With more than 30 years of design experience, the name Yolanda Aluwihara has always been synonymous with fashions in Sri Lanka. An icon in the batik industry, she has taken the Sri Lankan batik designs to the world by showcasing her designs on the runway on international platforms like Germany, Italy, Australia, Switzerland among others. Her main aim is to make batiks internationally recognised.
by Zanita Careem
How did you start a career on batik fashion?
Fashion has always been an important part of who I am. As I was good in art and designing I followed a course in Batik and a diploma in scientific dress making. I thereafter started doing it as a hobby.
You are known not only locally but internationally too, what is the secret behind it?
I never dreamt that my label will be a household name in Sri Lanka and in many other parts of the world. It was not an easy journey. Hard work, strong passion and team work brought the Yoland brand to the top of the competitive world in fashion. When I am with my team, it is extremely inspirational as we complement each other and create amazing designs.
What’s your favorite part of the design process?
As I have travelled to many countries with my products and worked with renowned international designers I had the opportunity to learn many techniques. We used to exchange ideas and knowledge. This helped me to incorporate different techniques. The result then is amazing. The feeling of your creation coming to life is inexplicable.
If you were to relate your personality with a specific batik technique or pattern, what would it be?
The technique that best describes my personality is the incorporation of our local tradition of batik making together with a twist which creates my signature look. The Yoland brand name is synonymous with femininity and elegance. It is a perfect harmony of traditional and innovative ideas from the west.
Where do you see batik fashions in the long run.
I am extremely delighted that finally we have a Minister who has been assigned the task of promoting and helping our industry. So I see a very bright future for our artisans. In the near future, Sri Lanka will be well known for batiks and other traditional crafts like in Indonesia.
Last but not least what’s next for Yoland collection?
In the future I would like to bring together my iconic art form with 21st century sensibility. Therefore, I intend making my silhouettes and designs on par with new innovative ideas.
Year, awards and achievements?
Awards and Certificates
INTERNATIONAL AWARDS & CERTIFICATES
1984 – Marble & Bronze Trophy for Export Performance – Barcelona Spain. 1987- American Gold Star for quality – (BID Award) (Business Initiative Directions), 1988 – Diploma Fira de Barcelona Fib ‘88- (Spain), 1988 – Certificate of participation – awarded by The Australian Department, for the Sri Lanka Trade Display at the international Trade Development Centre, Sydney, Australia. 2010 – IIFA –Only person in the apparel industry to represent Sri Lanka. 2011 – Asian Awards, China – Asian Top Fashionable Selling Brand of the Year.
NATIONAL AWARDS AND CERTIFICATES
1993 – Sri Lanka Apparel -best stall display certificate, 1995 – Sri Lanka Apparel Institute certificate of participation, 1997 – Sri Lanka EXPO – certificate of participation, 2000 – Silver Award – The Women’s Chamber of Industry & Commerce, Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, 2001 – SAARC Women’s Exhibition & Trade Fair – Award for best stall display, 2002 – Represented Sri Lanka at “COLOURS OF LANKA” Fashion show in Tokyo, Japan in view of 50th anniversary celebrations of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan & Sri Lanka. 2005 – Pantene Miss Sri Lanka World – Second place awarded for the design & creation of National Costume for Pantene Miss Sri Lanka World 2005 Pageant. 2006 – Sri Lanka Chamber of Small Industry in recognition of Yolanda’s achievements in the Apparel Industry, 2007 – Hair & Beauty fair – certificate for the fashion extravaganza. 2007 – Woman Entrepreneur of the year – Silver Award -2007 Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce, 2007 – Industrial Excellence Award- 2007-Bronze Award by Sri Lanka Chamber of Small & Medium Industry for bringing credit to the nation. 2008 – Industrial Excellence Award – 2008- Awarded by Sri Lanka Chamber of Small & Medium Industry for bringing credit to the nation. 2009 – Industrial Excellence Award — Bronze Award- by Sri Lanka Chamber of Small & Medium Industry for bringing credit to the Nation. 2009 – Certificate of participation presented by President Mahinda Rajapaksha & members of the Seva Vanitha Army Committee. 2010 – In Vogue Style Award 2010, 2010 – HSBC Colombo Fashion Week “Life Time Achievement Award”, 2013 – Gold Award (Large Business Category) Woman Entrepreneur of the Year-2013. Awarded by the Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce (WCIC), 2013 – Gold Award “Winner” Women Entrepreneur of the Year-2013 (Large category) Awarded by the Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce (WCIC), 2014 – 2015-Gold Category Woman Super Achiever – Awarded by Women for Governance professional and Career Women Awards – 201412015.
