An Insight: Life as a Fashion-Design Lecturer
Interview by Nethmi Liyanapathirana. Photos by Kevin Michael
We at Chokolaate had the pleasure of sitting down with Chethini Samaraweera, a fashion design lecturer at Raffles (Institute of Design) Colombo. Chethini was more than happy to fill us in on life as a lecturer at this vibrant campus - along with interesting tit-bits on the path to becoming a fashion designer.
Willing to find out more? Here’s a quick look at what Chethini had to say!
How did you get into the fashion industry?
Being a student enrolled in the field of science (with a special flair for chemistry), I was introduced to the field of design by a confidant who was studying Architecture at the University of Moratuwa. From early days I had always been very enthusiastic about fashion and other areas of design. I’d even sew my own clothes in vivid styles back when I was attending school.
In the University of Moratuwa, where I attended for further studies, I had the option of selecting fashion design as my major - and the rest I guess, is history!
What is your job role at Raffles?
I work as a Fashion Design lecturer at Raffles, specializing in rather technical elements of design, such as sewing, draping, and my all-time favourite - pattern drafting. Once a design has been finalized, We draft the design, and the next step is to “bring it to life” by draping the design on a 3D model. This indeed requires a lot of practice - and every designer needs to be more than familiar with the aspect of drafting and sewing each design so that they can later produce a finalized item set to wow those in the audience!
How has your experience at Raffles been so far?
Having worked at Raffles for over 2 years, this has been by far, the best experience of my entire life! Raffles is now my second home, and the students are like my own. The atmosphere is more than welcome to any and all with a flair for design - both students and lecturers alike.
In your opinion, what makes Raffles different from other design institutes ?
Freedom. Raffles, and all those who teach under it, work as guiding lights that give students full creative liberty in coming up with their own inspirations. The creative freedom that the students are awarded is truly a defining characteristic of Raffles. Other than freedom, Raffles also works to award it’s students the best in terms of an all-round design experience. Technical knowledge that most may find not as important is given as much prominence as the “fashion” and “design” elements. At Raffles, students will find space to really grow, express, and find themselves as the up and coming designers of tomorrow!
What message would you like to leave with your fellow fashion enthusiasts?
The biggest challenge you’ll face as a designer, is coming up with your own innovations - but that is what’ll make you unique! As a designer always aspire to be innovative, and embed your sense of originality into your designs. Don’t just learn the design aspects of your field of interest, but familiarize your self with the more technical aspects as well. Only then will you truly understand what it is to be a fully-realised fashion designer!
Chethini is a great reminder of how, regardless of what field of study you may enroll in during the primary years of your life, it’s never too late to follow your passion and start doing what you love! And if that’s being a fashion designer or even a fashion enthusiast - safe to say that Raffles is a place in which you’ll be more than welcome!