By Menaka Indrakumar
She is one of the most celebrated designers in the country today, designing outfits for numerous brides and bridesmaids, prominent personalities and showcasing her work internationally. Indeevari Yapa Abeywardena fondly known as Indi, recently opened her store Indi & co. She studied at Academy of Design (AOD) and later moved to the UK. After completing her studies, she joined MAS Linea Aqua and later went solo with her brand 'INDI.'
She speaks to Glamour about, career, design and future ventures.
What inspired you to become a designer?
Seeing my mother sew on her Singer machine when I was a little girl made me a fashion bug. She would use me as a test dummy and dress me up all the time in beautiful handmade clothes. I always loved shopping and dreamt of being able to make clothes just like my mom. Then I have seen Michael Wijesooriya design fabulous bridals for our family and I used to think I would love to do what he does... he inspired me as well when I was small.
Who are your favourite style icons?
Marilyn Monroe – from yesteryear
Victoria Beckham – Current world trending
Kaia Gerber – Future star (daughter of Supermodel Cindy Crawford)
Designers who inspire you?
Ethnic creations by Sabyasachi Mukherjee
Couture creations by Zuhair Murad
Bridals by Vera Wang
When did you start your career?
I started with AOD (Academy of Design) about eight years ago, finished my bachelors in Fashion design in UK afterwards, then worked at MAS Linea Aqua and transitioned into a solo fashion designer career with my brand INDI.
What has been the most complicated design you have done?
We did a glamorous outfit for Karen Usha Gray-Sabaratnam for a night to remember in 'To Broadway with Love' presented by Colombo Tea Traders Association. She is a highly regarded Broadway singer/Diva who lives in Canada, so we had to communicate via email and phone before she came to Sri Lanka for the show. Back and forth with sketches, then fabric selection to the final creation for a couture red carpet dress with layers of fabrics.
Will you be showcasing any collection soon?
INDI is always showcasing capsule collections of evening dresses to saree lines. As for Seasonal Collection, expect Summer 2017/2018 season by Feb next year.
What is the most memorable fashion moment in your career?
Getting an opportunity to showcase a collection on a ramp, anywhere or any event is memorable for me, so Colombo Fashion Week, Asian Fashion Week, London Graduate Fashion Week to L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Weeks are all memorable to me.
The most frequently used fashion term?
Luxury and Vogue.
Describe your style?
Designing evening wear for any occasion is my forte and specialty. When you're good at something like that, the designer needs to stick to that, try to excel in that path, not try to copy another designer and fail miserably because there is more cash benefits in another design path.
How was it opening your new store?
The greatest feeling of self-achievement, it was years in the planning and thanks to my regular clients who kept pushing me to open a flagship store with retail options and not just custom designs.
What do you think of the fashion industry in Sri Lanka?
Fashion industry in Sri Lanka has lot of opportunity and immense talent that can be showcased to the rest of the world. What we lack is a governing body or council to guide, set rules and regulations, assist in international buying market and exposure on international runway.
What is your go-to style?
My style is, stay comfortable. I'm good to wear anything that I feel comfortable, may it be another Sri Lankan designer or something off the rack from a retailer.
Who is the most stylish man and woman in Sri Lanka?
Woman – Annika Fernando and Ramani Fernando are two ladies who are on point all the time, be it at their respective stores, fashion weeks or random nights out.
Man – Shalin Balasuriya and Danu Innasithamby brings their A game for every fashion event and stand out in men's fashion headlines.
What is your dream fashion destination to showcase your designs?
Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week
Pic by ANURUDDHA MEDAWATTEGEDARA
Location - Indi & co.
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