Bibi Russell a name that has gone from one dizzy height to another. A face of Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire and many more that was head hunted at her graduation show at the London College of Fashion in 1976. Since then she has enjoyed success as an astounding International super model, a career spanning from 1976 to 1993. But modelling was just a small start to the star Bibi wanted to touch, a dream that developed close to her heart gave birth to Bibi Productions in 1995.
Bibi began her journey to represent the vivid colours of Bangladesh, a recognition of heritage that they fully deserve and giving the crafts people the golden opportunity to enhance their considerable skills to achieve economic survival and to build towards a prosperous future. A very graceful, humble and modest Bibi has gained endless awards, respect and recognition for her achievements. Her Extraordinary passion and believe that fashion can be used for social good and for a positive movement has been touched by people around the world.
Bibi's sheer hard work in developing outstanding handloom fabrics with colours that are non-chemically produced, taking into consideration of our environment has not gone without recognition. Bibi's fight to conquer poverty through creativity is spreading like a contagious smile in places such as India (Rajasthan, Kolkata, Assam), Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Africa, Latin America (especially in Colombia), Denmark and Europe. Bibi has worked closely with crafts people of these countries to revive their craftsmanship.
In Bibi's own words: "When people see my collections, I want them to understand and appreciate all the work and effort that has gone into them. I want to preserve the heritage of my country, foster creativity, provide employment, empower women and contribute towards the eradication of poverty. That's what I'm committed to do."
This Pakistani designer was named "One of the 100 Most Influential Asians", along with the likes of Sonia Gandhi and Amir Khan, by Ahlan, a Dubai lifestyle magazine. He was the first designer in Pakistan to introduce the concepts of Haute Couture, designer bridal wear, designer home furnishings and accessories, thus he has radically transformed the fashion silhouette of Pakistan.
His long-time goal has been to perfect the art of embroidery and embellishment and fuse East with West. He was asked to design an ivory ensemble for Princess Diana, and other high profile clients have followed, including HRH Princess Sarvath of Jordan and Jemima Khan, and the Sheikha of Sharjah. His collections have graced catwalks all over the world.
AGATHA RUIZ DE LA PRADA
International Artist and Designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada has come a long way since her first women's collection which was presented in Madrid a little over 30 years ago. For Agatha, her creations exceed their value in the limelight of fashion and have gone on to become true forms of artistic expression as certain design pieces have been exhibited in several galleries throughout the Spanish territory and abroad.
Agatha has recently launched several new collections along with her online store such as jewellery in gold and diamonds, carpets, helmets, sport clothes and digital cameras among others. In 2010 she was invited to present her collections in a host of Latin American countries and has designed and inaugurated three wall murals in Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile and Lima. As of today her collections are recurrent in catwalks in Spain, France, Italy, Colombia, Poland, Greece, Santo Domingo, The United States, Mexico, among others. Her exhibitions are not far behind, reaching destinations such as Tokyo, New York, Paris, Moscow, Bucharest.
In 2011 she was also awarded the maximum recognition afforded to an artist in spain, the "Lorenzo il Magnifico" award at the Florence Biennale for the Arts and Design in Italy.
Winner of the L´Oreal prize for the best collection of the season at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Milan in 2013, Juan Duyos is no stranger to success. Duyos who is born in Madrid, begun working in 1992 with the designer Manuel Piña whilst designing his first collection along with Cecilia Paniagua, a collaboration popularily known as the brand DUYOS&PANIAGUA.
After several catwalks at Pasarela Cibeles and his presence at 1998 London Fashion Week, Juan goes solo in 1999, with his awarded as best in Cibeles for his "Recuerda y guarda" collection. Since then he's gone on from many more collaborations to design projects that have secured him positions across the globe; some of which include collaborations with brands such as Procter&Gamble, Campari, Unilever, Ecovidrio, Silestone, Nokia, Seagram´s, Osborne, Special K and even Nintendo. Since September 2011, Juan Duyos also works as Degree Director at the Fashion Design School ESNE.
