Brian Kerkoven: People find my simple style elegant

Fashion designer, choreographer and franchise holder for some leading fashion shows in Sri Lanka, Brian Kerkoven, says to be a fashion designer you need to believe in originality.

Brian admires those who try hard to reach their goals in the fashion industry and overcome all their shortcomings.

“I am speaking from my recent work with the students of Kelaniya University; it is so nice to see them improve and try hard to achieve whatever I try to teach them. I love seeing them grow and walk with confidence and attitude,” he said.

Brian started off his career in the fashion industry as a model and today he is a model trainer, choreographer and model manager.

“I would not be doing what I do now if not for two ladies, Ramani Fernando and Cheryll Gooneratne. I first modeled for a Ramani Fernando hair show. I never wanted to model, but when I was asked to do this show how could I say no. Ramani Fernando’s shows were always the talk of the town. So that started me in the Modeling field and one thing led to another and here I am as a model trainer, choreographer and model manager or coordinator, and I am proud to say many of the big names in the field, started with me in one way or another and have now reached the top,” he said.

As for fashion designing, Brian says he always had a flair for it and at the beginning he designed clothes for his mother and friends, but now he does so for different people who find his simple style, elegant.

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“I was always sketching, imagining situations; when I was in school I had pens of different colours and always the dark coloured ones would be men and the bright coloured ones women and I would make up stories based on them. This has helped me in everything I do. Even as a stylist there is always a story behind whatever I do. Even today we were doing a fashion shoot for the magazine I work for and I was giving the model situations, so he got a feel and his expression was what we were looking for. My friends laugh at me sometimes, but it helps even in my choreography,” he said.

Brian has just finished his show with the Kelaniya University ‘Stylish Marketer 2012’ and even there he gave the participants themes and asked them to act it out.

“We had a section called the night club and we had lovely lighting and the contestants danced on the main stage and then made their way to the front of the ramp where they were judged on performance and the clothes they were wearing. The evening wear section was a mix of prom night and masquerade, so it helps to have an imaginative mind,” he said.

Brian says he first got the local franchise for the International Best Male and Female Model which was to be held in Spain.

Chameera Niroshan and Nadeeka Perera won the respective titles and Nadeeka went to Spain and did Sri Lanka proud, not only by winning the main title, but also five mini titles.

“She is someone to be greatly admired as she went alone to Europe and hurt her leg there, but in spite of this she emerged the Winner. Chameera followed the year after and whoever has represented me at this competition in Spain has always been in the top 5. Sri Lankans are greatly admired in Europe and it is a shame, we do not have a super model in Europe. I am proud to say one Sri Lankan Male model is really doing well in the International field. I wish there would be more soon,” he said.

Brian was also given the franchise for Mister Sri Lanka for Mister International and last year he was given the franchise for Supermodel International.

“My winner was placed in the top 10, out of around 40 countries and back home she is climbing to the top as a model and she has also now been selected to do a movie,” he said.

2362_52413696818_8088_nSpeaking on the local fashion industry, Brian says it is certainly taking a turn for the better. “But what I think is that Fashion Lecturers should advice their students that in most cases less is more. A lot of new designers tend to overdo it,” he noted.

Brian believes that in Sri Lanka most people tend to wear clothes which do not suit them or the climate.

“I think of all these youngsters who hang around the malls wearing ski caps, low waist pants which almost drop off, while some of them wear leather in the heat of Sri Lanka, and shawls and hats in some instances. What suits one person does not automatically suit everyone else. Dress to kill – there are some people who do not know where to stop, they wear all kinds of jewellery, just because they have them, carry the wrong handbag and wear the wrong shoes. I always think that their friends are as much  to blame, because if they were honest they would tell them, instead of sniggering behind their backs,” he said.

As for his future plans, Brian says he is finally putting the final touches to open his modeling school.

“I hope I can raise super international standard models and as I always say a Miss Universe or a Miss World,” he added.

Report by Easwaran Rutnam