MBFWSL 2021: #TheNewLocal
Sri Lanka’s young creative talent are taking to social media this week supporting ‘The New Local’ vision launched by AOD. ‘The New Local’ carries a powerful message of optimism, hope with action and empowerment, calling creative talent to engage in strengthening Sri Lanka through creativity and entrepreneurship. The vision, which signifies refocusing the island’s exports from the SME sector to meet new markets using design, was taken on by Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week as its 2021 theme for Sri Lanka. MBFWSL will take place on 10th, 11th and 12th December at the Colombo Innovation Tower hosting three runway shows and an exhibition demonstrating Sri Lanka’s latest design-driven solutions for export.
HARID is a Sri Lankan based brand which incorporates local craft practices as a measurement towards sustainability. HARID promotes self love & confidence through the designs & is all about being comfortable with who you are. For them who are gender-fluid and whose gender expression shifts between being masculine and feminine, a collection to express themselves by HARID by Harinda Gunawardena. Utilizing traditional Sri Lankan handweaving techniques, a sustainable measure, supporting the local craft practice helping uplift the socio-economic levels of the craft sector in Sri Lanka.
I am proud of the journey my brand has made through past three years, having established itself as a pioneering fashion brand in the island having collaborated with leading local and international brands. Even amidst global strife caused by the pandemic, brand Tharshana has endeavored to improve day on day and continue to push boundaries. As part of our latest Hand in Hand collection, we are striving to bring prominence to the artisanal communities of the island and importance of sustainability in fashion
Founder, A M E S H
A M E S H design in its core is a celebration of Colour, Culture, Creativity , Community and Craftsmanship.
I truly believe this is what makes Sri Lanka special. Our stories, cultures, differences and identity. “Fashion in its true definition is not about the clothes but a reflection of society in a place & in a time & what better time to reflect than now. We’re going inwards to rediscover the resources, knowledge, practices and talent that we’ve got right here in our island & to showcase them global with a view to finding gaps & markets outside our island. The post pandemic world is a new place. Its people are new with new needs & new markets” We’ve got to become the “new local” if we want to make our home work better!”
I had the opportunity to showcase my work at MBFW 2017 and I am excited with the global event returning to our Island this December, as it gives local designers the opportunity to showcase their work in an International platform. UDDAMI is a timeless clothing brand for the modern minimalist, launched in year 2020. Our collections follow contemporary silhouette shapes with intricate details infused with local crafts. I am hopeful on what our beautiful Island has to offer to the creative industry. As a creative entrepreneur, I am working on international opportunities to take Sri Lanka globally while uplifting locally made products and crafts. I am being creative ; I am being entrepreneurial for myself and my country.
Founder, Hadawatha Anthurium
Sharing my story in Support of AOD's 'New Local' campaign kicking off with the creative industry. I am excited to be selected as an ambassador of this vision & I feel super lucky to have an opportunity to share the story of our brand at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week - Sri Lanka, with the global event returning to our island this December. “Say it with plants”
We believe that, when you gift a plant, the love affection and the brand between the two will grow with the plant’s growth. Specially Anthurium!! Anthurium is an air purifying plant which is good for the health and heart. The name says it all; the benefits and the shape of the Anthurium plant is inspired by the brand name “Hadawatha” (heart) with a Sri Lankan and eco-friendly twist.
- A brand to be gifted, - Plant grow – love grows
- A silent partner to share thoughts
I was privileged to launch my brand Hadawatha Anthurium with Urban Island during the pandemic and it has been a challenging year as a creative entrepreneur. But I was really happy to see the customer feedback in a tough time like this.
Hadawatha Anthurium hopes to make people happy through our small business and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Founder, House of Lonali
House of Lonali is excited to be showing our collection Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week - Sri Lanka with the global event returning to our island this December. House of Lonali celebrates 10 years of making little choices that have led to the great conscious lifestyle brand it is today. Stay tuned, as we are uncovering our latest collaboration with Sri Lankan Airlines for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week - Sri Lanka. I am being entrepreneurial for myself & for my country, it is with great pride and joy that I share our brand story and our big bold vision - 'to design a better future' across borders.
Natharlea is a brand that empowers local artisans and carries their dreams and hopes, woven into a garment. Beyond making a strong fashion statement, my collection for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week - Sri Lanka aims to uplift and empower a creative community trickled across our little island, with love, new beginnings, trust, power and light.
I am sharing my story in support of AOD’s ‘#NewLocal' campaign, positioning and celebrating Sri Lanka's local creative industry.
As a designer, I use 'smart craft' in my garments to take our local talent to global runways and retail windows. This is my story as a fashion entrepreneur. A win big or small for Natharlea, is a win big or small for a community of empowered artisans who were once celebrated, now forgotten. I work with a community of women knitters in Northern Sri Lanka, which is the most special part of my work which I hope to take global….