Duyos has built a career with his own and recognizable style based on his personal use of color, fabrics, shapes and volumes, always with an eye on the past and another on the future.
NISH DE GRUITER
A man of style that leads by Example, Nishantha who is currently based in New York is a shining example of Sri Lankans abroad making waves in the world of fashion.
Nish de Gruiter, formerly of Brunello Cucinelli is one of the masterminds and creative forces behind Amsterdam based menswear brand "Suitsupply" that's taking the world of fashion by storm, and America, one state at a time. A brand blessed with unequal media attention from every male fashion guide in existence, whilst being ranked on par with other companies who constantly challenge the status quo by GQ and Esquire.
Nish designs and supplies suits for men of every age who want to feel better, look younger, and wear clothes that fit their individual physique whilst he believes style doesn't start and stop at just fashion. Growing up and studying design in Holland, and a brief period in Italy, Nish is a regular feature in international street style blogs as well as GQ online.
ASHIKUR RAHAMAN PONY
Ashikur Rahman Pony is a promising young designer showing much talent and creativity in the field of fashion. His work is blend of contemporary and traditional styles of design, further exemplified by his work with local fabrics like khadi, silk, cotton, muslin etc.
His fashion icon Bibi Russell and he wants to achieve success in fashion and design much like her. He has shown his creativity in different fashion shows and exhibitions whilst his work as a costume designer for TV and Drama has also won him much recognition. Pony is ready to present something exclusive at Colombo Fashion Week 2013.
TURQUOISE & GOLD
Turquoise & Gold is a family owned fashion house started in the year 2007. A story of vibrant prints, sensual fabrics and easy silhouettes, Turquoise & Gold is a brand born from the passion to create clothes to make women feel comfortable, confident and chic.
The label focuses feel-good prints and passion for travel, which reflects in vibrant, fun and easy silhouettes. The brand's philosophy has also been to create collections that are affordable without compromising on quality and luxury even though the prints they use are specially crafted and customized from Europe; a unique essence of Turquoise & Gold.
The Turquoise & Gold woman is a free spirited, global traveller who wants to be elegant and enjoys being feminine whilst always on the move with her eventful lifestyle. The brand epitomizes contemporary resort wear, as the label focuses on feel-good prints and passion for travel, which reflects in vibrant, fun and easy silhouettes.
The British born Sri Lankan designer, Radhika Perera-Hernandez, is bringing a touch of multi- functional classic elegance, mixed with the intrigue and glamour of her Eastern roots to the fashion arena worldwide.
Moving to New York in her mid 20's, she began designing for Beyonce and Tina Knowles clothing labels; which included a contemporary women's clothing line available at Selfridges and other international boutiques named House of Dereon. During her years working with this music icon, she helped design looks for Beyonce's public appearances, the red carpet, her international tours and various live music shows like the MTV Video Music Awards and the Grammys. The experience she gained working with the creative team equipped her with a wealth of knowledge.
In the Summer of 2010 Lois London was born. An organically grown collection of the most mesmerizing kaftans and swimwear. Lois London is the exotic culmination of the essence of her vintage muses, old Hollywood glamor and Eastern beauty. Each Kaftan perfectly accents a variety of silhouettes. Intricate beading, rich colors and airy fabrics put the wearer in touch with her inner goddess. Tasteful, opulent, effortless, multi- purpose the garments are draped to the female form in luxurious fabrics.
Sonali's label and store carry the title: ACUSHLA by Sonali Dharmawardena. Using varied textures of fabric, leather and techniques of batik, each piece she creates is a work of expression to complement the body that it embraces.
Dimuthu Sahabandu launched his self titled contemporary Lankan designer wear brand in 2010 with capsule collections of high-end ready-to-wear clothing that focuses on the true Sri Lankan identity in a contemporary manner through its various projects and collections and to introduce it to both local and international audiences.
