• Annika Fernando

PR Rising Star | Artroom Ceylon

In 2019, PR created a new program and opportunity for emerging designers to retail. Having had many young designers on PR's doorstep eager to 'launch their new label', PR realized they needed to do more. Retailing is more than just design and for a designer to be able to consider this as a business, they have to learn how to sell in the long run. Many designers get excited about doing a fashion show and selling out their ramp collection, but what next?

Can one really run a business from ramp to ramp with a couple shows per year?


PR identifies strong designers who also resonate with their aesthetic and invite them to join the store for a 3 month program. Annika from PR sits with the designers to curate their first edit of the label with a mindset to retail in keeping with quality and value expectations of the PR customer. The designers have an opportunity to do the interior VM of their collection and their own display window.

The designers are expected to stay in close touch with the sales team to study feedback - from a positive and constructive mindset.


How designers work through this period and prepare for the future, determines if they continue on to the main rail.


Artroom Ceylon is the first PR Rising Star of 2022.

A label founded by Kasun Jayamanne (pictured on the right) and Udaya Wickramasinghe (pictured on the left) caught our eye from their strong show at MBFW 21 with a focus on unique batik and tie-dye on knitted cotton and wool along with original geometric design in sophisticated colour palettes. This show, entitled 'Wax-Knit' was well received and a sell-out and so, we asked Artroom to work from this strong aesthetic to create their first retail collection for their PR Rising Star debut.

Artroom calls Wax-Knit their 'hybrid craft innovation for a sustainable fashion future.'

Kasun Jayamanne is an interior architect and Udaya Wickramasinghe is a fashion and textile designer. Together they co-founded Artroom Ceylon in 2014.


' It is about bringing the local craft knowledge and practices to contemporary ethical and sustainable design practices and to celebrate the combination of textile crafts and fashion concepts. “artroom” practices different wearable approaches as well as interior textiles in order to fulfil the artistic and classic taste in the clientele, they say.'


We asked Kasun and Udaya a few questions for you to learn more about this pair of young designers and their debut retail collection for their PR Rising Star launch.


PR Who is Artroom? Tell us your story


Artroom ‘artroom’ was founded in 2014 as a partnership design business by interior architect, Kasun Jayamanne and Udaya Wickramasinghe, Fashion and Textile Designer. The label is about bringing local craft knowledge and practices to contemporary ethical and sustainable design practices to celebrate the combination of Textile Crafts and fashion concepts. “artroom” practices different wearable approaches as well as interior textiles in order to fulfil the artistic and classic taste in the elite clientele.

Both of us come from design backgrounds and have been raised with roots of traditional Sri Lankan culture. This inspired us to explore art, craft and design from childhood. Our true interest in the creative field led us to integrate fashion, textile and lifestyle design approaches. Kasun Jayamanne completed his Bachelor of Interior Architecture from Limkokwing University, Malaysia and is currently reading a Masters from the University of Moratuwa in Local Craft and design business strategies. Udaya Wickramasinghe completed his Bachelor of Fashion and Textile design from the University of Moratuwa and Masters from the University of Colombo.


As designers, our scholarly concerns mainly focused on woven and non-woven textile design, local hand knitting craft practice, fabric surface arts and crafts, cultural studies, heritage textile crafts and sustainable communities.

Textile related local craft communities can also be defined as knowledge-based organizations because they have their own identity, own vernacular practices, unique techniques, social and cultural practices, indigenous knowledge, etc.

The way the knowledge possessed by them could be managed in order to be used effectively in the future fashion industry is we see as the main problem arising here. These communities show reluctance in sharing their knowledge out of their generations, as they consider this to be a vulnerable threat to their community. The trust between the designer and the craft community, while sharing the knowledge is very important. Thus the mutual understanding and the trust between the community and the designer is very important during the management of the artisan's knowledge. Hence a sustainable approach has to be followed under ethical conditions in order to manage the artisan's knowledge of the textile related local craft communities, during the development of these collections and the promotion there of.

Our ultimate goal is to practice an ethical and sustainable label being responsible to the society and the environment emphasizing Heritage Textile Crafts and Sustainable Communities inheritance to the local context.


PR Who or what inspires you?


Artroom We both follow Leonardo Da Vinci for inspiration. He was an Italitan polymath of the high Renaissance who was active as a painter, designer, draughtsman, engineer, scientist, theorist, sculptor and architect. His work inspires us for multidisciplinary design approaches

In fashion, we are inspired by Alexander McQueen and Dolce & Gabbana as major fashion brands.


PR Tell us about the collection you are launching at PR


Artroom Our collection concept is ‘WAX-KNIT’. It is a hybrid craft innovation for a sustainable fashion future. ‘WAX-KNIT is a creative experiment of responsive textiles with an innovative concept. The hand knitting technique that originates in coastal areas, is given great appreciation through this collection, bringing out the craft experiences and the outstanding skills of the local artisan to the spotlight.



PR How have these last years been challenging for you in design and production?


Artroom During the pandemic, we had the opportunity to step up into other avenues such as textile based homeware products and accessories rather than fashion collections with the knowledge and expert integration of our co-founders. Furthermore, we extended our sales and promotions via online platforms.


PR How do you feel about being PR's first Rising Star for 2022?


Artroom We believe, fresh creative minds can play a vital role for social change. Therefore, PR Rising Star is one of the most opportune creative platforms for fresh local minds/designers to start a dialogue between the society and creative solutions for a sustainable fashion future.

Check out the collection in store and shop Artroom online at PR here