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  • Writer's pictureAnnika Fernando

PR Rising Star | Shavi


Our PR Rising Star programme is a 3-month journey designed for select new brands who want to debut in retail. The lead up to the launch involves PR's input in preparing a collection for retail, considering style, costings, finish, fit & size and saleability.

It is an exciting opportunity for our community both local and international to experience and shop Sri Lankan talent of every level and it's a platform for young brands to learn from and grow and...... ..it's no sure ride to the PR main rail.

Apart from the mentoring a young designer receives from a retail perspective, the designer has responsibilities in this programme, to regularly check in with PR's team on feedback from customers and also to do any alterations in an effort to learn and grow.


Sometimes we seek and sometimes we are sought. In this young designer's case, I saw Shavi's collection at MBFW late last year and it definitely stood out in its all white 'structure', I remembered it with the word 'structure'. Weeks later, this ambitious young lady contacted us with her campaign photos and it took me back to her ramp showcase. The 'structure' I recalled suddenly had narrative.



Meeting this young AOD 2022 graduate afterward with garments in hand, she exuded professionalism and an eagerness to learn. You'd think that of every graduate, but it really is not the case. My first question to many young designers is 'do you have another job'... I usually hope they do. Dreamers often think that putting your clothes in a store, results in overnight success. It does not. Shavi works in the trade and balanced preparing her collection according to feedback and all our demands while being committed to her day job. I really admire this.


I often disregard the design statements that arrive with a collection especially graduate ones, they can tend to seem all too 'floaty'. I recall, as an interior design student, (even though it's over 2 decades ago), being made to summarise inspiration into a paragraph of words. Most times it would just be constructed looking back on your own work and trying to write some 'blah' to impress a lecturer and appear to have some whole deeper thought process. Does there always need to be some inner meaning? All design is inspired, does it always need to make sense in words? Authenticity and individuality seem to be more important to me and you can spot it a mile.


In Shavi's case, however it took me back to exactly what her collection reflected when I first saw it - structure.

As a retailer, I often remind our audience that in the last over 10 years of PR, that we've found ourselves in a more responsible position of being story tellers of local design and the people behind it.

This new and mature collection entitled 'Rebirth of Colombo' deserves its inspiration appreciated alongside the collection as young Shavi intended and we are excited to be the platform to do so.



PR Is there a designer who inspires you?


Shavi Elsa Schiaparelli is one of the first luxury fashion designers to incorporate human anatomy in

their creations. This signature feature continues to play a role in the brand's collections each

season. I admire Schiaparelli for their avant-garde approach to haute couture.


PR Tell us about this collection you are launching and why did you choose white only for your launch collection?


Shavi 'Rebirth of Colombo' draws inspiration from the fading magnificence of Colombo's colonial-era architectural gems, including iconic landmarks such as the Colombo National Museum, General Post Office, Cargills Building, White Ways Building, and De Mel Building. These structures, once emblematic of the city's grandeur, now stand as silent witnesses to the passage of time, their splendour gradually fading into obscurity.



'Rebirth of Colombo' draws inspiration from the fading magnificence of Colombo's colonial-era architectural gems, including iconic landmarks such as the Colombo National Museum, General Post Office, Cargills Building.....
The choice of an all-white palette throughout the collection serves as a poignant metaphor for the fading vitality of these architectural treasures.

The choice of an all-white palette throughout the collection serves as a poignant metaphor for the fading vitality of these architectural treasures. Each garment, meticulously crafted in white, symbolizes the ethereal beauty and vanishing magnificence of these iconic buildings. Delicate gold embroidery adorning the pieces serves as a nod to the past, reviving the charm and motifs reminiscent of Colombo's colonial heritage.


PR What are the craft processes you've incorporated into the collection and what inspires the structure and detailing on your garments.


Shavi You will find meticulous embroidery and intricate stitching techniques, inspired by the architectural details of Colombo's colonial buildings. Each piece is carefully constructed to reflect the ornate motifs and structural elements found in these historic landmarks, infusing the garments with a sense of timeless elegance and cultural significance.


PR How do you feel about being a PR Rising Star?


Shavi I’m deeply grateful for Annika, the owner of PR and being recognized as a is truly an honour. It's a fantastic opportunity for emerging designers like myself to showcase our talent and creativity. I'm grateful for the chance to be a part of this program, as it provides invaluable support and exposure for young designers entering the industry. It's an exciting journey thus far, and I'm thrilled to be a part of it.


PR What inspires you and where do you hope to see your label grow?


Shavi I aspire to see my label grow into a renowned purveyor of luxury heirloom items, cherished for

generations to come. Each creation will be imbued with a rich narrative, inviting the wearer to become part of its story and cherish it as a beloved treasure in their wardrobe.


PR Do you have a favourite piece in the collection? Why?


My favorite piece in the collection is the “Museum ruffle sea dress” that is inspired by the Colombo National Museum. It holds a special place in my heart as it captures the essence of the museum's architectural beauty. The intricate details, such as the pintucks and the use of sheer lines to mimic the building's transparent windows, pay homage to its design. Moreover, the silhouette of the garment exudes a sense of pride and protection, reminiscent of the museum's role in preserving ancient masterpieces.


Shop Shavi (pictured below) at PR here


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