A CHAT WITH SHARMINI SENEVIRATNE

Published : 9:34 am  August 9, 2016 | No comments so far |  |  (647) reads | 

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The Sri Lankan fashion industry has a global appeal today. But, back in the day, it was an entirely new concept for the people. Yet, like every revolution, fashion too did its magic, evolving through the ages to what it is today. Living through this evolution was Sharmini Seneviratne, who had had the privilege of traversing the world and initiating her own brand ‘Silk Wrap’. In a casual conversation with Life, Sharmini shared her experience throughout the years, her views on the local fashion industry and where it should improve.

? HOW WERE YOU INTRODUCED TO FASHION DESIGNING

I initially worked as an air stewardess at Sri Lankan Airlines and I travelled to many countries where fashion took centre stage. That was my stepping stone to this industry and my parents gave me a hand to be a student of the prestigious St. Martin’s College of Art where I studied Fashion Designing in depth. Back in the day I used to dress in my mother’s sarees and I feel that too had some kind of Untitled-3an influence to pursue my career in this field.

? WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO INITIATE ‘SILK WRAP’

I started off with raw silks which had a huge demand for evening as well as glamour wear. Back in the 90’s there was no place to buy silks in Sri Lanka and I used to get all my materials from Thailand. It was something very new to the local fashion arena. Therefore I decided to move ahead with it.

? YOU HAVE SERVED INTHIS INDUSTRY FORQUITE A LONG TIME. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MAJORTRANSFORMATIONS IT HASGONE THROUGH FROM THENTO NOW

The fashion arena today is very advanced. I have been in this industry for 20 years and I know how it was like then. There were only two TV channels and no fashion magazines to start with. Therefore we hardly had any way of getting exposed to what was happening overseas. So there was no way for us to get an idea of how things should fit in. But in my case I was lucky because every time my parents went abroad they used to update me with the latest trends in fashion which greatly helped me to work out my designs.

? TELL US ABOUTSOME OF THEPAGEANTS YOU HAVE BEEN A PART OF

I have been a part of many pageants both locally and internationally. I have been a judge for Ms. Sri Lanka and Ms. Working Girl pageants in Sri Lanka. One of my most successful pageants was in Tokyo where I took 5 local models to showcase my designs there. Then I have participated in pageants held in Dubai, Oman and various other countries in Europe. I am proud to say that all of these pageants had full-house audiences from around the world and there was a huge demand for my designs.

? ARE YOU SATISF IEDABOUT THE LOCALFASHION INDUSTRY TODAY

There are certain things that still needs to be done. For example, there are some shows which don’t feature any veteran local designers. Neither do they feature any local models. But I don’t think that shows held internationally would invite our models to appear in them. This is one loophole that I see. Other than that I’m highly impressed about the works of up and coming local designers. Back in the day they had shows mainly for buyers and not for entertainment. But today, we see many pageants and shows being organised simply for entertainment and this has downgraded the industry to some extent. There should be a platform for young designers to showcase their designs for potential buyers.

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PROFILE PIC BY Warren Senewiratne