Thursday, October 10, 2013


There is always a bit letdown when something is realized.  I've been nattering on for yonks to anyone who would listen about the Sri Lankan Design Festival .  I even wined and dined a few hoping to score free tickets or contacts, but to no avail.  So I girded my loins and went down to AOD and just signed up.

The Sustainability Session was the part I was most interested in .  I was hoping to get some insight into how the business works.  So I got my myself down to the Mount Lavinia Hotel and was the first to arrive!   It's a lovely old hotel and the lobby was buzzing with fashion/design types.  Once inside the conference room, I thought that I had dodged the ticket guy and was going to get a free ride but no.

Anyway there were some interesting types in the audience.  This tall, slim fashionista in very chic grey stripe saree comes in with an entourage.  I thought maybe she was a Rajapaksa or a model but no she's the lady that established the host school and the Festival!

After many air kisses, we got down to things.  Turned out that it wasn't exactly what I had imagined! Honestly I wasn't sure what to expect.  Turns out, that they dealt in a lot of generalities.  I guess because I'm a conference/meeting newbie I had visions of indepth discussion, passionate discourse, fists pounding on tables, people storming out, but no.   However, I did learn a fair amount about standardization, partnerships and industry problems.

At the tea break, I got chatting to a very interesting woman who had spoken the night before at the "Colours" session.  Her name is Jane McCann and she is an English professor involved in a very exciting project in the UK.  It is called "Design for Ageing Well, New Dynamics of Ageing."  She is a part of a group of English academics doing cross disciplinary work on ageing.  She is on the design side of things.  Professor McCann was quite intense and I have to be honest, she was preaching to the converted!

I didn't get a chance to speak with her but there was another lady here from Draper magazine in the UK.  I would've spoken to her at the lunch but I felt a bit anxious about the taking the train back, a bit tired and frankly, I did feel slightly lame about being there as "Margaret Peters....Private Citizen."  Honestly there is nothing wrong with that, but after sitting for 5 hours I was knackered and my smooze mode was off. To my credit though, I did go up to the tall glamourazon and thank her for the conference.  Then I skittered off into my taxi.

Definitely the best was saved for last.  This is when they introduced the young up and coming designers.  The trend right now is to upcycle and use different of fabrics or unexpected types of processes.  There was a very cool young lady who had been partnered with a IT firm and had come up with a fabric that is hand woven by local women.  It's manufacture has a very small footprint as everything is done "organically", for example they use cow dung to bleach the fabric to an off white.  The sample jea that they show was awesome.  Oh yeah this is the cool part, they weren't dyed they were digitally printed.  Unfortunately I couldn't get over to see them up close but I love the idea of how it was produced.  Patagonia did too and there is interest from them.  Global + local = glocal!

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