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Sophisticated sustainable elegance from WRAITH

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by Zanita Careem 

Dinesh Chandrasena draws from over 25 years of creative experience internationally in fashion design. At the recently concluded Colombo Fashion Week (CFW) Dinesh’s creative directing of the WRAITH label highlighted the importance of sustainable fashion, at a time when the emphasis is on responsible professionalism. I sat down with Dinesh to ask a few questions.

 Q. Dinesh tell me about the concept behind the latest WRAITH collection

A. In keeping with the responsible creativity theme set by the CFW team, Chethiya and I worked on maintaining sustainable creativity. Choosing the theme of ‘Kintsukuroi’, the Japanese concept that even something damaged and broken can be beautiful, we worked on fluid silhouettes using bamboo fabrics in natural and black, highlighted with artisanal hand craftsmanship. For us staying true to the brief is very important rather than simply using non-sustainable fabrics and trims just for runway effect. 

 Q. Tell Me about the hand craftsmanship

A. 

Since Kintsukuroi is exemplified by broken and repaired porcelain, we used porcelain discards, and shaped the pieces into shards that could accent the embroidery. Many places have packing string in jute which is discarded, and we wanted to use this to create the ‘fractured’ embroidery motifs. I worked with a very talented designer Panchali Liyanawaduge for the embellishments, and her impeccable skills reflected in the finished products. Within our theme and the areas of responsible design we wanted to stay away from the predictable embellishments of sequins, and beads etc. which are unfortunately over-done in collections. For accessories we had brushed gold jewellery in varying organic shapes provided by Gem Atelier perfectly complimenting the timeless aspect of the collection.  

 Q. What plans do you have for this collection

A. 

We are very proud of this capsule collection, and are looking forward to showcasing more. I think for us it was wonderful to show that design does not need to be over complicated to be beautiful. I believe in the timeless quality of fashion, and staying away from ‘fast fashion’. The silhouettes we created could be mixed and matched, and re-invented in many ways. This is something we want to highlight in our designs.

 

Q. You spoke about the sustainable fabrics and trims You used and sustainable fashion is making headlines all over the world, do You see necessary progress in Sri Lanka?

A.

It is actually a movement in sustainability that is a global movement where fashion is only a segment. Every aspect of human existence has been re-formulated and is being re-structured to make sure that the impact on the environment and negative impacts are minimized. In Sri Lanka also We see this movement building greater momentum and it is wonderful that CFW is adding focus to this as well. It is all progressive.

Q. You are also involved in design education, how important is education in a design career?

A.

Very important! However wonderfully instinctive and creative one might be, the formal education adds finesse that is invaluable. From the basics of sketching, understanding the history of design, learning how to creative a cohesive collection, through to understanding textile technology, education adds a level of professionalism that is value addition to anyone’s design career.

Pix – Courtesy– Fashion Week

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Eating right and playing well

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Optimum performance in competitive sports depends on multiple factors and ‘guided diets’ play a decisive role if sportsmen and women are to shine in the international sports arena says, Dr. Ranil Jayawardena, Senior Lecturer and Consultant Clinical Nutritionist from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo and Visiting Fellow at the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology, Australia, in an interview with the Sunday Island.

by Randima Attygalle

While training is crucial in competitive sports, along with the sport culture of a particular nation, additional support both mentally and physically shape an international sports star. Added to this are sports psychology, injury prevention recovering support and proper nutrition. “Unlike when indulging in leisure sports, competitive sports demand sophisticated meal patterns and proper supplements for best results which include quick recovery, injury prevention, weight management and general health and wellbeing,” says Dr. Ranil Jayawardena.

In the absence of specialized ‘sports nutritionists’ here at home, many naturally rely on the advice of their ‘seniors’ or online material. “However, each individual requires a personalized dietary schedule depending on his/her socio-economic circumstances, training schedule, body weight, age, gender and the event calendar. For example what a gymnast requires is very different to what a marathon runner needs,” says the Specialist who goes onto add that there is no one diet or supplement for everyone. “One simply cannot generalize advice,” he reiterates.

