ARTRA’s Top 10 of Artist Challenge l Fashion l Pumudu Welikanna

Fashion is all about celebrating the art of the living. The famous photographer Bill Cunningham views Fashion as the armor to survive the reality of everyday life. Correspondingly, fashion has attracted a considerable attention publicly as a visual art that helps rediscover thousand myriad ways of expressing individual identities, personalities and worldviews innovatively through creative means. A rapidly evolving visual art progressing beyond barriers and boundaries, fashion has become a part and parcel of modern living and socialization. Living in Style has been one of the main preoccupations of human existence ever since human civilizations dawned and this justifies the modern day significance of fashion in multiple social and cultural platforms across the globe. Accordingly, considering the local context, Pumudu Welikanna is a promising upcoming Sri Lankan fashion designer recognized by the ARTRA Artist Challenge with prospects of introducing a new dimension to the fashion industry in Sri Lanka.

Fashion facilitates individuals to express the very essence of their existence visually articulating their ideals and emotions allowing them to reinterpret and celebrate the mesmerizing beauty of the human form. Communicating to ARTRA his vision as a fashion designer, Pumudu who is currently experimenting and developing his unique style in fashion claimed that fashion is an art to be embraced with an open mind. Personally, he defines himself as a liberal artist who refuses to be labeled under a particular brand restricted to a particular style or genre. According to Pumudu, the key to learning and navigating an expansive aesthetic field like fashion is the willingness to experiment and having a perception uncoloured by various individual and collective worldviews True to his word, Pumudu has exemplified this in his numerous innovative and creative artwork.

Reflecting on his journey so far as an emerging fashion designer, Pumudu remarks that fashion was the only leeway for him to find himself, his true passion and purpose in life even amidst family objections. Further, Pumudu remarked in content that eventually by indulging in his art he was able to discover his own pathway which unlocked a satisfactory and comfortable avenue of life for him. In his very own words Pumudu reflected on the importance of fashion as an art to him expressing that “Fashion and art is everything to me. And fashion is indeed a form of art. It’s a wearable art which amplifies a person’s inner self and character”. 

As ARTRA observes, the most remarkable feature of Pumudu’s art is its gender-neutral presentation of attire and accessories resonating with high-couture fashion trends and the modern state-of-the-art fashion ideals dominating the western fashion spheres. Especially, modelling for his creations he also betrays the natural artistic self in him intensifying the originality of presentation in his work. In addition, ARTRA would like to highlight the novel and revolutionary angle that Pumudu integrates into his fashion collections transgressing conventional frames and boundaries. What characterizes his art is the distinctive texture and the quality of material that he uses and the smart, elegant and sophisticated manner in which they have been utilized in designing. Responding to ARTRA Pumudu voiced that, “Fashion as an art form which gives confidence and personality to the wearer. And also it’s an art form which never gets old or expire. I always try to address current world issues through my work. But sometimes I do go into a weird mind box which create artwork with no specific meaning but in reality it’s my mind and soul in my work”.

Being an AOD student Pumudu has gained the academic back ground required to proceed further in his career and working in collaboration with trendsetting icons in the field and brands he has developed in him a profound taste in high Fashion and couture. Following his fascination on body art, fashion, photography and travel he is also active as a food and lifestyle blogger since 2015 where he has a gallery of images from various walks of life. He has also contributed to the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week of Sri Lanka for three years and additionally has worked in affiliation with the Colombo Fashion Week several times. Having hands-on experience with more than four local fashion labels like Andre Estefan, Urban Island and two international labels namely Maylwear and Kiaz culture, Pumudu is positively looking forward to invest himself further in artistic work while leaving his unique mark in the fashion industry.

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20th May, 2020 Applied Art