Founder, Certitude by K
Certitude by K is an ethical fashion brand which is focusing on social and environmental sustainability. Therefore, if you own any Certitude by K product be rest assured that you are not only helping the environment but also families of local communities to develop their lively hood.
Therefore, I pledge to my bit towards making the world a better place, one piece of batik fabric at a time.. Are you doing yours?
Do you know what goes in to your pair of jeans? 3,625 liters of freshwater, 3kg of toxic chemicals, 400MJ of energy, equivalent to keeping a light bulb on for 116 days, 13 sq meters of land to grow cotton, contaminated by pesticides and agrochemicals.
When I started my journey, these figures troubled me. It is estimated that 20% of the world’s industrial water pollution is caused by the apparel industry. It took me 30 years to realize, I am what I choose to wear. Every time I put my head through a t-shirt or stuck my legs through my jeans, I was adding my part to one of the world’s most environmentally hazardous industries. But it really didn’t need to be like that. I had the incredible power to reduce my carbon footprint.
So backed with my creative skills and incredible support by my mother, I started “up-cycling” my old clothes, infusing my love for Batik into my old boring clothes and giving them a fresh look. I then started collecting pre-loved clothes from friends and family and working my designs in to them. In less than a year, my passion and hobby, expanded as a business opportunity to creating a circular economy, I had dreamt of. Today, I am proud to say, my up-cycled clothes are sold in many countries throughout the world and are loved by many.
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week - Sri Lanka returns this December and it’s exciting to be showcasing our work at this global event. As we emerge from the embers of tough times, we continue to work on consolidating our local presence while striving for international opportunities. Dulasha is a Designer wear brand focussing its energy, in its entirety, on offering multi-faceted, high quality, chic garments with the sole goal to elevate the style of our consumers beyond their expectations. We endeavour to show our clients, through our craft, a version of themselves that they will fall in love with, all over again. We achieve this by creating capsule collections with garments which can be combined and styled in many ways to create myriad of elegant and unique styles.
We strive to create clothing which will allow our consumers to portray their individuality. An extension of this is one of our core beliefs that age; young or old, is not a barrier to being trend-right and stylish.The underlining endeavour is to produce garments which are durable, comfortable, and exciting. This we believe would help satiate our clients’ need to constantly purchase new clothes. This will be our way of contributing to the global endeavour to help the planet heal, while offering high-end, stylish clothing. Being creative and entrepreneurial is such a joy, even amidst tough times. Especially since we know that our success is not only for us but also for our beautiful island nation.
Founder, Waves of Glory
I am the founder of WAVES of GLORY - By Shimalka and its predecessor LADIES RUNWAY. Following a successful career in modeling and winning Miss Sri Lanka first runners up 2011, I graduated from AOD with a BA(Hons) in Fashion and Textile Designing from Northumbria University. My design philosophy is largely influenced by my faith, and my perspective on life is centred on encouraging people to look and feel sophisticated, beautiful and confident in their own skin. My entrepreneurial vision is to see us taking unique Sri Lankan designs to export markets while empowering SL communities in post pandemic world.
2020&2021 have been the most challenging years for us as a creative entrepreneurs. Retail market flipped upside down for all of us in creative industries with the pandemic but we learned new marketing skills and tapped into different opportunities. We were not prepared but with the grace of God our workers got paid and we survived. I believe the pandemic forced us to think out of the box and to make bold decisions, how to deal with unexpected situations life throws at us. Always to walk by faith, not by sight.
The story of WAVES of GLORY - By Shimalka is one that is HIS to tell. The brand has its roots in the ladies’ wear label “Ladies Runway” that Shimalka launched in 2010 and was exclusively available online. It eventually evolved to include clothing of every kind and finally, matured into Waves of Glory.
The inspiration for the brand comes from founder Shimalka Bodaragama’s quest to transcend fashion and instead create a movement that will empower men and women to live free and uninhibited, and own their uniqueness.
Waves Of Glory is excited to be a part of Mercedes Benz fashion week Sri Lanka this year. I see this international event not only as a great opportunity but also as a privilege for Waves Of Glory, to be a part of this global event.
Thank you MBFWSL for giving us Sri Lankan creative industries & creative entrepreneurs a window of opportunity to be a part of the global event once again!
I am excited to be Selected as an ambassador of this vision &
I K I G A I Sri Lanka is looking forward to be showing at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week - Sri Lanka with the global event returning to our island this December. The past two years have challenged small businesses and creative entrepreneurs like myself have been pushed to figure out ways to survive the pandemic and prepare ourselves for a post pandemic world. Despite the challenges there is nothing else that I would rather do than working towards taking I K I G A I Sri Lanka to the future. We hope to take our minimal aesthetic and timeless silhouettes global and can’t wait to see what the future holds. I am being entrepreneurial for myself & for my country.
