DESIGNING BEFITTING BATIK
Yathra Jayawardene is recognized for her inventive interpretation of batik to befit contemporary fashion, utilising it as an artistic tool to experiment on silhouettes. We applaud the designer for her distinctive esoteric and visual technique through which she plays with attractive hues in making statement pieces of bounteous beauty. Her holistic understanding in the formation of designer wear from pattern making to design execution ensures her perspective permeating throughout every stage in the construction of collections.
Yathra’s signature style as a designer includes intricate patterns of batik, hand-made from scratch that stay true to the authentic process of the local technique. Her creativity lies in infusing the original craft of batik in shapes and cuts that allow the modern female to emerge in an effortless fashion. “I try to stick to silhouettes that are more classic while also ensuring that my collections are designed in a manner that complements the female figure. Thus finding a balance between silhouette and structure formation is really important to me. For example, I work with kaftans, but I try to make them unique to suit the modern woman and her stylish desires.” Yathra’s collection of swimwear and resort wear at Swim Week Colombo 2018 was in fact a manifestation of this signature style, where she engaged in the sustainable practice of using cotton instead of the traditional lycra, developing nuanced patterns that were subtle but exuberant on classic silhouettes including the kaftan, drape, bikini and the traditional swimsuit.
Yathra stands out for her involvement in the design process from concept to execution. The art of batik, nurtured through constant practice requires great attentiveness. In terms of the step-by-step creation of a batik designer wear, Yathra’s passion for converting detail onto fabric from the absolute beginning to end is noteworthy. After deciphering a specific print on paper, she copies it onto fabric which is then waxed and dyed. The process of dyeing is a complex undertaking, according to Yathra, who describes that it must be done from the lightest to the darkest shade with cautious precision to achieve perfect colour balance. The entire fabric is then boiled to preserve the print and remove the wax. “The more colours you have, the more steps you need to undertake".
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