Getting one’s hydration right is one of the easiest and cheapest nutritional strategies to optimize performance, yet Dr. Jayawardena says it is still one of the commonly overlooked factors by sportsmen. “Hydration is essential for both physical and mental faculties and this involves pre-hydration, during hydration and post-hydration.” Properly corrected Oral Rehydration Solutions such as Jeevani or fruit juices with salt and sugar are recommended here. “One doesn’t need expensive readymade isotonic formulas for proper hydration,” points out Dr. Jayawardena who explains further that sportsmen and women indulging in intense training must monitor their pre and post training body weight to estimate the water loss which needs to be corrected accordingly. “Your urine colour is an indicator of the hydration status. If it is dark, you are still dehydrated. One kilo of body weight loss after a training session represents a need for 1.5 ltr of fluid to be replaced.”

What is traditionally accepted as healthy food may not work for those doing intense sports, notes the Nutritionist. “The body derives energy from carbohydrates, hence choosing the correct carbs is vital for best performance. For instance a pre-training lunch of unpolished rice, high fat meats and fibre-rich vegetables such as dark green vegetables can go against an athlete. These meals reduce the rate of absorption of carbohydrates. Abdominal cramps while exercising are often the results of unabsorbed foods in the gut.”

If a training session exceeds one hour, intermediate carbohydrate-rich food is recommended and post training meal too should contain right carbs to enhance recovering, Dr. Jayawardena explains. “While a simple breakfast of bread, jam and banana is recommended for pre-training breakfast, a lunch of white rice, dhal, eggs/chicken/fish without leafy vegetables is recommended for lunch followed by a sweetened fruit juice, banana, a bun or crackers after training for recovery. While vegetables rich in fibre are discouraged for pre-training lunch since they take time to digest, they are recommended for dinner or four hours before a training session.”

Proteins, as the Specialist remarks, are the ‘building blocks for muscle growth and repair.’ A constant breakdown and regeneration of muscle tissue occurs every day which needs to be fuelled by the dietary intake of protein. Although protein requirement depends on body weight, gender, sport etc, an average sportsman needs 1.2-2.0g protein per kilogram of body weight. However, not all proteins are the same, warns the Nutritionist. “While some proteins are of high quality with all essential amino acids, others are not so.”

Protein intake should also be distributed throughout the day instead of being ‘loaded’ with it only at night. “While meats, poultry, fish, eggs are rich in proteins, pulses and nuts have a high level of carbohydrates and fat contrary to the common belief that they have a high concentration of proteins,” points out Dr. Jayawardena.

For competitive sportsmen and women, supplements are essential says the Nutritionist. These supplements however should be carefully selected on proper guidance either by a nutritionist or a sports physician, as some may contain banned substances for which they are tested nationally and internationally, he says. An overdose of them could also result in weight gain. “There are very safe Protein supplements including Whey protein, Casine protein, BCAA proteins, Amino acids capsules etc. If they select the correct product, they can be used to supplement and achieve daily protein requirements and help build muscle mass necessary for performance.” Reputed brands and reputed suppliers of the supplements are keys to safety, he adds.

The supplements as Dr. Jayawardena explains, should be gradually introduced to a budding sportsman or woman, starting with very basic ones around the age of 16. “We don’t prescribe them at a very young age as this will impede their increase in performance at a more mature level. However, multi-vitamin mineral and iron supplements (latter especially for menstruating girls) are recommended depending on the individual requirement.” Vitamin D supplements are often recommended for those involved in indoor training (ex: squash, badminton, table tennis etc) to improve both bone and muscle health. “The urban Sri Lankan population is reported to be having Vitamin D deficiency as their exposure to the morning sunlight is minimum unlike the agrarian community of the country.”

He also warns of high doses of vitamin supplementations. “Very often we see them taking several multi-vitamins as well as high doses vitamins in isolation. Vitamin E is commonly abused since is no recognized deficiencies”

For vegetarians and vegans, pursuing an intense training sport could be a tough journey, observes Dr. Jayawardena. “Since their natural intake of proteins is very low, such people will have to rely on a very high intake of quality protein supplements. Maintaining body weight could also become challenging for vegetarians who tend to be partial to milk, curd, paneer and tofu rich in fat.”

Fats from healthy sources such Omega 3 which is found in oily fish is highly recommended for those pursuing competitive sports. Moreover, Monounsaturated fatty acids are healthier compared to saturated fats. “Olive, avocado are also recommended provided there are no concerns about the body weight,” explains Dr. Jayawardena who urges to watch all fat types as they all contain a certain amount of calories.

Understanding what and when to eat on a daily basis will have a huge impact on performance, mood, sleep, health and energy levels which should never be underestimated, says the specialist. Adding a variety of fruits and vegetables to the daily diet (at least two fruits and three vegetables per day) and two dairy products is essential.

