CFW: 10 years of driving the South Asian Fashion Hub

A journey that started ten years ago has had the maximum impact on the fashion industry of Sri Lanka. The growth from three Sri Lankan fashion designers in 2003 to over 60 Sri Lankan designers applying in 2013 is testimony of the fact that HSBC Colombo Fashion Week in a decade has put Sri Lankan fashion on a pedestal it didn’t have before.


A consistent factor has been its association with the established fashion fraternity of South Asia namely Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and of course the home base of Sri Lanka. It is now popularly known in South Asia as the only true international fashion week in South Asia, with designer representation, which goes beyond South Asia to include five other countries in Asia, Europe, US and Australia.


Singular to its objective of working towards uplifting Sri Lanka’s fashion design industry HSBC CFW has tirelessly worked at creating a platform to groom, showcase and promote Sri Lankan fashion talent in Sri Lanka and internationally. Over the years HSBC Colombo Fashion Week has created reciprocal tie-ups with Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia, Miami Fashion Week, Malaysia Fashion Week, Pakistan Fashion Week and a similar platform in Dubai. These tie-ups have showcased Sri Lankan designers on their main ramp and provided the exposure Sri Lankan talent deserves on the global level.


“Pride in Sri Lankan labels is one of CFW key achievements; in our first few years I realised there was no pride in wearing Sri Lankan labels and look now. By God’s grace nearly every designer that is known in Sri Lanka has found exposure on the CFW platform from Darshi in 2007 to Kanchana KT in 2008 to Sonali to all significant new ones. We are still on our journey,” says Colombo Fashion Week President


In 2012 HSBC Colombo Fashion Week added its second edition RESORT to its SS edition to add credibility to the Sri Lankan fashion industry and expand the scope of its designers and their exposure. This edition is linked directly to the global season to promote its link and create exposure in the global fashion scene and markets. The plan is to create a resort fashion hub in Sri Lanka to promote resort fashion interaction between designers and buyers. This show always takes place at picturesque resort towns.


HSBC Colombo Fashion Week RESORT in its second year has shown a strong increase in the number of Sri Lankan designers showcasing the new season. In 2012 there were four Sri Lankan designers and in 2013 Resort there are 15 Sri Lankan designers showing. This only shows how well the Sri Lankan fashion fraternity has adapted to the new season.


“It is so encouraging to see our efforts and their efforts bearing fruits, from 4 to 15 in one year. This is the first time we had to drop two international designers to accommodate new Sri Lankan designers,” says Ajai


This year also marks a renewed effort by CFW in crafts development and fashion retail. Crafts initiative is not new; it was started in 2007 and fashion retail initiative was started in 2009. A new format has been introduced to make it synergise with the main platform.


The HSBC Colombo Fashion Week Resort show is scheduled to be held on the 5th and 6th at Galle fort and Jetwing Lighthouse hotel.