Mix of nostalgia and modernity among the young
As a fashion studies major,the greatest interest has been seeing how younger generations are slowly changing the fashion world without really noticing. Many fandoms, as well as influencers, have created many important changes in fashion such as starting new trends through popular social media platforms.
Meanwhile how Younger Generations Have Influenced Fashion
Many people have considered that interests brought by younger generations such as fandoms and fashion are two different worlds, that younger generations and fandoms focus a lot on pop culture and other entertainment interests, and that fashion enthusiasts focus on the latest garment and color trends.
However, many don’t really realize how much pop culture, fandoms liked by younger generations have influenced fashion and vice versa simply because there has been a line made to divide these two into two worlds that most likely will never intersect, though this line has slowly disappeared within the most recent years, creating a fashion aesthetic strictly inspired by popular fandoms and pop culture.
Not only that but many people began creating and designing clothing that features strawberry designs inspired by the popular trending dress. This was a huge influence that younger generations have had in the fashion world, but this fashion trend also inspired many anime fandom artists to unleash their imaginations and create a wonderful world with their favorite characters wearing this magnificent dress.
This influence is only one of the many influences that pop culture, fandoms, and the younger generations have had in the fashion world. There have been many other fashion aesthetics that have trended and inspired many new garments and colour combinations. One of the popular aesthetics or commonly known as “core” was the cottagecore trend.
What is cottagecore? It is the aesthetic surrounding life in a rural and peaceful environment. This aesthetic has left an important impact on fashion because garments such as flowy and delicate dresses, sun hats and more headgear, sweater vests, among other styles of clothing have become quite popular as well due to the influence younger generations have had in the fashion world. Another important pop-culture interest has been the many entertainment sections such as many different series, anime, dramas, music and band groups, comics and manga, influencers etc which has led to the creation of many fandoms that have influenced the fashion world heavily.
But how has this been done? Well, with the rising popularity of pop culture and every entertainment loved by younger generations, designers and brands have decided to change their fashion path into a more laid back and casual but just as a trend and exquisite specifically made to appeal to Millennials and Gen-Z which are the cause in this sudden change in the fashion industry.
Popular stores have been the spotlight of fashion influenced by these generations and pop culture. Stores like these have a wide range of many innovative and creative fashion garments which were either inspired by a tv show, a band, an anime, a comic or manga, or even Disney and Nickelodeon classics and have been designed specifically to appeal to Millenials and Gen-Z by creating unique and playful accessories as well as garments. These stores have managed to make pop culture fashionable and made fashion more hip and exclusive for those lovers of pop culture. Another way of how younger generations have influenced fashion has been by making past trends come back to our modern times. For some reason, Millennials and Gen-Z have actually been so interested in old fashion trends, or more commonly known as retro fashion aesthetic. Many past fashion garments have made a very strong comeback, and young generations have even recreated its original style into a mix of nostalgia and modernity, giving this certain fashion trend a complete and new innovative aspect. Another interesting aspect of retro fashion was the incorporation of retro sources of entertainment into popular fashion aesthetics.
Many younger generations have been very innovative and unique in creating trends, sometimes they do not notice the impact that they are making for an entire industry and the inspirational fashion garments created due to the trends created by these generations but it is undeniable that the fashion industry has entered a world where the younger generations are determining how the game is played and introducing new and exciting trends that are fun, fashionable, and fresh. Embracing tradition, as well as modernity, has been the tool that the younger generations have made great use of when establishing new, wonderful, catchy and popular trends.
