Colombo Fashion Week is probably Sri Lanka’s biggest fashion event and is one of the three main fashion shows in Asia that’s more than a decade old. Besides the fact that it’s also a series of happening social events, it’s also a lot of fun if you love fashion, and makes for an interesting glimpse into the glamorous and creative world of local design.
The CFW happens in two seasons a year – February-March and September-October. This year it’s from the 11th to the 14th of March, at the Hilton Hotel. We went for the Bright Spark show on the 11th, which featured the works of young designers who are tutored on the inner workings of Fashion Week as they are guided by the CFW team.
This year the event is at the Hilton poolside, so it’s pretty beautiful at night all lit-up. It gets humid though and there’s nothing to do about that, so heads up – those in saris and silk will suffer the humidity the most, and bring your own hand-fan.
The CFW is probably the most Oscars-ish thing we’ve got going in Colombo. You’ll see some of Colombo’s most fashionable and most beautiful at the events, and a few local celebs, so it’s a fun place for people watching. Some folks at the Bright Spark show arrived in classic evening dresses, while there were the more daring, like the guy we saw in a floral shirt and boxing shorts. So if you like dressing up fabulously and showing off your unique sense of style, the Colombo Fashion Week is when to do it.
We haven’t attended the actual Fashion Week – that’s happening in the next three days, and includes both local and international fashion designers, including Dimuthu Sahabandu, Upeksha Hager and Lars Andersson. The Bright Spark show that we attended was however like a little preview of the action you can expect at the final show.
Not having been to a CFW event before, but having an interest in fashion and design – I found it extremely entertaining. We saw everything from swim wear to flowy evening dresses to wilder conceptual designs, and all of it was creative and new. Even if you’re not fashion conscious and you’re just an artist or an architect (some of the Bright Spark designers had backgrounds in other creative fields), the show may interest you.
Also, on a side note, all the great looking Sri Lankan people who have clearly been in hiding all this time show themselves at the CFW, so there’s that.
My personal favourites from the show were designs by Hasara Kulatunga and Vishan Gunawardana; Kasun Gunawardana bagged the Bright Spark Fashion Design Fund with his minimalistic, practical designs.
Here are a couple more moments from the show.
Tickets & Updates
If you’re new to the CFW, stay tuned on their website, it’s well updated and has useful information. The main show is unfortunately invites-only, but they’ve got fun events planned out besides like the after-parties and fashion workshops. Visit shopbox to book your tickets in advance, because they get sold out fast (Rs. 1000 – 2500).
Colombo Fashion Week is a great series of events that celebrates local high fashion. If you are an artist or designer yourself, or you just enjoy fashion and dressing up, this is a fun way to spend this weekend.