HSBC CFW announces a new season with a particular focus on societal and environmental well-being


Head table from left: Mihira Kulatunga, Marketing Director of Unilever Skin and Haircare, Ramani Fernando, Founder of Salons Ramani Fernando, President of Wildlife and Nature Protection Society Spencer Manuelpillai, UNFP Representative for Sri Lanka and Country Director Kunle Adeniyi, Shangri-La Managing Director Herve Duboscq, Colombo Ajai Vir Singh, Fashion Week Founder, Mark Surgenor, HSBC CEO, Italian Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Rita Mannella, John Balmond, CEO of South Beach Weligama, and Harsha Maduranga, CEO of Vision Care




  • Emerging Designer Fund, NextGen Award, Responsible Meter, CFW highly anticipated show February 24-26 at Shangri-La Hotel Colombo



By Nazomi Thalpawila

HSBC Colombo Fashion Week (CFW) kicks off a new season next week championing societal and environmental well-being along with several new initiatives reinforcing the meaningful impact it has had for nearly two decades.

Scheduled for February 24-26 at the Shangri-La Hotel Colombo, the 19th CFW has “Green Conscious and Earth Sensitive” as its theme expanding its reach into the new normal environment by developing a series of programs that not only supports emerging designers but also creates a system that allows designers to have sustainability at the heart of their design philosophy.

Organizers said CFW will feature 23 designers who will help revitalize an industry ravaged by the pandemic while emphasizing recycling and reducing carbon emissions.

The roster includes Charini Suriyage, Dimuthu Sahabandu, Sonali Dharmawardena, Amilani Perera, Fouzul Hameed, Indi Yapa Abeywardena, Asanka De Mel, Dinushi Pamunuwa, Kamil Hewavitharana, Achala Leekoh, Himashi Wijeweera, Divya Jayawickrama, Ayesh Wickramaratne and Nilusha Maddumage.

CFW invites three notable South Asian designers to exhibit at HSBC Colombo Fashion Week this year, after a two-year hiatus. The lineup will include renowned Pakistani designer Rizwan Beyg, Woolmark Ward winner Suket Dhir, and Indian designer RimZim Dadu. These designers are also participating in a knowledge exchange initiative with Sri Lankan designers.

CFW throughout its 19 years as an emerging creator program has remained a key CFW initiative. This year, he is expanding that program even further by announcing the HSBC Fashion Fund for high-potential designers presenting at CFW. This fund aims to support designers who need financial assistance to move forward in these difficult times.

The HSBC Emerging Designer Fashion Fund will identify five high-potential young designers through a panel. The names will be announced after evaluation at the end of February. NextGen Award, Responsible Meter and CFW Accelerate are other initiatives.

“Before the launch of CFW, the fashion industry did not have an ecosystem. Since 2003, we have strived to develop and champion the fashion ecosystem as well as sustainability and now we are expanding this with funding opportunities,” CFW Director Fazeena Rajabdeen said at the CFW media launch.

Founder Ajai Vir Singh said CFW as a development organization has systematically created formats that demand transformation across the key pillars that would define a fashion industry. CFW’s mission is to establish, develop and sustain an effective fashion ecosystem that incubates the best of Sri Lankan fashion design.

CFW’s various businesses focus on different aspects of fashion, fashion week platforms, creative events, media, sustainable fashion, educational programs and fashion brands.

This is HSBC’s 15th year as Title Partner of Colombo Fashion Week and during this time this partnership has seen Sri Lanka’s fashion industry grow into an ecosystem that encourages new generations to enter the design industry. To celebrate this milestone, in addition to the HSBC Fashion Fund, HSBC also announced its second collaboration The Responsible Meter which creates a pathway for designers to start a sustainable supply chain.

Mark Surgenor, CEO of HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives, said: “HSBC is delighted to complete its 15th year of supporting this most sought-after showcase of fashion, design and creativity in Sri Lanka. Celebrating our 130th anniversary in Sri Lanka as the premier international bank, we are delighted through our partnership with CFW to be able to continue to support opening up a world of opportunity for our clients, creators and industry. fashion in Sri Lanka.

Responsible Meter is one of the apparel tools that assesses the impact of a designer’s supply chain on environmental and societal well-being. This rating is intended to guide designers and educate consumers about their purchases.

Shangri-La Hotel Colombo, the official host hotel, has partnered with CFW again this season. They relied on strong enduring principles immersed in design perspectives, which allowed them to connect to design platforms. This partnership has grown stronger over the years and shares similar values ​​on environmental responsibility.

Speaking on the partnership, Managing Director of Shangri-La Hotel Colombo and One Galle Face, Herve Duboscq, said: “As we partner with HSBC Colombo Fashion Week for the fifth consecutive year, we are constantly inspired by the values ​​and evolving aesthetics espoused by the event, including this year’s theme – “Green Conscious and Earth Sensitive”, which focuses on mitigating the impact on wildlife diversity and natural landscapes of Sri Lanka.

“Reflecting our own goal of creating colorful moments of joy for our customers in a sustainable way, we are also delighted that this year’s edition of CFW provides a rich showcase for the work of many talented designers, while emphasizing about the ideal meanings embodied by the event,” he added.

This season is the second year that UNFPA has partnered with CFW to bring attention to the sexual and gender-based exploitation of women. The apparel and fashion industry boasts of the participation of healthy women in its supply chain, which makes them important stakeholders. This aspect of societal well-being plays an important role in stopping this exploitation. The designer Amilani Perera integrates this aspect into her collection to show.

The Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) partners with CFW to highlight environmental issues that need attention, February is called Wetland Month because these important ecosystems need attention and preservation. Founded in 1894, the WNPS is the third oldest conservation society in the world and the largest and most active in Sri Lanka.

This season also sees the introduction of the Italy Prize by the Italian Embassy for a talented young designer. The prize also includes a financial award and a scholarship to study fashion at a leading design institute in Milan.

For the first time, CFW is partnering with South Beach Weligama, a design-based development that finds synergy with CFW on the pillars of sustainability, creative lifestyle and trends.

Each day’s hair looks will be featured by Tressemme, Official Hair Care Partner, expert brand and partner of New York Fashion Week.

Vision Care has been the official eyewear partner of Colombo Fashion Week for the past five years. In its role as the premier eye care brand in the country with over 55 branches located across the island, Vision Care is unwavering in its commitment to lead the industry to greater heights.

Another first partnership with CFW, the official make-up partner of the season is Beautybyrosh. An inclusive Australian brand founded by Sri Lankan-born Rosh Kumarasinghe. The brand is cruelty-free, vegan, ethical and sustainable, and strives to create a more inclusive space in the global beauty community.

Ramani Fernando Salons is Sri Lanka’s largest hair and beauty brand with over 40 years of industry experience. Ramani Fernando has been the official hair and makeup partner of Colombo Fashion Week since 2003, and they continue to support CFW in its growth.

Hameedia continues to expand its longstanding affiliation with the CFW and also continues to provide its unwavering commitment to this year’s event.

Emerging Media, a market leader in location-based indoor and outdoor advertising, is our official outdoor digital media partner. Wijeya Newspapers Ltd. is the official partner of the written press.

Media Factory, which began operations in June 2005 and was an instant game-changer for the industry and has continued to do so, is the official media partner.

Hardtalk, a PR agency with over 12 years of experience working with local and international brands, is also partnering with CFW for the first time as the official PR partner of Hard Talk. The official radio partner for this year’s event will be TNL Radio.

Photo by Lasantha Kumara