HARNESSING THE NEXT GEN OF SRI LANKAN FASHION DESIGN TALENT
Introducing the Next Gen Emerging Designer Fund
Colombo Fashion Week, alongside HSBC Sri Lanka recently announced the launch of the Next Gen Emerging Designer Fund to support and empower the next generation of Sri Lankan fashion design talent.
CFW has maintained emphasis on developing the next generation of Sri Lankan fashion designers since its inception. This ensures a steady supply of design talent which further uplifts the fashion industry of Sri Lanka. Over 90% of Sri Lankan fashion designers are the product of the CFW design development system, Colombo Fashion Week claims.
The HSBC Next Gen Emerging Designer Fund is an evolution of the years of mentoring and grooming provided by CFW. The award will provide 5 high potential emerging designers with the funds and mentorship required to grow as designers and launch their brands. The fund will be released to the next enrollment of emerging designers. The fund will help to manage a system that encourages designers to look at showcasing and retailing as a cycle which will allow them to establish their brand and provides continuity for the fashion design industry.
“The CFW Design Development system has been instrumental in developing emerging designers with a systematic focus on ideation, collection planning and retail. It is the start of fashion design supply chain that feeds the fashion design industry of Sri Lanka. Hence a special emphasis is given to this process” said Ajai Vir Singh, Founder and Managing Director of Colombo Fashion Week.
Applications are encouraged from any resident in Sri Lanka between ages of 18-28 years and will give special attention to designers who focus on sustainable practices and responsibility in fashion, with a strong aesthetic and unique point of view. A high-profile judging committee will evaluate the applicants and select a total 5 young designers for the award.
“We are here to use our unique expertise, capabilities, breadth and perspective to open up new kinds of opportunity for our customers. We believe that by bringing together people, ideas and capital that nurture progress and growth that we can create a better world. That’s why we are proud to partner with CFW in launching the HSBC Next-Gen Emerging Designer Fund which aims to provide financial support, skills enhancement and mentoring to talented and emerging fashion designers in Sri Lanka. Top 5 eligible designers will receive a financial grant of a quarter of a million rupees each, followed with an opportunity to showcase their collections at HSBC Colombo Fashion Week 2022.”, said Nadeesha Senaratne, Country Head of Wealth & Personal Banking, HSBC.
The application process encourages designers to think intentionally about the fund's core objective of uplifting the Sri Lankan fashion design industry and growing its business opportunities. All shortlisted designers will be enrolled in a thorough mentoring programme through CFW, with access to industry knowledge, resources and best practices. In addition, under the guidance of CFW, each young designer will also incorporate CFW’s Responsible Meter, where every garment will be given a score based on how responsible, accountable and transparent it is.
Nurturing the next generation of Sri Lankan fashion designers has been the key focus since the inception of HSBC Colombo Fashion Week. The design development system of CFW has always been an integral part of the platform and became an important format for CFW with which to mentor, train and groom the next generation of fashion designers. The ‘Emerging Designer Showcase’ focuses on honing the skills of young designers and providing them with a platform to showcase their creative talent.
This consistent focus has resulted in CFW receiving the highest number of applications this year for its Emerging Designer Program. This is a testimony to the momentum created through the strength of the mentorship and grooming provided by CFW. This year, 11 high potential young designers have been mentored over a three-month period and selected to present their collections at the Summer 2021 showcase.
Through the CFW Design Development programme, emerging designers who have been selected to showcase have been carefully mentored through the creative process by the CFW mentorship panel to help them refine their skills. Each designer was guided on design thinking, collection planning, fashion marketing, brand presentation and retail feasibility over a period of three months.
Aside from being presented with the opportunity to understand the intricacies of how one of the four main fashion events in Asia function, the designers are enriched with the know-how on fine-tuning their collections to better appeal to the market. Through the showcase, designers are also exposed to a diverse audience which would be comprised of established designers, editors, buyers and influencers, both on and off the runway and particularly in terms of fashion retail.