Ruberu played with shapes and textures for the collection, which was characterised by asymmetrical silhouettes.
Powerful, bold prints have never looked this good. The Sri Lankan label’s signature style and vibrant colours dominated Rum Punch’s Femme Fierce line, which captures the island country’s spirit.
Upcoming designer Ayesh Wickramarathne’s Modern Qin collection drew inspiration from traditional Chinese culture, architecture and people. The creations made use of traditional dye along with modern digital printing, and featured sustainable fabrics.
By using upcycled and leftover fabric in her creations, emerging designer Dinushi Pamunuwa’s line, Love Selflessly, highlighted the need to protect the planet. The showcase was marked by locally-handcrafted batik-style prints.
Photographs: Courtesy Colombo Fashion Week