- Wedding Week 2022 takes off
The wedding industry took an incredibly harsh beating in the pandemic. The first lockdown saw a complete embargo on weddings, and then once weddings were allowed, they were severely restricted. Even before the pandemic, planning a wedding was a stressful affair, which was what led to Brides of Sri Lanka, one of Sri Lanka’s leading wedding magazines, choosing to host what has now become the most exclusive wedding expo of the year – Wedding Week 2022.
This year, Wedding Week includes a series of bridal shows, showing some of the best bridal fashion Sri Lanka and South Asia has to offer, with the overall theme of Wedding Week being to capture Sri Lanka’s potential as a destination wedding venue, partnering with the Galle Face Hotel. The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), Sri Lanka Convention Bureau, and SriLankan Airlines have also partnered with the event in view of promoting destination weddings in Sri Lanka to India and other prospective target markets.
Wedding Week took place on 19 and 20 August at the Galle Face Hotel. In addition to showcasing local wedding-wear designers, Wedding Week 2022 also featured four celebrated designers from India and the Maldives showcasing their collections. The international designers showcasing included: award-winning Indian designer Nivedita Saboo, Shif Couture Maldivian designer Aishath Shifza, Hutheesing Design Company’s Umang Hutheesing, and popular Maldivan designer Aishath Shamla.
Speaking at a press conference held earlier this month to announce Wedding Week 2022, Brides of Sri Lanka Founder and Managing Director Nelum Haththella said: “We hope to support the wedding industry that has greatly suffered in the last two years due to the global pandemic and also promote wedding tourism, which in turn will help our economy and our nation. In the last two years, the industry and our fellow wedding suppliers have suffered greatly, especially with no destination weddings taking place. As a magazine, Brides of Sri Lanka has always been very supportive of the wedding industry, and we wanted to create a platform that could support the industry further. With lots of people coming in from overseas, now is the ideal time to do something of this nature.”
On day one (19) of Wedding Week 2022, Brunch chatted with the two international designers showcasing collections that evening for their perspective on Sri Lanka’s wedding industry.
Shif Couture’s Aishath Shifza explained that this was her very first international show and that she was very excited to have been given the opportunity to do so. “The experience has been amazing, and I am very honoured to be here showcasing my collection. The collection is inspired by femininity itself and is made entirely in the Maldives.”
Shif Couture’s collection, entirely in white, saw a mix of modest bridals for the modern Muslim woman mixed with breath-taking modern and contemporary wedding looks suitable for any bride looking to make a statement of style on her wedding day. Shif Couture’s creativity is very popular among Maldivian youth, and Shifza has showcased her designs at Bride Fair Maldives 2014, Designers’ Week Maldives 2015, Bride Fair Maldives 2018, and Maldivian Idol Season 3.
Speaking on Sri Lanka’s wedding industry and Wedding Week 2022, Shifza also shared that she was very inspired by the breadth of our local wedding industry noting that the Maldives wedding industry cannot compare with the diversity of not just the Sri Lankan wedding industry, but also the diversity of cultures, and traditions in Sri Lankan weddings, adding that she would love to be able to cater to the Sri Lankan wedding market and hopes to do so in the future.
NIVEDITA’s Nivedita Saboo also spoke with Brunch on her showcase at Wedding Week 2022 and said: “I am really happy that Sri Lanka has received the show so well.”
Saboo’s showcase at Wedding Week 2022, captures the versatility of her brand, showcasing everything from crystal-embellished gowns with tuxedos to diffusion clothing, blending Eastern and Western influences, to the traditional, ornate lehengas and kurtas worn by Indian brides and grooms. The collection showcased Saboo’s trademark detailed hand-craftsmanship and masterful pattern-making that made her the award-winning designer she has become.
She has showcased her collections at the London Fashion Week, Paris, Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia, Colombo, Dubai, and major cities in India. She is the Founding Curator for the Global Shapers’ Community of the World Economic Forum and has been conferred with the prestigious “Bharat Gaurav Award” for her significant contributions towards impacting life through sustainable and adaptive fashion.
Sharing her hopes for working with Sri Lanka in the future, Saboo shared that she would love for Sri Lanka to respond to her brand and create opportunities to do beautiful work with not just Sri Lankan brides, but also brides from all over the world. “The Sri Lankan wedding industry is definitely gearing up for many more weddings to come here,” she said, adding that brands like NIVEDITA also have a role to play in the Sri Lankan market, especially with destination weddings, because of its shared cultural roots with other South Asian countries that gives them something unique to offer to both Sri Lankan brides and customers.