MODERN INTERPRETATION TO TRADITIONAL CRAFTMANSHIP
Vathsala Gunasekara is being celebrated for excellent articulation of traditional craftsmanship in her designerwear for today’s dynamic women. Receiving our attention from her collection that debuted at Colombo Fashion Week’s ‘Emerging Designer Showcase’ held earlier this year, her work since then impressed her persistent efforts to uplift the Dumbara textile weaving through its inspired incorporation in fashion design while safeguarding the essence of the craft successfully.
As a student, Vathsala made the choice to move from the field of information technology into fashion, furthering a particular development of her creative knack for practicing design. The designer’s determination to shape material from a younger age played a significant role in her confident artistry and design sensibilities. Hailing from Kamburupitiya, Matara, Vathsala recently completed the BA course in Design of which she specialised in Fashion and Lifestyle Design from the University of Moratuwa in 2017.
After being introduced to the more theoretical dynamics of design theory, nuances of attributive philosophy and conceptual formulations, Vathsala understood that the core of her design practice was aligned with a passion towards ecologically sound intentions and investigative projects. This strengthened a discipline that correlated with environmentally-conscious pragmatisms alongside relevant themes and contextual content. As the spaces between a body and dress are given freedom to explore each other as interior spatialities, the designer feels that the lifestyle of fashion has a responsibility in providing value to itself, with particular consideration in the contextualisation of its compositional elements. The designer works with the concept ‘Sensation of Minimalistic Integrity’, with emphasis placed upon fabric structure through the use of the simplest elements in conserving traditional heritage and the beauty inside the sensitivity of the creative act.
Vathsala’s graduate collection (2016) at the University of Moratuwa drew a contemporary approach in the use of a regional craftwork from the Dumbara Valley, Sabaragamuwa. Passing down values through time from generation to generation, the indigenous weaving community inhabits a singular rural village space. However, due to the inexperience and lack of involvement in meeting the needs of an ever-expanding and technologically oriented international marketplace, this particular weaving community has altogether ceased to exist in the competitive market place. In the face of being utilised by a minute number of specialist designers, aside from highly traditional positions of adornment, Vathsala’s design comprises the effort to uplift the elegant craft to considerable stages of international exposure, potential competition and further investment...
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