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Seeing world thro’ art

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by Zanita Careem

Raffealla (an internationally recognized photographer) believes art is how you want to see the world. Passionate about art since her school days in St. Bridget’s Convent Colombo, Raffaella Fernando was a woman who always wanted ‘to do something unique and create art with her innovative ideas. She said with pride “From a my young age, my paintings and art were extraordinary, and nothing could stop me once I received a camera as a gift from my father.’ With a motivation to pursue a career of my own, I started photography and designing and reached success at a very young age due to my creative talent and enthusiasm.

Raffealla Fernando Photography is Raffaella’s photography brand, under which her most popular brand, the Raffealla Fernando Celebrity Calendar (RFCC). RFCC has been annually published, featuring multiple celebrities across Sri Lanka. Raffealla has been closely working with an interesting team of celebrities while collaborating with makeup artists, designers, etc. Her luxury designer brand is known as ‘Raffealla’, which she claims to define herself the most, and her more affordable designer brand is ‘Mermaidish’. She has also collaborated with a few other designers while contributing to the above brands.

A highlight of her career was when she became the “Best Fashion Photographer of the Year” at the 5th International Achievers Award 2017 London out of 310 contestants across the globe. She has also made us proud with her World Ranking of the 8th best photographer of the world, competing with 150 other photographers at the BEFTA Awards UK. Another wonderful milestone of her career life is being invited to design for the 69th and 71st Cannes Film Festivals where she could showcase her talent to the world as the first Sri Lankan designer of all. Raffealla also showcased in the London Fashion Week, where her designs were cherished among all. She also reminisces the opportunity she got to showcase one of her collections to the Prince Charles Charity Trust 41st Anniversary as well as becoming a finalist on the New York Fashion Week, bringing pride to Sri Lanka.

 

Can you tell us about yourself and how you got into photography?

Fashion designing came first, I started off as a fashion designer and after three years I started my journey as a fashion photographer. I was very much passionate about photography since I was a school girl, I was part of the school photographic society and has also won few interschool photography competitions. When I was about 14 years old I won an Art competition and my father asked me what I need as a gift and I said I want a camera, I still remember my first camera was the F25 lumix SLR camera, my passion and interest grew from there and gradually I found the interest for fashion photography through my fashion background.

How do you describe your individual style?

I have dark twist to my style, not particularly a signature look but I like more black so I mix black with all most all my clothes. I try a lot of looks, makeup and hair styles, I am person who explores and experiment a lot with style and fashion.

When comes to my Photography I have conceptualized style, I love to tell stories I also look at myself as story teller sometimes because a lot of thinking goes into my thought process when it comes to my concept shoots.

To summarize it’s dark, conceptualized and creative.

How do account for your fearless approach to the fashion world?

I’ve always been myself and I let it flow seamlessly. Fashion industry in the only place I always wanted to work since I started dreaming from a right mind. I don’t know if it was fearless because I was very young when I entered the Industry, the excitement was way much that all I can remember is that I worked very hard to do new things in the industry also to have my own place and stay.

As an award winning photographer? What is your first preference?

Fashion photography.

It’s very hard to pick from both because I started as a designer and then got in to Photography. But if I speak honestly I love taking photographs more because I get to create a whole new different world through creative eyes.

What made you to name your brand Raffealla?

I think my name itself does the best branding for me , that’s why I using my name as my brand name as well…. I grew up disliking my name so much thinking it is so different and now I think it works in my favour. Also I have a fond memory with my grandmother who is no more with us, she named me Raffealla and I used to ask her ” why did you name me Raffealla , it’s such an ugly name ” and she use to always tell me ” no its such a unique name, thank me later when you grow up “

Why did you change your career from film direction and journalism?

Well I’m very new to film direction, at the moment I’m planning on my very first film direction and that is something I’m really looking forward to.

I started to work as a fashion journalist at the age of 18 I continued for five years and gradually and sadly I had to stop because I couldn’t find the time to continue.

Actually didn’t change but my direction from it I changed my direction towards it.

Do you have any signature styles?

Not particularly but creating concepts and stories are more of my style and kind of work.

Difference between art photography and fashion photography?

I would like to call both “art” , but there is a whole world of difference between conceptualized photography and fashion photography, because it’s so different to each of the style

In fashion photography we always want to keep it trendy,fashionable , styling and what we always highlight is the fashion, but in conceptualized photography we highlight the concept, the story, the expressions it’s the soul of the concept we try to highlight. Art Photography is more of an abstract style.

What are your plans for this year with the endemic spreading?

Fashion photography is an incredibly

competitive niche .

