International promotion and retail are a key focus
In its 12th year, HSBC Colombo Fashion Week (CFW) launchesthe Spring/Summer 2015 (SS15) season with a renewed focus on promoting Sri Lankan designers in international markets by building their profiles, and creating a retail presence for them in Sri Lanka and online. Every year, CFW embarks on a strategic effort to promote the growth of the Sri Lankan fashion industry. The key initiative taken this year by CFW towards realizing this vision is a formal tie-up with Omen PR, a reputed PR agency in New York, USA that focuses on fashion marketing and image building for fashion designers. Additionally, CFW is further strengthened this year by the timely appointment of Ajai V. Singh, President, CFW, as a founding council member of the Commonwealth Fashion Council based in London, United Kingdom.
Each year, CFW selects a theme and celebrates a trend or concept that has influenced fashion over the decades. This season, the craft of tie-dye will serve as the central visual theme for all CFW events, merchandise and online platforms. The Hilton Colombo Poolside will be themed as the Fashion Village, and will serve as the dynamic centre for all CFW activities.
“As per our plans, 2015 and 2016 will be dedicated to pushing retail initiatives and promoting Sri Lankan designers in the US, Asia and new markets across the Commonwealth. Sri Lankan designers should learn how to build sustainable businesses or their work will remain a hobby. By God’s grace, we will push this aspect strongly for the next two years.” said Ajai V. Singh, President, CFW.
Since its inception in 2003, CFW has served as the backbone of the Sri Lankan fashion industry and has been committed to raising the bar for Sri Lankan designers. CFW is enriched by the partnerships it enjoys with its likeminded partners – HSBC, Hilton Colombo, Land Rover, Wineworld, Colombo Jewellery Stores, Unilever, TATA Housing, Cotton Collection, Hameedia, Ramani Fernando Salons Leo Burnett and Quintessentially – who believe in CFW’s vision and aspirations.
This season, CFW showcases the latest collections of renowned local and international fashion talent on the runway at the main shows, which will run over three days, from 12 to 14 March 2015. Seven international designers, who have been featured in several fashion weeks across the world, have been invited to participate in the Spring/Summer 2015 Show. Twenty local designers have been carefully selected by the CFW Designer Selection Panel through an anonymous evaluation process, and will also showcase their newest collections. The panel, comprising a group of Asia’s most experienced designers –Bibi Russell, Rizwan Beyg, Prasad Bidapa and Yoland Aluwihare, has provided local designers with integral feedback as well as guidance on creating lookbooks for their collections.
Patrick Gallagher, CEO, HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives stated, “Since CFW staged its first fashion show in Colombo, 12 years ago, the show has become a magnet for designers and models to converge, and a hub for the fashion industry in South Asia to further their cause by creating business and marketing opportunities. Considering this growth and the fashion industry as a whole, it gives us immense pleasure to partner this event. As the title sponsor, we hope our customers will equally enjoy the line-up and be enthralled by the spectacular designs of international standing”.
The Design Trunk Show provides a unique retail opportunity for local designers, who will be able to showcase and pre-sell exclusively designed items from their latest collections, to customers and CFW invitees. It brings an important commercial aspect to CFW and benefits designers who may not have their own retail space, by giving them a platform to interact with and sell directly to customers. Selected items from these collections will also be available for both local and international customers to purchase on the CFW Curates site (www.cfwcurates.com). The Design Trunk Show will be running from 10 to 14 March 2015, and will take place in a conceptualized space designed by the winner of the Pop-Up Store Design Contest, a design competition held each year for students of architecture.
A series of workshops will also be conducted by international fashion industry professionals, who will visit Colombo to share their knowledge and expertise in the areas of fashion branding, public relations and styling.
CFW continues to nurture young fashion talent in Sri Lanka once again with this year’s ‘BrightSpark’ Shows which will take place on 11 March 2015, and provide a rare platform for aspiring fashion designers to be showcased as part of the CFW SS15 Show. This year, 10 young designers were taken through an intensive training and mentoring process, which prepared them for conceptualizing and producing collections that are fit to be showcased on a fashion week runway. The most promising ‘BrightSpark’ designer, whose name will be unveiled at the show, will also be the recipient of the prestigious Fashion Design Fund, which will provide financial assistance for the creation of his/her own collection.
The ‘Fashion+Food’ series returns this year to delight CFW invitees, with a Fashion Café and Fashion Bar which will provide an eclectic range of tapas, bento boxes and lifestyle-inspired beverages during the shows. In its 12th edition, CFW is also incorporating the culinary diversity of Colombo by partnering with six premier restaurants to curate an extraordinary fine dining experience. From 8 to 15 March 2015, each partnering restaurant will offer a unique, fashion-themed menu that will be available for lunch and dinner. A VIP dining experience will also bring together a selected group of invitees to sample an interactive, seven-course menu at the Fashion Café.
HSBC CFW will wrap-up its week-long series of events with two glamorous, themed after-parties, on 13 and 14 March 2015. Bringing in a new dimension to its focus on merging fashion and lifestyle, CFW also partners with TNL Radio for ‘Music Designed’, an initiative that unearths music talent, and mentors DJs and musicians to perform and curate music for fashion. This year will also see the participation of fashion bloggers who will be trained by an expert to cover runway shows and other CFW events, in order to achieve more visibility and engagement across all social media platforms.
CFW is one of four main fashion weeks in Asia that have been running for over ten years. Over the last 12 years, CFW has created an enormous impact on the local fashion industry by continuing to inspire growth and drive innovation amongst local designers. For more information, visit the official CFW website (www.colombofashionweek.com) and follow the latest updates on the official CFW Facebook page (www.facebook.com/colombofashionweek).