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Ethical fashion designers from Sri Lanka launch into Europe

4th Aug 2011

Sponsored by M&S, MAS Holdings, SLDF and Reclaimed-To-Wear, Sri Lankan eco fashion designers Charini Suriyage and Kanchana Talpawila, winners of the Sri Lanka Design Festival (SLDF) Ethical Fashion Designer Award 2010, launch their sustainable collections for the first time in London this autumn. Lingerie brand Charini and ready-to-wear women's brand K T Brown, as part of the award prize, worked alongside ethical fashion and business experts from the UK and Sri Lanka to develop collections for the European marketplace.

Drawing from a pool of experience within the ethical fashion sector, the intensive three month mentoring programme gave the designers the opportunity to develop their brand identity and refine their collection signatures. By boosting their business potential and focusing on a sustainable supply chain they are set to have a competitive edge with European buyers this autumn.

"Recognizing, nurturing and launching designers is essential to sustain a healthy fashion industry and as the world increasingly operates as a global village, breaking geographical boundaries is our future. The SLDF Ethical Fashion Designer Award is a bridge, a journey of discovery and cultural intermix, an opportunity for young designers to think of design as a universal language, understood by all."
Orsola de Castro, Founder of award winning eco brand From Somewhere

Luxury eco lingerie brand 'Charini' celebrates exquisite artisanal Beeralu lace through working with community enterprises in Sri Lanka. Charini's S/S 2012 range also focuses on architectural support in design and sets a standard of no elastics, no metals, no underwire and no harmful dying. Wellbeing is at the heart of her working and production ethos. Charini Suriyage will be showcasing her collection at the London Fashion Week Esthetica this September.

Ready-to-wear eco brand 'K. T. Brown' has been inspired by the iconic Sri Lankan artist Ena De Silva and brings the mastery of surface design to work alongside her innovative pattern techniques of using circles as a base for garment structures. K T Brown's vibrant collection also supports sustainable livelihoods, fabrics are sourced locally and all garments are exclusively made by the dedicated team at her studio in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Kanchana Talpawila will be showcasing her collection at PURE London this August.

The mentors who worked alongside the winning designers included, award winning designer Orsola de Castro, Founder of Reclaimed To Wear Filippo Ricci, Claire Hamer from E8ight ethical fashion consultancy, ethical fashion consultant Elizabeth Laskar, Soozie Jenkinson and Paschal Little from M&S, Subramaniam Eassuwaren from Carbon Consulting Company and Ajay Amalean from MAS Holdings Sri Lanka.

“We are proud and delighted to support the SLDF ethical fashion award. We really enjoyed being involved and working with all the designers throughout the mentoring process and congratulateall of them on their excellent work. We were inspired both by their creativity and their original and innovative approach to sustainable design” Head of Innovation and Quality for Lingerie and Beauty, M&S