Meet Amesh Wijesekera, winner of the inaugural UK Jury meeting for India’s CDC Sustainability Award.
Sri Lankan London-based rising designer Amesh Wijesekera emerged as the triumphant talent at the UK Jury Meeting of India’s sustainability award, the Circular Design Challenge (CDC). The CDC is presented by R|Elan™, the next-gen fabric brand of India’s largest conglomerate, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), in association with the United Nations. The UK segment of the sustainable fashion competition took place in London, in collaboration with the British Council.
Wijesekera channels his creative energy into collaborating with skilled artisans, particularly those engaged in knitwear, crochet, and handloom traditions across Sri Lanka. His approach involves utilizing factory surplus fibers to combat clothing waste, fostering ethical practices, and supporting local craftspeople. He was also a semifinalist of the LVMH prize in 2022. CDC’s initiative aims to usher in a greener and more sustainable future in the fashion industry by celebrating environmentally aware designers worldwide.
We sat down with Amesh Wijesekera to deep dive into his journey, the main sources of inspiration behind his craft, and what’s next to come in his career plans.
Read the full interview with Amesh below…
Talk us through your journey to where you are today?
Growing up by the coasts in Sri Lanka and completing my BA in fashion and textile design in Colombo. I have been lucky enough to travel and showcase my work in London, Berlin, Paris, Tbilisi and now India! A complete organic growth of unexpected opportunities, grateful people and lots of side hustling. Feels like a dream!
What inspires your designs?
Home, my surroundings and community. The relationship between nature and sexuality. Reconnecting to the intrinsic presence of the environment in everyday life, childhood memory, freedom of expression, sensuality and youth culture. We are on a continuous journey re-imagining South Asian masculinity, identity and beauty norms while exploring the overlap between craft and heritage. Re-contextualising artisanal techniques and new ways of sourcing.
Congrats on being the winner of CDC London Meet! How does it feel to achieve such an accolade?
It’s really exciting to be the first UK finalist for this award as the competition goes international. Traveling to India has been a dream! To be recognised and associated with like minded creatives and be able to share our experiences, values is something we can cherish for a lifetime. The mentorship programme and having access to connect with the industry is invaluable as a young brand getting into the fashion business.
What was it about your work that you think allowed you to achieve this?
I feel its our story, purpose and process. The work I do with the community and its impact. A fresh narrative on “designed and made in Sri Lanka” .
From being a semi-finalist at LVMH to winning here, talk us through the emotions?
It’s been an overwhelming journey of joy, anxiety and hope. I feel like the brand has got much attention and I am so happy to be recognised internationally to share my story and heritage. Now I am getting ready for the next phase of my journey, creating a fashion business. Daunting yet exciting!
What are your future plans?
Scaling and working on the business. That is the big plan for next year. Spending more time in Sri Lanka and working closer with our makers and strengthening our community. Finding better ways of producing and building a stronger circular Fashion model.