SHIFTING INDUSTRIAL DYNAMICS
Linda Speldewinde’s mission in the field of design began as she understood the need for professional creators, producers of different kinds in the numerous fields associated with creative industries. A key force in the development of the eventual formation of an entire sector of design dominated by male figures, Linda in turn pioneered and promoted generational waves from establishing of one of Sri Lanka’s most prominent higher education institution, the Academy of Design (AoD), to making changes in the retail sector with apparel industry networks. Linda cited the necessity to realise a life of independent freedom in her earlier years as a young adult, making responsible decisions with far-reaching consequences, in turn influencing change through implementing her ideas and ultimately altering the face of Sri Lanka through design, fashion and forming their fundamental elements of production.
The entrepreneur felt the need to direct operations herself as the fine tuning of the working engine at large, and its offspring, particularly from the AoD campus, needed the initial platform to attract overseas attention through the platforms of opportunity such as fashionmarket.lk, Island Craft, the Sri Lankan Design Festival and the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. “I realised a lot of people were coming in and asking for design, and that there were no professional designers but a gap for professional design”. The fulfilment of this vacuum through education in turn spawned many international-grade graduates and competition winners, such as Amesh Wijesekera, Bhagya Withana and Kasuni Rathnasuriya to name a few, who are all currently contending their respective fields of creativity overseas. These successes in turn have spurred Linda further onwards, being particularly propelled by the ever-growing waves of the next generation, providing a fundamentally strong foundation of intention in bringing about change in the local scene on an industrial scale. “Design is a relatively new industry for Sri Lanka; it’s only about fifteen years, just as old as my journey alongside it”. The impact of Linda’s decisions have given a sharp and refined attitude towards production design and its sense of responsibility in placing young Sri Lankan design on the international map.
Re-inventing The Path
The motivation derived from her experiences as a woman, ranging from acknowledging the responsibilities as an entreprenuer, wife, mother and daughter have been critically influenced by the maternal presence of her grandmother, whose exemplary qualities dawned upon Linda over the recent few years with the matriarch’s passing. In constant touch with numerous social networks, she claims that it is essential that women break through the glass ceiling in respective fields to challenge norms by sticking with the progressive adage of building something invaluable - in Linda’s case, a sprawling, complex nexus of interrelated apparel industries and product design companies promoting innovative opportunities for education and initiative.
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