Colombo Fashion Week introduces Retail Week

  • A month-long experiential retail and knowledge-sharing programme in association with One Galle Face and HSBC Sri Lanka.

 By Naveed Rozais

This past weekend saw the launch of Colombo Fashion Week’s (CFW) newest programme, Retail Week, held in partnership with One Galle Face and HSBC Sri Lanka.

Taking place from 11 September to 4 October, the three-week programme focuses on creating a first-of-its-kind experiential retail interaction through knowledge in a responsible way. The programme is based on creative collaborations and brings about interesting retail interactions for guests and patrons; CFW Retail Week focuses on weekly themes such as Fashion and Wellness Week, Environment and Conservation Week, and Literary Week, curating experiences.

CFW Retail Week will include theme-specific knowledge and engagement-based experiences each week including expert talks on related topics, book readings and workshops, value-added retail experiences, movie screenings, a junior chef programme and art workshop for kids, and special events like wine tastings and F&B demos.

Fashion and Wellness Week (12-19 September) will include talks on fashion grooming by Fouzul Hameed, a well-known name in menswear fashion solutions; the role of batik in contemporary design by Buddhi Batiks Creative Director Darshi Keerthisena; professional etiquette by renowned corporate trainer Kumar de Silva; and responsible fashion and the journey towards circularity by CFW Managing Director Ajai Vir Singh.

Environment and Conversation Week (20-27 September), curated to build knowledge and highlight the importance of our environment, will cover key sustainability and environment-related topics and will be open to all. Talks during this include the impact of plastic by BPPL Holdings PLC Managing Director Dr. Anush Amarasinghe; marine conservation by Oceanswell Founder and Executive Director Dr. Asha de Vos; the leopard as an umbrella species for landscape-level conservation in Sri Lanka by Wilderness & Wildlife Conservation Trust (WWCT) Co-Founding Trustees Anjali Watson and Dr. Andrew Kittle; and threats faced by sharks and rays in the Indian Ocean by Blue Resources Trust Co-Founder Daniel Fernando.

Literary Week (28 September-4 October) has also been curated with exciting book readings by celebrated Sri Lankan authors Ashok Ferrey, Shehan Karunatilaka, and Artika Aurora Bakshi. Each author will read an excerpt of some of their fan favourite works, while Ashok Ferrey will unveil an excerpt from his upcoming new novel, An Unmarriageable Man.

CFW will also launch The Edit, an exclusive store space on Level 2 of the One Galle Face Mall where all participating CFW designers will retail their latest collections which were showcased on the runway in August. The Edit will be a dedicated store space for CFW designers to connect with a wider audience and retail their collections for a limited time at One Galle Face.

At a press conference last week, CFW Holdings Managing Director Ajai Vir Singh shared that CFW Retail Week hopes to imagine a new retail experience for the new normal and that the CFW team is very excited to be working on CFW Retail Week with the many sponsors and partners who have come on board to help make it a success.

CFW Retail Week will take place at One Galle Face at multiple locations spread across the mall environment. One Galle Face is Colombo’s first internationally developed and managed mixed-use development project. At 480,000 sq. ft., the One Galle Face Mall is the largest international mall in Sri Lanka, with over 200 tenants offering visitors an unparalleled shopping experience catering to their every need, in terms of dining, entertainment, beauty, technology, and shopping.

“One Galle Face is pleased to be a partner of CFW Retail Week, an event that will inspire shopping through knowledge-sharing which is positive and responsible,” said Shangri-La Hotel Colombo Vice President and General Manager Timothy Wright, adding: “These efforts are in line with our own endeavour in creating an eloquent shopping culture in the country.”

HSBC Premier Cards will be the main currency of CFW Retail Week’s especially curated shopping experience. “HSBC, the title partner of CFW for the 13th year, which is the most sought-after fashion event in Colombo, is delighted to partner with its latest extension – CFW Retail Week. As our Premier customers are internationally-minded and live international lives, our endeavour is to make our refreshed HSBC Premier proposition truly a family affair and allow them to have an international experience right here in Sri Lanka, which ties in well with the three weeks of activities planned during CFW Retail Week,” said HSBC Sri Lanka Head of Marketing and Communications Tharanga Gunasekera.

“To us, the dynamic inside a contemporary mall environment is interesting and fascinating; we wanted to enhance the dynamics by bringing interesting creative collaborations so that knowledge is stimulated for patrons and adds value beyond just the monetary. One Galle Face is an iconic mall in Colombo and we could experiment with this new concept because of their openness to collaborate on something new. Knowledge, entertainment, and interaction is the basis of this experiential concept. I feel that coming from a creative industry like fashion, experiential retail is a logical next step, and we are excited that One Galle Face is partnering with us in this new concept. I am glad that our long-term partner HSBC continues our journey with CFW Retail Week and will be introducing a new product,” said CFW Holdings Managing Director Ajai Vir Singh.