All Things Fashion With Kosh
By Mahika Panditha
The Agency Sri Lanka is one of the leading talent management companies in Sri Lanka, and last week we had the chance to talk to the amazing Kosh Hewage who is its Head of Operations, as well as a celebrity fashion designer and wardrobe stylist.
Kosh started his journey in fashion when he was between 13 and 15 years old, alongside his mother, who was a bridal designer, fashion stylist, and hair and makeup artist. He was awarded Best Designer Of The Year in 2015 and also showcased his designs at the Asian European Fashion Week in Paris, where he was the youngest fashion designer to earn the opportunity.
Kosh later on went to sign a contract with them as a spokesperson and was called to design the finale evening gown for Miss France for Miss Grand International 2017 and Miss Grand International France 2018. Kosh hopes to become a well-known and recognised celebrity stylist all over the world, and we are so excited to see how his journey pans out. Check out what he had to say to Happinez!
Hey Kosh! Before we get into it, do tell our readers a little about yourself.
Since childhood, I was very excited and curious about this industry and mostly I was very fond of fabrics and colours. After high school, I did my higher studies at Plymouth University, UK, majoring in Business and Event Management. During my vacations, I started to follow my heart and launched my red carpet couture clothing line under the brand name of KOSHE.
Most of the celebrities, pageant queens, and models loved my work and started to buy my designs. My first celebrity actress was Nipunika Hewagamage and she’s one of the reasons why I am here today. I used to volunteer for the Colombo Fashion Week backstage, basically I was helping models to change and get ready for the show. The atmosphere in that place was wonderful. During one of those days, Adam Flamer-Caldera scouted me and introduced me to his sister Anjuli Flamer-Caldera, who is one of my good friends – she hired me as a model scout/model agent for The Agency Sri Lanka.
Working with them was amazing and from that day, I started a new chapter in my fashion diary. I am now the Head of Operations and a proud owner of three successful brands – KOSHE, KALON, and KH2. My best friend Manasha and I started styling under the brand name of Two Broke Stylists. We have styled many big campaigns and big celebrities such as Mrs. World 2020 – Caroline Jurie, Brett Lee, Nick Saglimbeni (a photographer from the Keeping Up with the Kardashians) and more.
I was the first Sri Lankan stylist to style the ODEL main campaign in 2021. And I styled many music videos for leading artistes in Sri Lanka (such as Yureni Noshika, Nimmi Harasgama, Sachini Ayendra, Dilhani Ekanayaka, etc.) as well. My fashion journey continues!
What inspired you to go into fashion?
My journey in fashion started from my family and there’s another woman who actually inspired me with her smile and her outfits – Princess Diana. My style is very different from other designers or fashion personalities, I might be a bit extra but I always manage to do something interesting according to the event and scene with proper creativity and when needed, chic and elegant.
Any fun memories you can share with us?
There are a few amazing memorable moments. One would be launching my brand KOSHE, and also getting scouted by Adam, winning my award, designing for Miss France 2017and Miss France 2018, designing in Paris at AEFW, designing for many celebrities in Sri Lanka and Paris, Miss France 2017, Miss Queen of Europe 2015, walking on the gold carpet of Hiru Golden Film Awards as an invitee along with Bollywood celebrities, partnering with Manasha Silva my business partner as a stylist and launching my second brand; my exclusive jewelry line KALON, receiving the opportunity to retail at Zudhora Colombo.
A fun memory I can recall happened during Colombo Fashion Week 2013 or 2014 – I was a volunteer and my group had asked me to go and get some helium balloons from this particular hotel room and then bring them towards the place we had the shop. So, I went to the room, got the balloons and came to the stage area. There is a small staircase you have to go up to get to the stage – I didn’t know that the other Flamer-Caldera was in that pool and he came out of the pool like a Baywatch actor. I think I got too excited maybe, I don’t know, but I tripped and fell – the balloons came out of the box and went everywhere, but I managed to catch one or two balloons!
So, tell us about your process – how do you select looks and know what works, and what doesn’t?
The process is different for my clients. It always depends on the client’s needs and the purpose of the outfit. I usually do what I feel like the best , something that suits the client and occasion. The main thing I do is research about the current trends and vibe, do some sketching and then my favourite part – fabric hunting. I have my second meeting with my client for a discussion about the final look. I always try to do something new and creative.
What would you say everyone needs in their closet?
A nice, chic, trendy suit. And if it’s a Sri Lankan closet – you must have at least ¼ looks of a Sri Lankan designer wear brand.
What is your opinion on the fashion industry in Sri Lanka at the moment, both in terms of designers and models?
It’s better than it was five years ago. Most of the seniors are helping the up-and-coming designers and models. We have many boutique brands blooming and doing well, many HMUA (hair and makeup artists), photographers, stylists and videographers are making their name.
But most of the outsiders have to start loving our talent, and to appreciate them; as Sri Lankans we should be proud of them. Most of the Colombo crowd is ashamed to say that they are Sri Lankan, and they are refusing to call our actors and actresses celebrities or icons, or even to watch a Sinhala movie. This is a huge problem in our country.
Also, some mainstream print media platforms should appreciate the proper local talent and promote them. This actually goes to some model agencies as well rather than bringing down models from other countries and not giving our talent a chance.
Where would you like to see yourself in the next few years?
The next few years is a hard thing to answer right now, with the pandemic. But I want to help many local talents reach their dreams, guide them and groom them. At the moment, my main aim is to take The Agency Sri Lanka to the next level. I’m slowly working on my ultimate goal. Step by step.
I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my parents and my family – Arlo and two extremely special people in my life Manasha and Riaan. My close friends – Raffie, Charini, Venuka, and Ishi. I’m super grateful to The Agency Sri Lanka and Mr. Dirk and Anjuli, my amazing team Roo and Jemi. And, Yureni for advising me about life and how to grow as a human.