Dr. Jayawardena, with his global exposure to sports nutrition, lobbies for both academic and professional intervention in this field locally. Voicing his concerns over the lack of ‘sports nutrition education’ in the country Dr. Jayawardena remarks: “it is still not part of our local medical curriculum. We only deliver it as a voluntary module which should not be the case,” Citing the Australian experience of a qualified sports nutrition education system complete with exercise physiologist, sports nutritionists and sports psychologists, he calls for intervention at national level at a time when the demand for such professionals is overwhelming to take the Sri Lankan sporting talent to the next level.

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Epitome of ocean paradise

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Villa Sielen Diva

“I had the good opportunity to spend 24 hrs at this property, owing to my work. And I must admit it’s one of the most idyllic places I’ve been to. Whether it’s the sea view rooms (each room here is designed in a way to maximise sea view), the amazing sea food, the absolutely hospitable staff, if you’re looking for a quick getaway that brings you closer to nature and experience a slice of peace, Villa Sielen Diva comes highly recommended.”

by zanita careem

Bejewelled with swaying palms, carpeted in white sand, Villa Sielen Diva, is located on the scenic coastline of Sri Lanka, Thalpe, a short drive from the tourist hotspot Galle Fort. The name ‘Sielen’ is derived from Serendivis as Romans called it and by Arabs as Serendib and the Greeks called it Sielen Diva or Seilddiba.

This spacious and luxurious villa has a tasteful artistic décor, a tranquil atmosphere and a stunning seaview, Sielen Diva is a seven-bedroom hotel offering travellers an idyllic beach escape, spenting time on whale watching in Mirissa to sightseeing in Galle. Apart from the splendid view, the statue of Lord Ganesh at the entrance is impressive and leaves one entranced, enveloped in positive vibes.

Sleek architecture, contemporary furnishing and Asian art collection adorning the walls, invite guests to experience total transformation. The serenity, the myriad colours of the sea, with nature around the hotel, above all the tremendous hospitality of the staff, all make up for a truly unforgettable and delightful stay.

This is an ideal getaway from your busy life and to reconnect with nature. Villa Sielen Diva embodies the very essence of Lankan hospitality and the concept of a home feeling can be felt and seen throughout.

What makes it so special

? A sense of space and connection to nature were key elements in the design concept. This was the vision of the owner V. Kumar and his family, each of them played a major role in designing–from the soft furnishings to the unique décor dotted around the villa. This rectangular shaped Villa Sielen Diva has seven bedrooms of which two are suites.

Each named after various Sri Lankan animals, the rooms are spacious and com fortable.. The large bathrooms are equipped with luxury amenities. In each room, the beds are positioned to get a full view of the splendid ocean. The two suites Eli Kunji and Aluya are positioned in such a way to secure maximum privacy. The suites are very spacious and their interior blends very well with the ocean around. Monara, Mora, Mayil, Musikaya and Yanai are all stylishs bedrooms, located on the first floor.

There is an infinity pool, games room, sunset terrace, large lawns and direct access to Mihiripana beach. There is a spa for the weary traveller.

“In our bid to deliver authentic undiluted experiences we’ve introduced unique home style dining experience said the chef”

Always prepaid with a local touch, thier menu ensures both eastern and western cuisine, They pride themselves in using fresh ingredients and vegetables sourced locally. “We pluck our vegetables from our garden whenever possible,” said the GM. “We use the freshest of fish, buying straight off the boats. The cuisine on offer can be also catered to the client’s taste. Visit their website www.sielendiva.com and check out for more details. I simply want to emphasize the fact that the management and staff of this property are bound to treat their guests like royalty and ensure that they enjoy an unforgettable experience. Villa Sielen Diva is truly a magical feeling that evokes your innermost emotions!

Weddings

With its open spaces, luxurious decor and spectacular location right on the beach, Sielen Diva is the ideal location for a wedding, large or intimate, traditional or contemporary event. Our staff have the expertise and knowledge to help create the wedding of your dreams. ,Weddings are special day for everybody you would feel honoured if you made Sielen Diva your wedding venue.

What others have to say

Executive retreats

Given its convenient location but “away from it all” feel, professionals can step out of the board room and into a space where privacy, luxury and personalised service are all parts of the Sielen Diva experience. With a number of meeting spaces, breakout areas, and inspiring views, Executives will be able to regroup and recharge with the staff on hand to cater to their needs.

