By Venessa Anthony
Harinda Gunawardena discovered his passion for the world of fashion at a very young age. He was always interested in the arts and had quite the flair for drawing. Right after he completed his Advanced Level exam, he joined the Lanka Institute of Fashion Technology (LIFT) to pursue his dreams. He is now the proud founder of his very own fashion label, HARID.
HARID promotes self-confidence and being comfortable with who you are; this is reflected in the use of bold colours and strong, defined silhouettes. The brand explores sustainability and creative innovation through fashion and art with the use of fabrics that are 100% natural, silk-mixed kinds of cotton.
The label was also showcased at this year’s Colombo Fashion Week (CFW), with Gunawardena being featured as an emerging designer. For his debut at CFW, Gunawardena had incorporated the local batik craft as well as topstitching, the signature detail of the brand.
The main inspiration behind the collection, “Blurred Lines”, is the contemporary androgynous subculture and how it aligns with structured and tailored yet voluminous silhouettes. The colour palette is very bold and bright but incorporated with neutral colours as well in order to suit the target audience and the inspiration. The silhouettes are structured yet oversized and showcases the essence of the local batik craft.
HARID recently launched a new collection for the new year, titled “Estructura”, a collection based on Sri Lankan contemporary batik. HARID’s whole concept highlights androgynous and gender-fluid clothing.
In conversation with The Morning Brunch, Gunawardene told us that even though Estructure caters to women, he used the brand’s signature motif to define its clothing identity. “I used the lip-plus-mustache combination print all over this collection.”
HARID’s mission is to push boundaries and encourage authentic expression through fashion. He veers away from his usual liking towards adding bright, bold colours to going for a more neutral and dull palette. The latest collection features a lot of dull yellows and whites; the only pop of striking colour customers will see is a splash of bright purple here and there.
Gunawardena named contemporary structures and architecture as his inspiration behind his latest collection, hence the name “Estructure”. Everything from the colours to the silhouette of the clothes is based on the structural architecture, which Gunawardena is also passionate about.
“When I was on the way to visit my tailor with my fabric, I heard breaking news on the radio announcing that they’d found a bunch of new cases in Sri Lanka,” he said, speaking about the challenges he faced when designing this collection during the pandemic. He said after that, it was incredibly difficult to source fabric and to move about to get the clothes tailored.
Being a part of the slow fashion movement in Sri Lanka, he highlighted the importance of ethically sourcing products. Slow fashion is the movement of designing, creating, and buying garments for quality and longevity. It encourages slower production schedules, fair wages, lower carbon footprints, and ideally zero waste. HARID is a sustainable brand, so Gunawardena works directly with batik plants in the country. Due to the situation, however, Gunawardena told us that they too hardly receive any work, which affects their life and income greatly. He encouraged people to opt out of fashion and help out these smaller communities as well as the planet by investing in slow fashion.
In exciting news, Gunawardena revealed that they plan to launch another collection mid-next year, with a focus on menswear as well.
You can find the collection at The Design Collective.