AOD Talent Behind Graduate Fashion Runway and Showcase at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Sri Lanka

AOD graduate talent positioned as a key component of AOD’s massive fashion agenda for Sri Lanka, presented in collaboration with the apparel and automotive industries at the fashion week

AOD— Sri Lanka’s most dynamic design educator recently presented the country’s first ever international fashion week with Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Sri Lanka. The fashion week was a major initiative presented as a collaboration between AOD, Dimo and the apparel industry represented through Brandix, Hirdaramani and MAS, and unfolded a powerful fashion agenda for the nation. This agenda included strengthening fashion product design and innovation capabilities, sharing fashion and apparel business intelligence as well as nurturing and recognising fashion talent. As part of this, the young and upcoming graduate fashion talent produced by AOD stole the limelight at the Graduate Fashion Runway at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Sri Lanka. Here, thirty six young designers presented an eclectic runway of their graduating capsules, sharing fantastic new innovation in terms of conceptualisation, material technology and aesthetics— as well as incredible fusions between low-tech and high-tech manufacturing, east meets west philosophies and interesting breaking and making of new style rules.

Simultaneously, The Graduate Fashion Showcase which was an international standard curation of the final year graduate work formed an integral part of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, adding an electrifying young energy to the fashion week venue throughout the event. The runway and the showcase collectively featured a series of industry-designer collaborations between young graduates and key companies in the apparel industry and fashion value chain, that also involved traditional textile crafts in innovative new ways. These collaborations were highly praised by international educationalists, opinion leaders and fashion critics present at the event, as a pioneering model of co-creating that bridges design and manufacturing. Among these prestigious fashion elite was the Founder and Creative Director of Fashion Scout— Martyn Roberts. Roberts— who is a world renowned authority in scouting and mentoring young fashion talent— gave AOD fashion graduates a rare opportunity to discuss their work and future in the fashion industry with him as he individually met AOD graduates to discuss their projects, work philosophy and future prospects.

Overall, the runway and showcase were considered pathbreaking events that highlighted the dawn of a new age in the Sri Lankan fashion evolution where industry and graduate talent work together to present new innovation and lead the local textile heritage into the future. The AOD Graduate Fashion Runway and the Graduate Fashion Showcase at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Sri Lanka were held at the Mercedes-Benz Centre of Excellence DIMO 800, and set a new standard for emerging young talent and what they can deliver for Sri Lanka by working in partnership with the industry.

Some of the industry partners who collaborated with young graduate talent included the local apparel industry giants Hirdaramani, MAS Linea Aqua, MAS Fabric, Vogue Tex, MAS Active and Norlanka Manufacturing along with upcoming players in manufacturing such as Sansada, Freudenberg & Vilene International. The fashion value chain leaders Coats Thread and Opti Zips as well as accessory makers and printing innovators such as Anim8, True Digital Printing, Antler Fabric Printing & Colorzone, Design Studio, MRC Embroidery, Screenline Holdings, Sanro Graphics and Lanka Leather Fashion. A new series of industry partners and designer manufacturing entities led by AOD alumni— such as Libanky Holdings also collaborated with young design graduates to present some outstanding pieces on the catwalks of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Sri Lanka.

Leading design educators from Europe who were part of the audience at the runways hailed these graduate-industry collaborations as a unique and highly progressive element in the evolution of the local fashion industry and predicted that such partnerships between business and talent will lead to truly remarkable fashion innovation from Sri Lanka. Along with this unique affinity to work with industry and businesses, the graduates also displayed a deep sensitivity to Sri Lanka’s unique textile heritage by using local crafts such as batik and handloom, embroidery and Dumbara weaving in completely innovative ways that resonated with modern colour trends and aesthetics. These one-of-a-kind pieces were also displayed throughout the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Sri Lanka at the AOD Graduate Fashion Showcase, forming a contemporary fashion exhibition experience for the event visitors.