Charini Suriyage

An artist’s consciousness, in their creation of a masterpiece is often sacredly tethered to that of a muse. Every artist’s creative conscious is intrinsically linked to a notion through which inspiration is derived and this anecdote explores the concept of art and its origin. From the contours and curves of monumental architectural structures to fine fashion design couture, from colours and components of nature and its wildlife, there exists likenesses that are both an affinity and cause to complement each other. Subsequently, it is not unusual to draw parallels and derive inspiration. Fashion designer, Charini Suriyage, studied at the University of Moratuwa and proceeded to obtain her Master’s degree at the London College of Fashion. Her innate objective to any creation is the inherent belief that inspiration is a consequence of the reflective musing of what’s around her. ARTRA finds Charini’s distinct eye and perception to create and design a collection is one that’s influenced by particular nuances of nature, architecture and even uniquely, arthropods. Fashion couture takes inspiration from all mediums, from the natural world to fine art. But perhaps there is something to be said about the synergy between fashion design and architecture, wildlife and nature. And Charini Suriyage incorporates these elements into her designs eloquently and through crucial detail of thought.

Charini Suriyage is a renowned fashion designer, whose work has been recognized in pages of International magazines including British Vogue, The New York Times, Time Out and more. Charini won the Ethical Fashion Award for Lingerie at the Sri Lanka Design Festival in 2010, and showcased her collections at the Colombo Fashion Week 2019. In 2010, Charini opened her own flagship store that carries apparel of her own designs, each piece at ‘Charini’ is unique and exclusive. Intertwining distinct Sri Lankan heritage craftsmanship such as batik and beeralu lace crochet and hand weaving with contemporary design, the design studio at ‘Charini’ incorporates wardrobe updates and functional design for corporate clients into their agenda. Charini is also co-founder of concept store, Zudhora which hosts curated designerwear of Sri Lankan and International brands. Prompted by her passion for experimenting with combinations of the traditional and modern, Charini Suriyage has advocated for Ethical Fashion by being the first Sri Lankan to take part at the London Fashion week. Charini also retailed in Europe, Sri Lanka, Australia as well as in the United States of America.

Designer, Charini Suriyage’s collection ‘Old Ceylon’ was inspired by Charini’s fascination for colonial buildings. Growing up with an affinity towards history, Charini is deeply influenced by the structure and architecture of old Sri Lankan buildings and dramatically incorporates them into her pieces. “I have always been a person who’s interested in culture and history, but I always try to see how we can make it more modern and contemporary. So I think the ‘Old Ceylon’ collections were a result of that,” she explained. Charini studied architecture and as a result her innate sense of understanding about the scope of the subject provide intricate insights into the aspects of designing clothes. ARTRA discovers that this concept is unique in its capacity that subtly fuses and engages both forms of art into an intimate relationship and is not an uncommon notion. It is seen in the designs of world renowned fashion designers and architects including Balenciaga and Marchesa through Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid. “I like the lighthouses because it adds the height factor and you can do a lot of graphic placements, where you can include proportions. Having said that, I think each building is unique, from windows to special qualities. I see beauty in all these old buildings and their detailing,” Charini elucidated in reference to her derivation of particular designs that impart upon distinct types of buildings.

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6th March, 2020 Applied Art

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