CRAFTING FOR THE EVERYDAY
Marisa Gnanaraj is hailed for her vision of developing statement pieces that exude contemporary aesthetic while fusing traditional Sri Lankan silhouettes. Marisa, the designer of fashion label M FACT, received our attention for her creative manipulation since her collection ‘Horizon Infinity’ which was presented at the Barefoot House Collection Showcase in November 2017. We find Marisa’s vision to be exemplary of fashion as a proponent of a country’s cultural identity. Throughout the years, designers have attempted to infuse novelty into these traditional garments with the aim of developing their own unique aesthetic, and Marisa’s take on it emerges with a unique esoteric.
Marisa grew up under the wing of her mother, who is a textile designer at Barefoot, but admits that as a child, she took a while to appreciate the craft and authenticity of handloom. As one of the first students of Academy of Design, Colombo, Marisa steadily developed a taste for designing clothes. She approaches fashion from a construction perspective as she practises ‘making’ or ‘constructing’ garments that have utility, functionality and durability in the day-to-day lives of her customers. She believes that her creations are emblematic of these qualities as opposed to conforming to the larger discourse of fashionable clothing. “I’m designing for me, for what is around me, the present and the now. That is what I’m designing and making clothes for. The woman and man of all sorts and shapes.” Timeliness is thus another important aspect that she believes should go into designing clothes.
The men’s wear collection showcased at Barefoot drew inspiration from the desert landscapes invoking a vibrant interpretation of the desert with an attractive and bright coloured palette. The collection consists of a mix of tailored and oversized pieces characterized by subtle handcrafted detailing on handloom material. An overwhelming sense of tradition pervades the collection with its inclusion of sarongs, blazers and shirts with a local touch of comfort and versatility. We were intrigued by her vision to bring pride to Sri Lanka through the usage
of of handloom alongside traditional silhouettes.
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