2017 Graduate Fashion Week in the UK features AOD on its international catwalk for the fourth consecutive year with AOD Designer Thamali Dharmawardena
Amidst the circles of international fashion elite gathered in London this week for the iconic Graduate Fashion Week, Sri Lanka’s name was there again with bold new looks designed, crafted and manufactured in Sri Lanka. Behind this new interest was AOD, Sri Lanka’s dynamic creative nucleus that not only educates and creates outstanding design graduates but also links the innovative potential of design with businesses and local communities. AOD has been invited to show at GFW for four consecutive years now since 2013, and is the only Sri Lankan design school that benefitted from this rare opportunity to show among the world’s finest fashion schools from Paris, New York and Milan and emerging fashion destinations. Continuing to own this world-class positioning in 2017, AOD nominated the promising young designer Thamali Dharmawardene to represent the campus and Sri Lanka, garnering much interest on the local fashion business and talent.
Graduate Fashion Week (GFW) is the world’s premier platform for recognising outstanding fresh designers in fashion and textile design and attracts a powerful audience of star-class designers, fashion editors, critics and global media. GFW is systemised through academic institutions around the world, and offers exclusive positions to be part its coveted runways only to the top rated fashion academia. Although many talented Sri Lankan designers have been part of the London Graduate Fashion Week in the past, they have always represented UK universities like Northumbria, Birmingham university , Northampton and Kingston. AOD remains to be the only Lankan fashion educator at GFW, recognised as an institute leading a uniquely pioneering role in leading the fashion industry of the country to innovate beyond its time. As Sri Lanka continues the campaign to establish itself as a modern fashion destination complete with manufacturing strength, a unique heritage of inspiration and international standard design talent, it becomes important to turn the attention of global fashion towards the unfolding of our fashion scene’s latest developments and talent. This most recent showcase of Lankan talent at the world-renowned Graduate Fashion Week 2017 too, stands as a strong contributor to this emerging new image of the country. As AOD’s Thamali Dharmawardene’s work took to the catwalk wowing the prestigious audience gathered at London, it became evident that Sri Lanka is indeed on its way to becomes Asia’s next big fashion destination.
Thamali, the talented young fashion designer who represented SL under the AOD banner, is a fresh graduate who has a highly unique way of crafting fashion using material and technology available locally. Her collection brought out the best of Sri Lanka’s fashion resources combining low-tech with high-tech fashion manufacturing to provide a great preview for what Sri Lanka has to offer to the global fashion vista. Among meeting with fashion industry in London, Thamali was welcomed by AOD’s 2016 GFW winner Amesh Wijesekara who went on to win the international catwalk category last year. Amesh who lives and works in London. Similarly, Thamali will now be presented with fantastic new opportunities to take her fashion career to the next level, aided by international links presented through both AOD and GFW.
The recognition for AOD’s education at a platform like GFW marks a great instance of taking the Sri Lankan fashion industry’s young blood to the global scene powered with the same currency a UK graduate is equipped with and goes to speak for the quality and the comprehensiveness of UK design education that is being completed at AOD in Sri Lanka. The UK that is recognised as the world creative hub with a thriving creative industry that is delivering in creative and economic terms, is closely followed by Sri Lanka’s creative agenda as a model in its journey to become South Asia’s creative hub.AOD is a pioneering design educator driving and contributing to this vision, and offers UK’s Northumbria University design degrees in completion and with the same excellence, to South Asia.