Founder, Tapro Bana by Cathryn
Sharing my story in support of AOD's 'New Local' campaign, kicking off with the creative industry. I'm excited to be selected as an ambassador of this vision & to be showing my work at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week - Sri Lanka. I had the opportunity to showcase my work at MBFW 2017 and 2018. I am more than excited with the global event returning to our island this December. I was privileged to work with Fashion Market.lk, which also gave me the opportunity be recognized as a designer working with artisanal fabrics and also be featured on BBC News, taking Sri Lankan design international. I launched my brand TAPRO BANA during the pandemic and it has been a challenging two years as a creative entrepreneur, not only for me but for all small businesses.
Founder, Peiris Leather Studio
Emerging from tough times, I am working on international opportunities for my venture Peiris Leather Studio, spreading true craftmanship across the country, I am being creative, I am being entrepreneurial for myself & for my country.
Peiris Leather Studio will introduce luxury leather craftmanship being sustainable and ethical.
Founder, Sena Eco
Emerging from tough times, I am working on international opportunities for my venture, I am being creative, I am being entrepreneurial for myself & for my country. Sena Eco is a brand for Eco friendly footwear, encouraging the promotion of local people, local craft and local resources.
Nithya Yamini Lamahewa
The pandemic has challenged small businesses like us to survive as entrepreneurs and positive change-makers. The pandemic has made the fashion industry adapt, just like any other industry. As part of this adaptation, I believe it is our responsibility to adapt and give solutions to the problems in the fashion industry and, in a broader sense, to the world. Through my brand and designs, I always give solutions. For example, we provided the dyeing industry with a place in the 21st century through collections like denim handloom and glow-in-the-dark handlooms.The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way the world does business. The pandemic has shifted our consumer and work habits to an online space, i.e. work from home, online shopping & delivery. The handloom industry in Sri Lanka cannot survive by selling to the local market. We need to expand our customer base to the world. Online shopping and exporting take our product to the world whilst giving the purchaser a physical piece of Sri Lanka.I am being creative and entrepreneurial for myself & for my country - Sri Lanka Represent
Supporting AOD’s #TheNewLocal campaign that’s kicking off with the creative industry. Super stoked to be selected as an ambassador of this vision & to be showcasing my work at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week - Sri Lanka, with the global event returning to our island this December! Emerging from a tough beginning within the fashion industry, I’m working on international opportunities for my upcoming brand (soon to be revealed) to take our local talent all around.
Founder, Dona Shi
Sharing my story in support of AOD's #TheNewLocal campaign kicking off with the creative industry. I'm excited to be selected as an ambassador of this vision & to be showing my work at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week - Sri Lanka, with the global event returning to our island this December.
Dona Shi collection sees the inclusion of stripes, tailored suiting and wearable curation of statement pieces. This collection, like others, pulls back to our ‘less is more’ philosophy where each piece is considered and designed with purpose. After a challenging 2021, I am working on international opportunities for my venture to expand my brand and design knowledge and to show the world what sri lanka has to offer in terms of design and craft.
Sharing my story in support of AOD's 'New Local' campaign. Excited to be Selected as an ambassador of this vision & I feel super lucky to have had the opportunity to launch my brand UDĀK at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week - Sri Lanka 2018. And excited about the global event returning to our island this December. Emerging from tough times, I am hoping to work on international opportunities for my venture and share our artisanal story globally, I am being creative, I am being entrepreneurial for myself & for my country.
'The New Local' is Creative, Entrepreneurial & ready to look inwards to rediscover resources right here on this island, finding new global opportunities in a new world. As we emerge from these turbulent times, we find ourselves more connected to our roots than ever before, knowing that the change we need is in our hands and it is up to us to make our home, Sri Lanka, work better. There is always a promise of a good tomorrow for those who can envision opportunities. What we envision is backed by creativity, design, innovation and driven by a new generation that champions ideas, with eyes set on the horizon. There is new light breaking out there, but we have got to be ready to be entrepreneurial, embracing home, yet building beyond borders. It is hope, but hope that is active.The New Local is a vision that is about creative entrepreneurship, design and innovation. It takes the intrinsically homebound viewpoint of our current post-pandemic reality & bridges it to the new global opportunities, harnessing ideas to fulfil real market needs
Creative Entrepreneur, Mendés Ceylon
My entrepreneurial vision is to see us taking designed in Sri Lanka to export markets while empowering SL communities in post pandemic world. 2020&2021 have been the most challenging years for me as a creative entrepreneur. The world flipped upside down for all of us in creative industries with the pandemic. Facing challenges this big was not only unexpected also unprepared for. Mendés Ceylon is excited to be a part of Mercedes Benz fashion week Sri Lanka this year. I see this international event not only as a great opportunity but also as a privilege for Mendés Ceylon, to be a part of this global event. Working with traditional craft such as batik and handloom in our collections has always been one unique signature close to brands’ DNA, now we have a platform to take this uniqueness out in the world with MBFWSL.Sri Lankan brands should be a topic to discuss globally for its potential especially for its craft. MBFWSL has given us Sri Lankan creative industries & creative entrepreneurs a window of opportunity to be a part of the global event once again.