CFW becomes first fashion week in the region in a post-covid environment

HSBC Colombo Fashion Week (CFW) became the first fashion week platform in the region to present fashion amid the Covid-19 environment. The summer 2020 season which was initially planned for March took place last week amidst a new normal environment, featuring 27 designers across three days.

Due to the Covid-19 virus outbreak which led to restrictions placed on travel and gathering in large groups, this year’s showcase was limited to a small audience approved by the Ministry of Health and local designers only. Strict health guidelines were followed such as social distancing, with the audience also encouraged to wear masks at all times. The shows were also live streamed online as well for the local and international audience.

“In this new environment, every aspect of fashion has changed, from designing to consuming to retailing and to presenting. It’s a new normal. At CFW, we had to be sensitive to all these aspects, lead the designers on this journey, have them create collections relevant to this environment and then present it in the most attractive manner, so that confidence is built in consuming fashion,” said Ajai Vir Singh, Founder and Managing Director of Colombo Fashion Week.

He elaborated that this edition of CFW was unique in more than one way as it took place at a time where the influence of lockdown was immense. “Not only were there physical lockdowns but emotional as well. The change to the new was challenging everyone’s mindset. For us it was almost like unlocking a unique format of presenting fashion which encouraged opening up of the mindsets and gave confidence for fashion consumers to go out in a responsible manner. And I look forward to more such interesting opportunities” he further stated.

CFW became the first platform in the region to host a fashion week in a post-covid environment. CFW explored presentation ideas beyond the runway by creating unique sets led by storytelling, using stimulating creative collaborations like music and personalities from the literary scene of Sri Lanka. This was done with the mindset that fashion consumers have appreciation of creativity beyond just fashion. Hence storytelling involved other creative streams and runways became a fascinating combination of high fashion and theatre sets.

To kick of these theatre sets, CFW’s Day 2 showcase opened with designer Aslam Hussein’s collection presented on the runway to the reading of an excerpt from celebrated Sri Lankan author Ashok Ferrey’s latest book The Unmarriageable Man, read by Ashok Ferrey himself.

FH by Fouzul Hameed and Dimuthu Sahabandu both took to the ramp with lively performances from Natanda Dance Theatre, and renowned opera singer Kishani Jayasinghe performed for the unveiling of Vogue Jewellers’ latest collection of exquisite fine jewellery.

Performances on Day 3 included a rendition of Adele’s iconic hit Skyfall by aspiring actress and musician, Q (aka. Francesca Mudannayake), and designer Amilani Perera’s collaborative collection with the United Nations Population Fund in Sri Lanka in an effort to use fashion to break the silence around gender-based violence was beautifully matched with a moving dance act featuring Sandarangi Perera of Vibe Dance Academy. Beatboxer and rapper Julius Mitchell was paired with Charini Suriyage whose elegant collection closed the CFW 2020 showcase.

One of the strongest performances of this edition of CFW were from the 13 young emerging designers who adapted their collections most efficiently to the new environment. These high potential young designers are soon set to form the basis of the fashion design industry of Sri Lanka.

CFW 2020 took the lead in promoting Sri Lankan talent on a larger scale this year, and relied solely on local talent and resources across the full gamut of design and production requirements for the showcase, from designers to models to show production. “Colombo Fashion Week has always operated with the goal of encouraging and highlighting local talent. We have used foreign talent in the past to support us with growing the relevant segments via knowledge sharing and collaborations and this year, I am happy to say we have reached the stage where our local talent has been able to fill all gaps” said Fazeena Rajabdeen, CEO & Director of Colombo Fashion Week.

Colombo Fashion Week is a designer development platform, training and equipping designers with the know-how on all aspects of the fashion industry, from fabric and textile development, to honing craft and technique, input on intellectual properties, retail programs, guidance on branding, marketing and public relations for the local and international markets. Over 85% of Sri Lankan designers are the product of this developmental system. Over the past 17 years, CFW has stayed consistent with its vision and is known as one of the most important fashion platforms in South Asia. Today, CFW remains a development platform with an evolved look and relevant solutions.

On its journey of developing fashion in Sri Lanka, Colombo Fashion Week has formed strategic partnerships with Sri Lanka’s leading and like-minded brands. HSBC was the Title Partner; Shangri-La Hotel Colombo was the Official Hospitality Partner; Hilton Colombo was the Official Host Hotel, Vogue Jewellers as the Official Jewellery Partner; Vision Care as the Official Eyewear Partner; Hameedia; Ramani Fernando as Official Hair and Make-up Partner; Emerging Media as the Outdoor Digital Media Partner; and Media Factory as the Official PR Partner. All of these entities shared and extended their support towards the vision and aspirations of Colombo Fashion Week.

For more information on Colombo Fashion Week’s Summer 2020 edition visit the official website Follow Colombo Fashion week on Instagram (@colombofashionweek) and Facebook (@colombofashionweek) for the latest updates, photos, videos and more.