It’s often said that the most impactful works tend to come from one’s lived experiences. London-based Sri Lankan designer Amesh Wijesekera and his gender-inclusive label is a fine example.
Peek at the brand’s Instagram account (@amesh.wijesekera) and it comes across like a romantic (albeit very stylish) family album. He tends to cast friends and family as models, kitting them out in his lushly textured and coloured separates (zippered vests transformed out of vintage sarees; rainbow-hued knit vests; bandung-pink, tassel-trimmed shirts!).
Amesh Wijesekera, the Sri-Lankan fashion designer behind the London-based handcrafted fashion label, Amesh.
There’s another reason too: Growing up, the 28-year-old – who identifies as queer – says he would never have been able to wear such a vibrant wardrobe openly. Translating such childhood insecurities into fertile ideas as a designer has found resonance not only with young Sri Lankans, but also the international fashion circuit.
Last month, Wijesekera was named the winner of the inaugural Reference Incubator Programme, which offers support to underrepresented POC (people of colour) designers and is overseen by a committee of who’s who, including Hans Ulrich Obrist and consultant-for-Supreme Zainab Jama.