What steps you have taken to be above the rest

Consistency is definitely the key of success, as women we sometimes have to work as twice as hard as a man, it is a good thing I am not complaining about it because it helps us a lot to grow. So I always feel consistency is the key just be consistent and do what you do, continue even when you fall and fail. It is a beautiful industry to work , of course like any other industry we do have a different side , it is very competitive like you said and cut throat. I try to be constant as much as I can, do new projects, explore and experiment with myself and I do a lot of work on me to make myself a better and a fuller artist.

What according to you is fashion?

Fashion is the form of clothing, accessories, and furniture. It can be used by everyone. It is related to culture,

style is such a personal thing it does not change with seasons, for example, Micheal jackson , queen etc they had such unique styles.

The above was the technical part of fashion and style, for me fashion is a language, helps to understand people and also feelings. If you are happy you dress well and when you aren’t you dress down and bad sometimes.

What do feel most challenging/interesting?

Every single working day is challenging and interesting especially these days as we all push more to create, we work a lot on the virtual platforms and I find it the most interesting.

Like last year I conducted Sri lankas very first solo virtual photography exhibition, we launched it online during the second lockdown period. I found it interesting how we make use of platform we previously didn’t consider.

What do you think are the most important traits a fashion model should have?

Understanding fashion, light and camera. A conscious mind of movement to move with the camera and lights, I appreciate a lot when models listen.

A little bit on jewellery designing

I have a higher national diploma in Jewellery designing and something I always enjoyed applying for my designs and styling. I create a lot of jewellery with throwing away material and create recycle and upcycled jewellery for my collections.



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Fashion

Black dress-versatatile and timeless

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The little black dress plays such a starring role in our wardrobes that it has its own special designation: the LBD.  Vogue’s Hamish Bowles takes us through its history, decade by decade, from Coco Chanel to Cushnie on black dress.

It’s Mademoiselle Chanel who is credited with popularizing the look and, in doing so, making the colour black, previously worn only when in mourning or to express piety (as in ecclesiastical garb), fashionable. In 1926 Vogue dubbed a drawing of one of her snappy, drop-waisted LBDs, “The Chanel ‘Ford’—the frock that all the world will wear.”

They did, and do—men have recently gotten in on the game—though not all carry the Chanel label. In the 1950s, Christian Dior defined the look of the LBD: full-skirted and wasp-waisted. The little black dress Hubert de Givenchy designed for Audrey Hepburn in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s is as representative of the early 1960s as Yves Saint Laurent’s sheer, feather-trimmed number of the latter part of that iconoclastic decade.

Cocktail dresses and LBDs, which are defined by their short(ish) length, are often one and the same. One of the reasons neither will ever go out of style is that there are myriad ways to play “mixologist” with the spare, neat LBD to give it just the kick you want. Cheers!

The little black dress plays such a starring role in our wardrobes that it has its own special designation: the LBD.

In 1926 Vogue dubbed a drawing of one of her snappy, drop-waisted LBDs, “The Chanel ‘Ford’—the frock that all the world will wear.”

From the moment Coco Chanel presented it to the world in the 1920s, the eternal dress became a canvas that almost every designer wanted to weave something of their own into. Although it has moved away from its basic principles, the little black dress has retained the same charm and the same note of seductiveness it once had, and new variations, as with every season so far, also graced the runways in the fall/winter 2024 collections.

Ultra-short models shone on the runways from Tom Ford, Schiaparelli, Givenchy, Giambattista Valli to Ferragamo, as well as many others, proving once again that the little black dress is a garment that will function in every collection and that will, ultimately, also surely be worn. Although the models of these fashion names differ and each has brought their own vision to the iconic dress, what they have in common is that they all serve as a good reminder that the charm of the little black dress does not fade and that we will always return to it, precisely because it is so timeless and versatile.

From the moment Coco Chanel presented it to the world in the 1920s, the eternal dress became a canvas that almost every designer wanted to weave something of their own into. Although it has moved away from its basic principles, the little black dress has retained the same charm and the same note of seductiveness it once had, and new variations, as with every season so far, also graced the runways in the fall/winter 2024 collections.

Ultra-short models shone on the runways from Tom Ford, Schiaparelli, Givenchy, Giambattista Valli to Ferragamo, as well as many others, proving once again that the little black dress is a garment that will function in every collection and that will, ultimately, also surely be worn.

Although the models of these fashion names differ and each has brought their own vision to the iconic dress, what they have in common is that they all serve as a good reminder that the charm of the little black dress does not fade and that we will always return to it, precisely because it is so timeless and versatile.

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Fashion

Groundbreaking new collection from Vegan fabric

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At a very young age Thushani Rodrigo discovered her love for fashion. An entrepreneur and a fashion designer, she loves to create clothes and garments for people to wear with pride.