In 2011 following the brand's first ever showcasing at HSBC Colombo fashion week, Dimuthu Sahabandu won the GenNext award from the upcoming designers category earning the opportunity to showcase at the high profile IPL Signature fashion shows in India in 2011 and 2012, marking the brand's first international show.
A BA(Hons) Fashion and Textile design graduate from the LaSalle College of Arts, Singapore, Dimuthu has also completed a foundation in Art and Design along with a HND in fashion at AOD. 2013 will be Dimuthu Sahabandu's third consecutive year at HSBC Colombo Fashion Week.
Gihan was named 'Best Designer of the Year' twice in 2009—once by the Sunday Observer, where he also garnered first place in the eveningwear category, and the other from Lanka Woman Magazine, where he also took first place in ladies resort wear, ladies office wear, ladies ethnic wear, and ladies evening wear. With collections currently available at local boutiques and a collection that ties together traditional Japanese styles with nature and mystery, he would like to take the Sri Lankan design identity to the international market.
For over a half a century, the search for sophisticated menswear has been getting a tasteful answer from a company that is synonymous with the highest levels of quality in customized and readymade menswear. The Hameedia story which began at that point has today become a multi-billion rupee success story that employs over a thousand people. From a groom who is celebrating the most important day of his life to a corporate who is vying to make that all important solid first impression, Hameedia has been helping individuals transform themselves into the best they can be.
Its humble origins can be traced down to 1925 when it was founded as a family owned bakery and confectionary. Initially dealing in gift items, it was towards the latter part of the 50s' that the company made a move into the tailoring and clothing business. The 60s' saw the company make a short foray into the exports business while it was in 1970 that the company first began manufacturing operations in Aluthgama in the south of Sri Lanka, tailoring locally manufactured fabrics. It was in the late 70s and early 80s that the company witnessed a transition from one generation to the next and saw the first of many new ideas taking shape and propelling the one time small clothes store into the local leader in menswear.
Today, Hameedia has become the benchmark of the local menswear industry and a brand with a heritage of quality and a tradition of excellence that none can match. With a vast network of outlets under its belt, the brand is making waves in the regional and international markets. The aim of Hameedia is not to be a mere brand of men's fashion, but a complete men's grooming and clothing provider of exceptional superiority, that is a class apart.
Kasuni was the Sri Lanka winner of the British Council Young Fashion Entrepreneur 2011 and one of the nine semi-finalists shortlisted for the Sri Lanka design festival Ethical fashion award in 2010. Currently employed as a Designer and consultant for Victoria's Secret PINK graphic developments in New York, her work has been displayed in the Alchemy Festival 2011 at Southbank, London as well.
Even with extensive experience in the US fashion and Apparel retail industry her designs still shows a strong influence of Sri Lankan traditional crafts. Coming from a background of fashion and Marketing, and designing for ready to wear markets, this will also be her fourth showing at Colombo fashion week.
Kasuni launched her label KŨR in 2009 as a contemporary ladieswear line which incorporates Sri Lankan traditional lace in innovative ways. This year, presenting a new collection titled 'Bizarre', she describes it as a ready to wear collection with monochromatic colors punched with bright neon red/Orange. KŨR's signature beeralu and crotchet lace were heavily used throughout the range.
Arugam Bay beachwear draws its inspiration from Arugam Bay, one of the most amazing surfing destinations in the world. The brand captures the natural vitality, colours, mood, sense of space and magic of the east coast of Sri Lanka, and squeezes them into a collection filled with fun and energy. The colours of Sri Lanka have played a major role in defining the creative view point for the brand. Look out for the new prints and beach accessories.
Amanda Weerasinghe is another AOD Alumni to be featured at HSBC Colombo Fashion Week ; Now presenting a collection for Colombo Fashion Week 2013 that focuses on the vibrant Sri Lankan Culture and Heritage inspired by early Ceylonese times, Temple paintings and costumes of the Kandyan era, Amanda's designs of vivid colours, Beeralu lace and handloom incorporated with printing techniques, dip dyeing and embroidery are not to be missed.
