Tell me a bit about your brand? My label “HIMASHI’ was launched in 2018, and ‘Atelier Himashi’ was established in 2019. We do bridal, occasional and casual-wear clothing. The signature of our garments are the use of handmade beeralu. We aim to create garments with good-quality material, hence making the wearer feel comfortable, confident and beautiful. Currently, we do custom-made and ready-to-wear and also handle bridal projects at our Design Studio in Battaramulla. We retail our collections at The Design Collective Store.
What has been the highlight of your career so far? Winning the ‘Responsible Fashion Award 2018’ which was awarded in recognition as being the most responsible approach to the final year Comprehensive Design Project at the Department of Integrated Design at the University of Moratuwa. This was awarded by the Responsible Fashion Movement of Sri Lanka headed by Mr. Ajai Vir Singh.
What has been your favorite collection so far and why? My first collection which I did for CFW: The Emerging Designer segment in 2018, under the theme “Romantic Modernity.’ It was a collection made entirely out of beeralu and I got to close the show that year.
Name four individuals in Sri Lanka who in your opinion are amongst the Best Dressed? Shane Perera, Nadiya Fernando, Charini Suriyage and Shahili Gomes-McCoy.
Name one person you would like to dress or style? The Duchess of Sussex, Megan Markle.
What's your personal style mantra? Bold Dull Colours. Statement Jewelry. Keep it simple.
One item of clothing you can't live without? Comfortable jersey PJ’s.
What inspires you when you design a new collection? Nature and Music.
What's your next collection for Spring / Summer 2021? “Swirling Twilight” - inspired by the colours of the sky during twilight. This collection consists of very feminine silhouettes.
A Sri Lankan or International designer you admire? Iris Van Herpen
What do you love about being a Fashion Designer? Seeing the smiles on my clients faces.
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be? Invest and launch your Atelier first, Himashi!
What was the biggest rookie mistake you made when just starting out? I’m a very risk averse person, hence I started the journey with brakes on! Hence, thankfully up to now I have zero regrets.
What role do you think social media plays in fashion today? Social media plays a big role in Fashion today. The new generation spends time mostly on social media platforms and they are heavily influenced by content they view online. There are several fashion influencers online creating fashion trends and influencing buying decisions.
How did CFW’s emerging designer development program prepare you for a career as a fashion designer? The CFW emerging designer program provided me with the best platform that you can get in Sri Lanka to start off my label. You get to meet other designers and see their capabilities as well. It helped me connect with a lot of people from this industry in strengthening the foundation of my career.
Elaborate on the mentorship and guidance received through the CFW designer development program. We got the chance to get mentored by the CFW management and senior designers and it really helped to fine tune the collections. We received guidance on our collections, branding and retail as well. It was really good to hear constructive critique from another designer's perspective as towards the end we tend to get wrapped around our own process, unable to think further.
What are some of the challenges you faced as a young designer and how did the guidance from CFW help you overcome these? As a young designer I was a very risk averse person. But CFW always pushed us to break the barriers and take on more risks in developing our collections.
How have you incorporated CFW’s Responsibility In Fashion program and which aspects of the Responsible Meter have you included in your upcoming collection? Yes I have incorporated aspects of the responsible meter into my garments. My label mostly considers social sustainability as im directly working with the crafts community. The declining handicraft of beeralu lace is mostly done by women in the southern coastal line, hence working with them provides them with many employment opportunities.