Sri Lanka’s fashion landscape is about to experience a transformative shift as Thushani Rodrigo, the visionary founder of Todos, introduces Bliss in Paradise her latest collection with the inspiring ethos, “Wrap Yourself in Kindness.” Under the theme “Fashioning Tomorrow,” Thushani’s collection invites individuals to embrace Vegan Silk as a symbol of kindness towards animals and the environment.

The ethos “Wrap Yourself in Kindness” embodies the essence of Thushani’s collection, emphasizing the importance of compassion and sustainability in fashion. Through the use of Vegan Silk, derived from eco-friendly plant sources, Thushani encourages individuals to adopt a lifestyle of kindness towards animals and the planet.

Despite facing a hearing impairment, Thushani Rodrigo’s passion and determination have propelled her to remarkable heights in the world of fashion. At the age of 16, she earned her Diploma in-Dress Making from Singer School, laying the foundation for her entrepreneurial journey.

Today, Thushani stands as a beacon of innovation and sustainability in the fashion landscape. Her latest venture, which will be retailed at Cotton Collection underscores he- unwavering commitment to ethical fashion practices and environmental responsibility.

Vegan silk, also known as “plant-based silk” or “cruelty-free silk,” serves as the cornerstone of Thushani’s groundbreaking collection. Derived from sustainable plant sources, Vegan Fabric offers a sustainable and animal-friendly alternative to traditional silk.

Thushani’s designs, meticulously crafted from Vegan Fabric, embrace the female form while seamlessly blending sensuousness with practicality.

The launch of Thushani Rodrigo’s Vegan Fabric Collection with Cotton Collection heralds a new era of sustainable fashion in Sri Lanka. By embracing cruelty-free materials and ethical production practices, Thushani paves the way for a more conscious and compassionate fashion industry.

Join us in celebrating this monumental milestone in sustainable fashion as Thushani Rodrigo and Cotton Collection redefine the future of style with their innovative Vegan Fabric Collection.

For media inquiries, please contact: Ruwanthi Rodrigo 0777660477

Pix by Thushara Attapathu

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Life style

Anger has been linked to heart disease

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Doctor checks a patient's blood pressure, one factor in determining risk for heart disease

A new study suggests why

A study funded by the National Institutes of Health found a link between frequent anger and problems with blood vessels.The phrase “anger kills” might have a more literal meaning: New research suggests a possible reason frequent anger has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The study, published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association, emphasizes the potential health risks associated with intense anger and illuminates the influence of negative emotions on our overall well-being.

Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the study involved 280 healthy adults who were randomly assigned to a different eight-minute task, each designed to elicit feelings of anger, anxiety, sadness or neutrality. Before and after these emotional tasks, researchers assessed the participants’ endothelial health. Endothelial cells, which line the insides of blood vessels, are essential for maintaining vessel integrity and are vital for proper circulation and cardiovascular health.

The findings revealed that anger had a significant negative impact on endothelial function, limiting the blood vessels’ ability to dilate. The response was not as pronounced with anxiety or sadness.

According to Daichi Shimbo, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the lead study author, this research marks a step toward understanding how different negative emotions particularly affect physical health.

“It’s fascinating that anxiety and sadness did not have the same effect as anger, suggesting that the ways in which negative emotions contribute to heart disease differ,” Shimbo said.

The research team chose to study healthy individuals to avoid the confounding effects of chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, which can compromise vascular function. Shimbo noted that if participants had such conditions, they already could have affected blood vessels and it would be difficult to determine the effect of emotions alone on vascular health.

Brian Choi, a cardiologist and professor of medicine and radiology at George Washington University, said findings like these could prompt health-care providers to investigate therapies such as anger management to see if they could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

“We often hear of someone suffering a heart attack during a highly distressing event. We’ve known that stress from anger can trigger a heart attack, but we didn’t understand why until this study, which elucidates the underlying mechanism,” Choi said. Shimbo says he wants to delve further into the reasons anger detrimentally affects the heart, considering whether the cause is related to the sympathetic nervous response (the body’s alert system) or inflammation.

David Spiegel, an associate chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, said cases of mental illness, including depression and anxiety, have shot up in the past few years, with an estimated 31 percent of Americans reporting some sort of anxiety at some point in their lives. Anxiety and depression can often be expressed as anger.

He adds that while anger is a normal emotion, constant feelings of anger not only have long-term impacts on an individual — they can also impact others around them.

“The concern is that when people are angry all the time, they kind of have their foot on the accelerator and the brake. … So anger has its body costs,” Spiegel said. “It’s not only the person you’re angry at who pays the price when you’re angry, your body pays the price for it.”

Common treatments for anger management typically include cognitive-behavioral therapy, relaxation techniques, stress management strategies and communication skills training. (NYT)

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