Currently involved with Research and Development for brands such as Victoria's Secret, H&M, Gap and Athleta, Amanda is one of the stars to watch this year as she present a collection fed by her internships with M&S UK and MAS Intimates Sri Lanka, secured by her winning the title "Best Designer of the night" at her graduation show in 2011.
Graduate from LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore and currently reading for her Master of Business Administration, Amilani Perera is also a designer with many years of industry experience working for local brand Amanté, yet aspiring for so much more. It was her MBA that led her to gather the business knowledge and confidence to start her own design fashion label: amilani perera , which she hopes to launch at Colombo Fashion Week 2013.
Amilani's work has been recognised outside of Sri Lanka as well. Her collection 'Marked Memoirs' by amilani perera featured on the Swankglossy Magazine Indonesia in 2009. She was also one of the top ten finalists of the Singapore competition, the 'Denim Deconstruction' project, which was organised by GAS Jeans and Catalogue Fashion Magazine in 2006 and was displayed at The Paragon on Orchard Road, Singapore, and was featured in the Catalogue Fashion Magazine that season.
Amilani is also a finalist of the British Council's Young Creative Entrepreneur Design and Fashion Award in 2012 and her designs have also been showcased at the Sri Lanka Design Festival fashion show in 2010, 2011, and 2012.
Arra is brought to life by Sharmila and Punya- two women who have an explosively creative zest for life. Now bringing out their very first clothing line titled "Arra", the dynamic duo describe Arra as something that isn't just a brand; it's a skin, a personality in fashion, capturing rare style and beauty through unique design and exclusive flavours in fashion, turning absolute feeling into a brand that not only lets you be who you are in the freedom of 'feel good wear', but lets you live out 'An Opinion of Style'.
Aviraté a high-street fashion label, whose name is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Avirati' which means Sensuality. It has boldly paved the way for a new era in fashion and was a proud sponsor of Colombo Fashion Week 2013.
Matching international standards in design and quality, Aviraté at present has five stores in Sri Lanka and seven stores in India. A venture by Timex and Fergasam Group, one of the top five apparel manufacturers in Sri Lanka and amongst the top ten apparel manufacturers in the world. At Aviraté, it's not about selling; it's about accentuating the inherent sensuality of a woman.
JASON AND ANSHU
Smallshop is a collaborative between Anshu and Jason, created in the middle of 2006 when they began retailing home and fashion respectively out of two stand-alone stores in Bangalore. Soon other boutique stores across India were added, and another in Spain as well, but their designs have made their way throughout the world.
Buddhi Batiks was founded in 1970 by Buddhi and Ranasiri Keetthisena, and is a leading proponent of the batik craft in Sri Lanka. Their daughter, Darshi Keerthisena De Livera, is the current creative director and CEO.
Buddhi Batiks is noted for infusing contemporary fashion into this traditional craft, creating innovative products like batik swimwear, jeans, clutch bags, footwear, and accessories, in addition to the designer batik sari, which has become a must-have in every Sri Lankan woman's wardrobe. Buddhi Batiks is also very active in the interior decor market.
Charini's love for design found a solid educational foundation when she studied for her Bachelors in Fashion Design at the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka and reading for her Masters in Design Management at the prestigious London College of Fashion cemented her climb to the top.
Combining her Sri Lankan heritage with modern design, her uniquely structured hand-crafted couture and ready to wear brand, The Concept Studio was launched at Colombo Fashion Week in 2008. Moving on to the international fashion arena from there, Charini launched her eponymous lingerie brand at London fashion week in 2011 garnering her attention in the ethical fashion arena as the first sri lankan to take part in London fashion week for her eco luxury fashion brand, exuberating elegance, sensuality and glamour are timeless designs with a contemporary twist.
