Sri Lanka Design Festival 2010

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The second Sri Lanka Design Festival (SLDF) 2010 is all set to be rolled out on 11th November 2010 continuing till 17th November 2010 in Colombo. The SLDF has been conceptualised by the Academy of Design (AOD), Sri Lanka’s celebrated design campus, in close association with the industry leaders and the government. The event will be held in November this year in Colombo. The theme of this year is Design Difference, encompassing the difference created through creative industries by value addition, poverty relief through employment generation and becoming a major contributor to the National Economy. AOD is organising SLDF 2010 in partnership with the Export Development Board.

Linda Speldewinde, Managing Director of AOD and the Founder of SLDF, commented on the forthcoming festival, “We feel Sri Lanka is ready to make its own unique contribution to the world of fashion and design and we want Sri Lanka Design Festival to facilitate Sri Lanka’s debut to the world of design.” In recently held launches in London, Italy and Paris, Speldewinde reiterated the SLDF philosophy and vision of focussing on all aspects of design taking Sri Lanka forward as a major hub for creative industries. “Ethical fashion will be promoted, providing opportunities for retailers and design enthusiasts seeking such products,” she noted.

The goal of the festival was aptly summed up by SLDF Brand Ambassador Colin McDowell: “It is not always the big people who move things forward, but it is the courageous. Sri Lanka has the courage to show the world what can be achieved and it is uniquely placed to be a leader.”

The concerted effort will focus on specialised training by global leaders in the design sphere through workshops, panel discussions and demonstrations for six areas of design in fashion, jewellery, craft, graphic design and advertising, product design and interior design and architecture. SLDF focusses on many aspects such as the local apparel industry through prestigious international events like the Ethical Fashion Symposium. There will also be the Industry Fashion Show featuring swimwear, lingerie, sportswear and casualwear, depicting the talent and manufacturing excellence of the local apparel industry.

“We are keen to promote craft and other related industries to keep abreast of the changing trends in the global market. There is huge demand and hence scope for special products of proven quality which will ensure returns in foreign exchange and are happy to partner and strongly support SLDF,” explained Janaka Ratnayake, Chairman and Chief Executive of EDB.

A unique highlight of the festival will be an artisan and crafts village, a fusion of traditional crafts and modern design, open throughout the festival. This unique venture was facilitated by the EDB in association with SLDF, in order to promote Sri Lankan craft-based products as high-quality export merchandise The Craft Village will feature traditional crafts along with unique designer craft-based products created through collaborations with international design talent and the expertise of local artisans. This crafts village embodies SLDF’s attempt to revive traditional crafts through contemporary design to create globally competitive products while generating new income methods for Sri Lankan craft communities. The event also features a number of graduate fashion shows and exhibitions, creating an international platform for the young, home-grown creative talent.

SLDF 2010 will play a pivotal role in showcasing Sri Lanka’s design capability while providing much needed business opportunities. Big names in the design and retail circuit will be taking part in SLDF for sourcing, imparting knowledge and promotion. Among them will be Elizabeth Laskar, a renowned international personality in ethical fashion, Orsola De Castro, co-founder and curator of Estethica, the groundbreaking eco-zone at London Fashion Week, and Colin McDowell, SLDF brand ambassador, along with world famous retailers like Topshop, M & S, Warehouse, Asos and Tesco to name a few.

The extensive programme outlined by SLDF 2010 will include fashion shows, exhibitions, talks, presentations, seminars and workshops focussing on key areas in design, ranging from craft workshops focussing on batik techniques, pottery and the revival of age-old and vibrant methods of Sri Lankan crafts, photography workshops and fashion design (most notably the Junky Styling and Recycled Clothes workshops) to graphics and advertising, interior and architecture, and jewellery design with a strong focus on ethical practices. Other highlights will be factory visits and exhibitions which will take place over the course of one week, offering visitors vast opportunities to engage in creative design and explore new possibilities in various design arenas.

Kumar Mirchandani, Chairman, Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association and Executive Committee Member – Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF), stressed, “We are able to offer buyers design too – this has given our industry an edge as we are now able to offer retailers and brands the entire service – from design to delivery. Sri Lanka Apparel supports SLDF 2010 fully, as it focusess on Sri Lanka`s design and product development capability, important elements that will aid the progress of and add value to our fashion manufacturing business."

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