Yasisuri Kiribandara – redefining the beauty of bridal wear

May 28, 2019 10:59 am

Tell me about yourself 

I am a Fashion and Bridal Designer and an entrepreneur. Recently I started my own Bridal couture training classes for Fashion students and also train women in couture sewing and embroidery and support them in livelihood as I am able to. I'm also a visiting lecturer and assess final collections in Fashion Design. Since I come from a business and professional background what I am doing is very close to my heart and I do with joy.  Inspiring myself and anyone I can along the way.

What does the word “fashion” mean to you?

Fashion is an art of expressing yourself through something wearable. I would like to call it wearable art. In its purest form it should last forever and create an impression in the buyer's and wearer's heart. It is not following fads and trends per say as trends die out. I'd rather create something that lasts longer and has a higher value.

Describe a typical day in your life.

A typical day starts with praying to God and asking for his direction and with coffee. Next I visit my workshop and asses the workload for the day and discuss with my team on what has to be done. After this I move to my space and take care of immediate mails and other correspondence. I then plan out my days work.    It will involve with overlooking and working with purchasing, fits, patterns,draping, sewing, finishing and fabric developing. Sitting with each outfit from start to the end is very important to me. We are a small team so I am very hands on with the work. Evenings are spent by either meeting work related meetings and designing new creations. These days we are developing our new samples for 2019 for brides.

What was the first piece(bidal dress) you ever designed?

It was in mid 2014 for a wedding in San Francisco. She wanted a plain dress with a worked long veil... I can remember how patient she was with us and finish was such a pleasure! She is still in touch with me and am truly greatful for her trust in me. Although we took 4 fits  we were able to deliver our bridal on time! As we kept getting more bridal inquiries we launched the bridal business officially in 2016.

What’s next for the brand?

Focusing on our key areas and expanding our connections. We are now starting to do everything in house. From certain fabric development to patterns to sewing to finish. So happy to truly working to be a one stop shop. I am experimenting with men's jackets and hopefully we can provide the full retinue with outfits in the future from our atelier.

What is your vision for future?

To keep improving and expanding and reach a gobal audience and also to grow local bridal and couture industry in anyway we can. Starting a new type of store is also in the workings.

Where do you see fashion heading in the next few years?

I think there is a global awakening towards slow fashion which is amazing. People want to know where did my fabric come from, who made it, how long did it take? They also want something more unique. So couture is on the rise again... I saw several articles globally pertaining to couture being on the rise. Sri Lanka has always been focused on low end production and fast fashion. Now the focus is shifting. With a thriving bridal market I see this expanding into more conscious buying overall.

What would your advice be for young fashion students?

Don't follow the trends when looking for jobs and starting a business. Follow your heart. Don't study fashion because its made to look cool. It's actually a lot of hard work. Be authentic and create from your heart.

Why do the brides choose you as their bridal designer?

I listen to their needs. It's their day and I don't discount what they want when creating a bridal design for them. I also focus on being polite and am very friendly and we take a lot of attention and time to deliver what makes the bride happy! Fits and finish is key. We didn't achieve this overnight. It took time and learning and we are still learning everyday. I am also very open to new suggestions in design and love to create something different as long as that is what the bride wants. These days we are hand knitting lace and doing hand beaded lacework for our next brides in 2019. I am also working with silk painting and batik and 3D cuts.

Do you have unique designs, customized for bride-to –be?

Yes. Everything is customized for our brides and every design we strive to be unique as possible. I am now working with some brides where all the details as in lace, beads, stones are fully embroidered and attached in our atelier. Only thing store bought is the base silk fabric.

What was the most memorable or exciting experience you’ve had during your studies?

Is to be the only student to be recruited by Brandix after showcasing our final presentation to them. That is the happiest memory I have of college cos it was the greatest achievement and sense of validation then. By God's grace, I have come a long way since.

About the author

- Darshani Abeyrathna