Designed for the sophisticated woman, her collections celebrate the local spirit by reviving the lost heritage crafts of Sri Lanka, which she incorporates in her creations, and supports these craftsmen in maintaining sustainable livelihoods. Charini is retailed in Europe, SriLanka, Australia as well as in the USA.
Born in Kurunegala in the 1980's, Deneth Piumakshi describes her childhood of growing up in a family of artists as a playground of creativity. Deneth has grown up in an atmosphere of doing things differently, something that's evident in her large body of work both art and fashion over the past few years that's taken her all around the world.
With a name that means 'Eyes', it is no surprise that Deneth seeks to fill everyone's vision with a riot of colours; Deneth is an artiste cum designer with a penchant for Sri Lankan Cheeththa, a vibrant and unique yet mostly ignored rural patterned textile she's taken to international repute and also to local notoriety since her debut at Colombo Fashion Week in 2012.
And since winning the Gen-Next award, she has been selected and invited by the Institut Française for an Art residency, making her the first fashion designer to win the grant in its practice since 1950; An asset from which Deneth has gone on to launch her own 21st-century "flower power" style inspired from her Sri Lankan home, as well as from many years living and travelling in Nepal, India, Bhutan and France.
Returning once again, Deneth is set to debut a collection of clothing at HSBC Colombo Fashion Week 2013 that is an intriguing union of handloom and Cheeththa inspired by an European classical style, especially of the period of the French designer Yves Saint Laurent which includes a line of shoes and accessories.
His brand, Middle Finger, showed for the first time at Colombo Fashion Week 2007, where he presented a new collection of jackets and blazers adding to his established focus on stylish yet casual men's shirts. Since then he has branched out even further, adding a line of jeans and graphic design T-shirts called MF Art before expanding into a range of fashionable belts, wallets, shoes, ties and other accessories.
Upeksha began showing at Colombo Fashion Week in 2011. Over the past three years, U by Upeksha label has established itself in Colombo as a brand with a fresh design perspective, attention to detail and finish. For Upeksha, designing is the gratifying process of finding a balance between east and west, then and now, coarse and smooth, dark and light.
Ramona Oshini Jayawardena is a Colombo-based designer who began by graduating with honours from the college of creative arts in the UK and went on to launch a successful career as a lingerie designer for brands such as M&S and BHS. Riding on that success with confidence, she then went on to launch her very own brand "ramona oshini" at HSBC Colombo Fashion Week in 2010, making this her fourth consecutive year on display.
Ramona's signature style of creating beautiful clothing for every occasion, mood, personality and figure is rich with old school elegance and filled with a mixture of embellished and graceful diaphanous fabrics in a range of colours.
The s/s 2013 collection she hopes to debut is all about the vibrant shades of yellow portrayed in the local "Ehela flower", which is also know as the "golden shower flower". To achieve the beauty of the flower in her collection, Ramona has used beautiful batik prints, laces & embellishments on soft chiffon, pure silks & crepe silks.
Year after year the Yoland Collection continues to create more luxurious, unique pieces that exude vibrant colour, texture and design.
Yolanda herself has become one of the most celebrated designers in Sri Lanka, winning coveted awards nationally and internationally. Her clientele includes past Presidents, socialites and the glitterati of the local film fraternity, as well as international former first ladies and a huge following in Europe, Japan, India and the Middle East. When the Yoland Collection was awarded The Asian Top Fashionable Selling Brand of the year 2011 in China, it was the first time a Sri Lankan brand surpassed those in Singapore, Mongolia, Korea, and that of Thailand.
Many, many thanks go to the following for helping to coordinate our biggest show yet!
Retail & Buyer Coordination
Communications Consultant & Compere
Backstage Management & Volunteer Coordination
Fringe Event Management & Backstage Coordination
After Party Coordination
Trilakshi Fernando and Pooja Vaswani
Intern – Backstage & Fringe Events