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How Young People Are Changing the Fashion Industry
New York Fashion Week is here and there is a growing fashion movement that has the potential to fundamentally change the industry: sustainable fashion. If designers want to endear themselves to Gen Z, they’ll take note of this important shift.
The last ten years have seen a dramatic rise in the educated consumer, one who thinks not just about the quality and value of the finished product, but how it got on the shelf — where the materials come from, who made it and under what conditions. This desire to understand the backstory of consumer goods has spread to fashion, and young people are forcing brands to take a look at what they do and how they do it. Gen Z, in particular, wants to align themselves with brands that stand for something (hello, Nike). Sustainability and ethical fashion are quickly becoming a part of this generation’s values set, as the negative impacts of fast fashion come to light (think environmental hazards and human rights issues).
But while there is a cohort of front-row influencers, celebrities and brands such as Allbirds, United by Blue, Girlfriend Collective, Reformation, Outerknown and Everlane that devote themselves to sustainable fashion, the movement still has a long way to go before it’s mainstream. Most young people today would consider sustainable fashion more of an ethical bonus or nice-to-have, not a requirement. The primary reason: The cost.
Most sustainable fashion naturally comes with a higher price point because of the devotion to ethically sourced fabrics, thoughtful construction methods, improved factory conditions, and improved pay for workers. When the average cost of one eco-friendly item is about $80 (at the low end), young people often have no choice but to shop elsewhere. Especially when you can buy several outfits at stores such as Forever 21 or Old Navy for that same amount. Young people are still in that fashion phase of wanting to wear the latest looks — and changing up their outfits daily. They don’t yet have that mindset to buy more higher-quality clothes and keep them for a long time.
How Celebrities Influence Fashions
Celebrities have always shaped and influenced the ongoing fashion trend.
Celebrities both Hollywood and Bollywood influence fashion by wearing whatever is in fashion and also sometimes they create their fashion trend by wearing something enormous, created by the world’s leading fashion designers.
Some of them are known to having better knowledge with fashion than other celebrities, we look to them as fashion icons. They are numerous ways celebrities can influence fashion.
Celebrities set the rule on how to dress to a certain event or how you should dress at a certain age. A lot of times celebrities will promote certain fashion trends. People dress a certain way because their favorite celebrity that they stalk on social media is wearing the same thing.
Fashion can be influenced by social media, the person wearing a certain type of designer or a piece of clothing from that designer.
Research says the some individuals who are referred to as opinion leaders has a major impact on what society thinks of a certain type of fashion. With having celebrities as a fashion opinion leader it leads to higher percentage of market sales. It is agreed that they tend to have more knowledge about fashion than a regular person would, even though if they do not dress accordingly to society at the time. The key aspect of fashion on celebrities is to be seen in the public eye which helps the consumer/designer get more clients or fame.
When it comes to celebrities and trends, clothing is one of the easiest ones to follow. It doesn’t matter what article of clothing celebs have on, if it’s in a magazine or on an Instagram feed, the next day stores are selling the same piece of clothing that said celebrity wore in a photo. It is easier to keep up with the changing trends because of Instagram and TikTok where many celebrities will post videos of their outfits when going out for an event or just spending the day at home. Everyone has their own unique sense of style but how do celebrities influence our style, and are we really dressing in the clothes we choose because we like them, or are we doing it to follow a trend?Celebrities have been known to popularize trends even after they go out of style. One of the reasons why people are so drawn to the styles celebrities wear is because many will choose to dress in a style that brings back nostalgia.
For example, some fashion trend that has been in and out of style for the last couple of years. Various stores and clothing brands have been selling items from tthis fashion collection for a while such as Hot Topic, Forever 21, and Urban Outfitters. But the downside to clothing trends is that we realize “I’m never gonna wear this again,” or “I don’t even like this style, why did I buy this?”
Celebrities are good at advertising the clothing items they’re given because it’s part of their job, but sometimes they don’t even like the items they wear. So, why do we continue to follow clothing trends? They have been given lots of beautiful pieces of clothing to wear and when we see them in it and how people respond to them, we want the same reaction they get, so we choose to follow the trend people say
These celibritiescan also influence where clothing is sourced from. Some of the clothes that we wear are made from animals and harmful products that we don’t even realize are made from insects (silk), goats (cashmere), and sheep (shearling). Numerous celebrities have taken a stand against animal products in clothing, and have chosen to wear clothing that is vegan and animal-free.