Excellence at the highest level

“You need to stay here! We’ve had the privilege of staying at some of the top resorts in the world voted by conde nast. This 7-bedroom villa is absolutely at the top of our list for excellence in all categories. The room aesthetic, cleanliness, friendly staff, incredible food, perfect ocean views all make this villa world class.” Courtesy– Hotel Sielen Diva

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A Pond, a rock and a view

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by Christina Vidanagamage

The North Central province of Sri Lanka is part of what is called the Dry Zone but a reputed lecturer and the dean of the University of Rajarata said that it should be known as the “Waevu baendi rajyaya” (the kingdom where reservoirs were built). Of course the word ‘reservoir’ doesn’t exactly capture everything associated with ‘weva’ because the latter is not just a body of water but part of a socio-economic-ecological system. What’s important is that the extensive and sophisticated irrigation systems has made it too wet to be called ‘Dry Zone.’

Anuradhapura is about heritage, religion and culture. The Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya, the Ruwanweliseya and innumerable other venerated sites indicate that it is the heart of Buddhism in the island. These are archaeologically significant but they constitute living heritage for people still visit and worship.

“Kalu diya pokuna” (black water pond) in Mihintale, during a recent visit, was like a historical filter keeping away everything that was familiar. As I walked through the mighty stone entrance just as dawn was breaking it was as though I was entering a different era.

The surroundings fascinated me. It was a monastic complex made for the saffron robe. The ruins gave out the vibe of a grandiose history. Around the pond there were ruins of what could have been a place of residence for meditating bikkhus, who may have been arahats. There was also a stupa with a stone inscription the characters on which, according to the description posted by the Archaeological Department, were hard to decipher. The presence of life overpowered me. It was not only a pond I saw but an entire habitat of civilization long gone. I was enliven by the architecture and the designs related to the ancient hydraulic system. I felt the strength and the sweat of a people who built the place upon the orders of the king.

I imagined the bikkhus walking slowly along the paths meditating or going about their diurnal routines with the soft music of the gathas being chanted during a Buddha poojawa. The black water pond certainly reflected the shadows of the past at that moment. It was a place of tranquility.

About an hour and a half from Kalu Diya Pokuna is a different kind of monastery belonging to a different time. Buddhungala Raja Maha Viharaya, a few kilometers off Padaviya is also a place of pure serenity, but of a different kind. It had also been home to bikkhus in centuries gone by.

The rock formations are spectacular and so too the views from the top of the hill where the ruins are. Typical of such places, slight depressions made for small seasonal rock pools, referred to as kemas. There had been rain so these kemas of varying size had frogs, dried leaves and moss. The villagers claim that various creatures big and small, elephants included, slake their thirst in these kemas.

The quaint belfry, rising against several formidable boulders, stood like a sentinel, a relatively modern construction loo0king upon things from an ancient time.

Upon the adjacent rock there was a boulder of very interesting shape. From one angle it looked like a perfect square but poised upon one of the four points. It seemed it could roll over any moment.

There was a moment of stillness and silence. A moment for the imagination to do its work.

I heard the sound of the bell. I saw bikkhus walking down the stone stairway, each cradling a paththaraya.

Such places do this to us. They take us back to a different time. We duly imagine even though what we imagine could be very different from what was actually there then.

There are monasteries hidden deep in wild places, far away from the blare of the traffic and bustling towns. The greenery surroundings, the open skies, the emptiness upon the rock formations invite us to mediate and help us focus.

Of course the time of day is important because amount and angle of light gives different colors at times. What one sees at dawn, one might miss at noon and something that stands out for attention at noon could be passed over unnoticed in the early morning light. For example, there is something mystical about Kalu Diya Pokuna at all times of day, but there’s some addition mystery that envelopes the place at dawn.

These are not places for hurried visits. One has to allow the physical surroundings and historical remains to present themselves in their own pace. There are also seemingly insurmountable heights which can be reached if one is prepared to make the effort and look for the right path.

The view will mesmerize. The surroundings will engulf. One visits a place expecting certain things, for example a splendid view. And yet one comes away having been even more impressed by a simple belfry silhouetted against an evening sky or the reflection of tress and bits of cloud in conversation with the dead leaves at the bottom of a kema.

Photo credits @ Tharindu Amunugama

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