By Sanath Weerasuriya
Ruwanthi Gajadeera wins first prize 2021
Sri Lankan fashion designer Ruwanthi Pavithra Gajadeera became the winner of the “Taiwan Fashion Design Award 2021” (TFDA) which was successfully concluded during Taipei Fashion Week, Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, Taipei, Taiwan on October 6. Among nearly 450 designers from 18 countries and regions including Europe, America and Asia, Ruwanthi Gajadeera from Sri Lanka became the winner of the first prize for her creation on the theme “Kaeli – A sustainable collection”
(lE, s ¡; sridr tl; = jla) and pocketed the grand prize worth US $ 10,000.
Ruwanthi Gajadeera, a very enthusiastic fashion designer who studied at the Ladies College and Academy Of Design (AOD) in Colombo, with a passion for perfecting Sri Lankan heritage crafts such as Handloom, Beeralu (Bobbin lace) and Natural Dyes to produce innovative and sustainable textiles and clothing. Ruwanthi is also the first South Asian to represent and win the grand prize at the Taiwan Fashion Design Awards.
TFDA launched in 1987 as a local competition, the Taiwan Fashion Design Award 2021 marks its 35th edition. Hosted by the Industrial Development Bureau, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Taiwan and organized by the Taiwan Textile Federation, it is the first official fashion competition in Asia. It was first opened as an international competition in 2013 (27th), and this year is the 9th international competition in the series.
In conjunction with Taipei Fashion Week, this year’s competition received a great reception among emerging designers around the world, making the competition even more competitive and international. For the past 35 years, the Taiwanese government has provided design school students and emerging designers with a platform to demonstrate their creativity.
Taiwan’s strict anti-epidemic measures ultimately allowed TFDA 2021 to go ahead as planned. The process of preparing for the event faces more challenges than in the past. Besides the impossibility for foreign finalists to travel to Taiwan, it would also be difficult to allow viewers to come in person to the ceremony as in the past. Therefore, in addition to the physical fashion show, the ceremony online live broadcast was a synchronous performance. The international jury from UK, France, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan also connected online in real time, and the online scoring system also enabled smooth selection and decision making by the jury for the final. The jury members were made up of renowned masters from the fields of international fashion, including Nao Takekoshi, the international boutique designer; Stéphane Dou, the Taiwanese fashion designer; Christina Dean, the founder of Redress; Valéria Bessolo Llopiz, ELLE International Director; Jane Singer, Managing Director of Inside Fashion; Tomonori Matsui, CEO of Japanese fashion integration marketing company ONE O Ltd. ; and Charlotte Chiang, director of the Textiles and Styling Department of TTF.
The jury recognized that each work has its own unique creativity stemming from design thinking, noting that “whether it is fashion, elegance or street fashion, the designers were able to take into account the concepts of respect for environment and sustainability right from the start of the process. of the design, such as the use of release tabs to demonstrate the creativity of the design. When it comes to production processes, the all-in-one approach has been taken to reduce waste during weaving, and for garments, the mix and match outfit in multiple ways has been explored in depth, which presented the deep reflection of human relationships with concern for the environment that reflect the spirit of sustainability at all stages of clothing production.
Two second prizes and three third places were awarded to the competition.