For example, Ariana Grande’s wedding dress was made from stating vegan which, according to VeganFashionWeek, has “the soft and lustrous texture of satin to create the perfect wedding gown for Arianna Grande. Satin is made from synthetic materials (polyester, nylon, rayon fibers…)” The choice to buy ethically can influence fans’ styles because they may be inspired to purchase clothing that is made from vegan materials and animal-free products.
Another reason could be because many items that celebrities wear can be used on various occasions. Because celebrities have millions of fans who follow everything that they do, some celebrities have their own clothing lines designed to fit every size and every occasion so that they’re fans can dress comfortably and stylish. Cardi B partnered with Fashion Nova, Kendall and Kylie Jenner have a namesake clothing line, as do many other celebrities. It gives fans the confidence to expand their wardrobe, and it has made people feel comfortable in their own skin.
More positively, celebrities can influence our style by advertising to their fans to dress as themselves and not for anyone else. Angelina Jolie shared her views on fashion in an article last year, saying, “I think we all know boldness when we see it. Nothing makes me smile more than when I see someone being fully themselves, with their own individual style and character, whatever that is.”
Remember: celebrities have their own individual styles that match their own unique personalities and so do you. They can influence our styles because we might like how they look in movies, TV shows, and Tiktoks. It is worth mentioning that celebrities have stylists who dress them for special occasions, and designers who want them to wear their clothes. Style and clothing should be about self expression and instead it has become about trends and influence. Clothes are the reflection of the person you are on the inside so instead of following a clothing trend that’ll be over in a few weeks, dress for yourself.
Sade Greenwood Miss Sri Lanka world 2022, speaks about Fitness and lifestyle
by Zanita Careem
The reigning Miss Sri Lanka world Sade Greenwood gives insight into the importance of a balanced and healthy lifestyle for achieving goals and overall wellbeing.
Sade is currently a student at Tokyo International University in Japan where She studies International Relations. She hopes to make a difference in her country using her degree, where she hopes to be involved in youth programmes and education. When Sade is not studying she is usually doing her charity work which involves environmental services and animal welfare. .
Sade with her sparkling personality and penchant for positivity personifies ‘beauty with a purpose’. She has brought immense pride to us all with her ‘walking the talk’ through her numerous charitable endeavors.
Q• Sade tell us about your journey from modelling to competing nationally, and winning the coveted Miss Sri Lanka World 2022 title?
It’s been a surreal journey! Definitely a lot of adjusting as it was a huge shift in my life but all the same I’m so grateful and blessed to be able to represent my country on the international stage.
Q• You have always been in model shape. Have You had to change your workout routines when focusing on the beauty industry?
A• I think I more so needed fitness to help me balance my busy schedules. It was always great to have a release from everything through fitness, it’s definitely something I used more for my mental and physical health in becoming a stronger version of myself.
Q• Being a part of The Fitness Connection Family and working out at the Gym what do you feel has been the biggest change?
A• I think learning to achieve my goals. One thing about fitness is that consistency plays a huge role but so does diet! Learning to cut out on some of my favourite food is a little tricky!
Q• I know You have a hectic schedule and many commitments. How have your workouts at the gym impacted you positively?
A• It’s impacted my mental and physical health and overall helped me balance my life and find a release from all the stress and strain.
Q• As you and your pathway have inspired so many, what advise would You give to those looking to balance their goals with their everyday lives?
A• Make sure you love what you do! That makes it easier to balance anything in life because you’re putting your heart and soul into what you do. It doesn’t feel like ‘work’ then, so train your mind!
Q• What motivates you the most, and gets you moving even on the most tiring of days?
A• My goals and how the future version of myself would be proud that I made the decision to do something then and there.
We are all looking forward to your next chapters in what is definitely going to be an exciting and fulfilling journey. I will surely be speaking with you again soon!
*Sade Greenwood photographed at The Fitness Connection,
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