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Local Designers Create a Benchmark in the Fashion Industry

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The Design Collective, an upscale clothing boutique down Stratford Avenue is a breathing space for local designers. Binu and Shahili, the two boss -ladies behind TDC Brand are all about making fashion statements, becoming change-agents, creating female empowerment and building local designers to meet international standards.

TDC is for shoppers looking for something with elegance and class to wear with a proud identity. Anyone who steps into the store will step out with their hands and heart full as happy-shoppers who helped boost a local brand. For men and women of fashion who think international but shop local TDC has created an awe-inspiring space for you to get your clothes where your heart is.

The designs on display of these homegrown talents speak to the heart and understand the mind of the locals. For a design to be great, the designer must understand the people it is created for, and that is what TDC believes in.

Designer: Himashi Wijeweera

Label: HIMASH

Groundwork: Graduate of The University of Moratuwa with a Bachelor of Design (Honours) degree. Along with the experience from the corporate industry, she kickstarted her Label at Colombo Fashion Week 2018

Style: High-end Resort and Evening Wear, Casual, Evening and Bridal Wear

Following: Stylish women who value traditional heritage and contemporary styles

Design: The pieces have a very sleek and contemporary style. Most of the garments integrate traditional Beeralu handmade lace as a distinctive feature

Catalyst: Traditional Beeralu is created with the assistance of the craftsmen from Galle.  Their hard work, dedication and personal involvement in the process to produce every single piece with perfection, giving attention to detail is what draws the eye toHimashi. The efforts taken to establish the traditional Beeralu lace as a luxurious lace in the fashion market after studying the subject of lace making technique is exemplarily. Through “Himashi” the world is able to see the potential of Beeralu lace that can attain the couture level in the near future. Aiding to uphold the declining traditional industry of Beeralu lace making as a way of empowering women contributing to social sustainability is an invaluable feature of “Himashi” that fellow locals must celebrate.

Designer: Manasha Silva

Label: FIBONACCI 1.618

Groundwork: 4 years of experience in the creative industry as a stylist for many local and international brands with experience in wardrobe styling

Style: Collection of modern, functional ready-to-wear outfits reinventing and redefining silhouettes for men and women

Following: Fashion forwards with a keen eye for outfits which are gender fluid

Design: Inspirations of symmetry and minimalism set out to explore the concepts of deconstruction and reconstruction

Influence: Japanese street styles of Mode and a touch of Kawaii to bring in the eclectic side to the brand through its prints

Designer: Achala Lee Koh

Label: Leekoh

Groundwork: Graduate of The University of Moratuwa. Her basic education directed her towards branding, marketing and business administration to launch her profession in fashion. After graduating with outstanding results and a well-praised final collection she completed her MBA to strengthen the practical knowledge of the business. She has been working with different locally and internationally renowned brands actively involved with the conceptualization to the final product launch

Style: Outfits with quality and a subtle glamour with custom made prints women crave

Following: Chic feminine flair

Design: The main prospect of the brand is to cater customized designs of the utmost quality in terms of surface and silhouette alike in perfect balance. The vision of creating a trademark that elevates the value of designer-wear with a touch of art and customized printing which celebrates exclusivity, in the eye of a modern discerning woman is what “Leekoh” characterizes

Catalyst: Leekoh and its collections represent several aspects of ethical fashion. With the digitalized printing process practiced “Leekoh” has minimal to no waste residue over the traditional water-based printing techniques that impacts the environment harmfully.  It pledges to the tagline “Exclusive prints with a conscious”, which serves greater and a sustainable purpose in the line of creating ethical designer-wear. The intricate embroidery detailing of most of the pieces are outsourced as a community development initiative from single-parent families to uplift their livelihood while providing aspirations to enhance their talents

Designer: Nads Ratnayaka

Label: RHAYNE

Groundwork: A design graduate from the University of the Arts, London who has challenged her creative potential in different aspects through the Design and Art field over the years. Launched her designer wear label “Rhayne” as a Colombo Fashion Week’s Emerging Designer

Style: Beautiful and effortless limited-edition artist drawn pieces

Following: Women of Fashion

Design: Signature embroidery designs

Catalyst: “Rhayne” focus on using traditional surface design techniques to create one of a kind textiles that are used to ensure the highest production standard to eliminate access waste.

“Rhayne” collaborates with various crafts people in Sri Lanka to empower traditional craft industry by working with them to help preserve skills and provide them with a fair income and turn basic silhouettes into wearable art. “Rhayne” hopes by producing and consuming mindfully they can focus on craftsmanship, reducing waste and creating truly impeccable clothing for the discerning customer

The four local brands are inspired, compassionate and doing their part for humanity as well as the local economy whilst chasing their dreams. Their unyielding virtue to uplift local craftsmanship, customs and domestic industries that are fading away are quite frankly exemplarily.  They are being a voice for the voiceless by reaching out to the far corners of Sri Lanka and bringing out their flair through their brands. TDC is taking it a notch higher and helping these brands spread their message to the world, giving them a platform to showcase the inspired designs. Now it is up to us to carry it forward by supporting local talents, this way we are not only helping local designers bring beauty to the world or dying industries breath again we are also doing our part to reach out, be kind and mean it.

By Amali Dissanayake

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