Being the youngest competitor at the contest, and having faced extremely tough competition, Viranda Bandara’s heart skipped a beat when she was announced as the ‘Designer of the Year’ at the Chokolaate Mother Daughter Fashion Designer Contest for the year 2016.
Only sixteen years of age during the competition, Viranda was introduced to the competition when a teacher from her school, Gateway College, Rajagiriya, who had seen her sketches, suggested that she should give it a shot. After many rounds of competition, she found herself in the finale of the contest, which she ultimately won.
Viranda had always been very fashion-forward during her childhood. Dissatisfied with the clothes she found on the shelves which didn’t quite suit her style, as a young girl, she took up the challenge of tweaking up the clothes that she bought into what she desired. Fortunate enough to be equipped with artistic abilities, she was known among friends for being able to sketch beautiful designs. It was while in the Art Society of her school that her teacher recognised her exceptional talent and told her about the Chokolaate Mother Daughter Fashion Contest.
Speaking of the competition, she was full of praise. “It is the perfect opportunity for new, prospective fashion designers to have their first glimpse of the industry and slowly widen their horizons. All the competitors were very talented with designs of high standard. They were all very friendly, creating healthy competition, all-in-all. The designers were expected to compete in three different segments: Sportswear, Casual Wear, and Evening Wear for awards.” Besides the all-important ‘Designer of the Year’ Award which she won, young Viranda was also the winner of the Sportswear segment. Taking part in the competition during her O/L examination, attending all the training sessions and rehearsals was quite a challenge, she said. However, the experience she gained from the competition, the insights she received into the fashion industry, both modelling and designing was worth it.
Being the overall winner of the competition opened many doors for Viranda. She was offered many opportunities especially in her education. On a scholarship that she received because of her achievement, Viranda will soon be flying to Holmesglen Institute in Melbourne to pursue a foundation course in Fashion Designing, after which she will study for her Bachelor’s Degree. A commerce student while in school, Viranda hopes to one day own her own business with her very own designer brand focusing in Wedding Couture and lingerie.
Participating in the competition is no easy task. She expressed her gratitude towards her mother without whom her success would not have been possible. When she was unable to attend rehearsals due to her examination, her mother would go on her behalf and take care of the needs of her models. She was also grateful to her sister and brother-in law for helping her in every possible way.
As the winner of last year’s contest, she will have her own segment at this year’s finale. With Miss Sri Lanka 2016 as her model, she hopes to showcase some of her latest styles which she has designed after her scope of the fashion world increased post-competition.
“I was just 16 when I took part and I ended up winning the contest. The competition is the perfect platform for anybody to take part. Regardless of your age, it’s worth giving a shot”, says Viranda encouraging all those like her who aspire to be designers.
Applications for Chokolaate Mother Daughter Fashion Designer Contest 2017 are now open and will close on the 28th of February 2017. For more information and to obtain application forms please contact Michelle on 0777 224645 or visit the Chokolaate Facebook fan page www.facebook.com/chokolaate