Sri Lankan Design Talent is taking on one of the biggest international fashion platforms in the world as AOD’s Fashion & Textile Design Graduate Amesh Wijesekera prepares for the International Fashion Showcase at London Fashion Week 2019. Amesh Wijesekera rose to the international limelight soon after graduation by winning the Oracle International Catwalk Competition at London Graduate Fashion Week. He showcased at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Sri Lanka, Fashion Scout in London and then most recently at Berlin Fashion Week. Amesh is predicted to become the first big international fashion star from Sri Lanka and in this exclusive interview, he shares his vision for London Fashion Week and the journey so far.
Can you tell us the story behind your latest selection for the International Fashion Showcase (IFS) at London Fashion Week?
Yes, IFS presents work from the best upand- coming fashion talent from around the world and it is a partnership between the British Council, British Fashion Council, London College of Fashion, UAL and Somerset House. This year, 16 of the world’s best emerging fashion designers have been selected to exhibit for IFS at London Fashion Week; to be one of them is a great honour and I am truly humbled to have been selected.
Tell us how you were selected to exhibit for IFS and what kind of support you had along the way
I received great support from the beginning, and I have to say how grateful I am to British Council Sri Lanka and its Country Director Gill Caldicott for pushing my application through to the UK—for many years, the British Council in Colombo has been instrumental in connecting Sri Lankan talent to London Fashion Week. One of my greatest supporters has been AOD. I’m immensely thankful to AOD’s founder Linda Speldewinde who has been a mentor through and through and the amazing faculty there from Karen Mcleod, Stuart Mcleod to everyone else. And of course, my family and friends have been just incredible to me with their unwavering support.
How has been a Graduate of AOD supported your journey so far?
AOD is where I truly found myself. When I started my fashion design degree I had a head full of ideas but at AOD I learnt the art of expressing them; starting from conceptualization to the final garment I gained the ability to stay true to myself while creating something so out of the ordinary that it challenged pre-conceived notions and really brought out the essence of what I was trying to express. We had an amazing faculty from around the world who really inspired us to achieve our potential. AOD also has great industry connections and this was a crucial factor for me in designing and producing my collections. With AOD’s support I was able to showcase at Mercedes-Benz Fashion runways as well as London Graduate Fashion Week and Berlin Fashion Week. During every instance I had great support from AOD, and I am very grateful for all the opportunities and exposure I have gained as a result.
Tell us a bit more about the IFS and the platform it creates for emerging designers. The showcase itself will include installations from the 16 designers which represent their respective country. The collections will explore politics, sustainability, identity and heritage and show their latest designs in immersive environments. I was also committed to an online programme developed by London College of Fashion, UAL which covered business development aspects from branding to sales to production and sustainability as well as a talent development programme in London. We spent one week at Somerset House Studios supported by a range of extremely talented studio artists and week after we had the opportunity to meet experts from London College of Fashion, UAL and review our business and brand development goals. It was truly an amazing experience and I feel fortunate to be a part of this platform which really pushes young designers to reach their potential.
You mentioned the installations represent each designer’s country. How are you planning on bringing this out with your collection?
Yes! My story for London Fashion Week is about Sri Lanka. I would describe it as colour, texture and more colour! Rich textiles, clashing different elements and bold statements. Something fresh something raw. It is a celebration of new possibilities. The culture, identity, visuals and smells of our country and these surroundings and elements breathe through my work. Heritage and craftsmanship are key aspects of my practise involving indigenous artisans as well as Sri Lanka’s apparel industry and its technologically advanced manufacturing, finishing, printing and bonding methods. This intertwining of traditional crafts with cutting-edge fashion technology was how I portrayed the hallmark qualities that Sri Lanka offers the world. The International Fashion Showcase was established in 2012 as a platform for emerging fashion designers to exhibit their work during London Fashion Week. Bringing cutting edge fashion design to London from around the globe, IFS invites us to explore different cultures and consider current world issues through fashion. To date IFS has showcased more than 600 designers from 70 countries.
International Fashion Showcase at London Fashion Week 2019 will be held from 11th-24th February at Somerset House. For more information on Amesh’s work, or studying Fashion, Fashion Marketing, Visual Communication Design, Interior Design, Motion Graphics & Animation Design get in touch with AOD on 0775727772 or log on to www.aod.lk or visit 29, Lauries Road, Colombo 04.