Fashion l by Tina Edward Gunawardhana l 17 Nov 2023     - 123

The Ceylon Heritage Festival

Words: Tina Edward Gunawardhana

Photographs: Manoj Ratnayake

The Rachel Raj Foundation and the Ministry of Industries launched an inaugural fashion show dedicated to promoting artisanal traditional textile crafts through the new label Heritage Hands

Ten years ago, Sarita Rajandran launched her Rachel Raj, a resort and swimwear brand which champions artisanal crafts. Having worked closely with the artisans, Sarita was well aware of the issues they faced and often thought about how she could improve there situation and add value to the products they create. With this in mind and to celebrate the tenth anniversary of her label Sarita founded the Rachel Raj Foundation to empower and promote traditional textile crafts in international markets. She was well aware how well placed neighbouring India is in the textile and craft world and Sarita’s dream is to place Sri Lankan made fabrics and artisanal crafts on the global fashion radar.

Realising the herculean task ahead of her, she teamed up with the Ministry of Industries and under the guidance of the Minister Dr Ramesh Pathirana and the Industrial Development Board to birth the Ceylon Heritage Festival.

In its totality the Ceylon Heritage Festival will encompass fashion, art, music, literature and other aspects of
Sri Lankan crafts and culture. However its first event was the presentation of the  Heritage Hands fashion show.

Speaking of the wealth of crafts Sri Lanka has she says “for years, Sri Lanka’s textile cottage industries have been one of the island’s best-kept secrets. From our Dumbara weavers in the hill country to our beeralu lace makers down south and our palymrah fibre textiles from the north, nowhere in the world boasts the unique craftsmanship and quality of these centuries-old artisanal textiles. The art of the craft is privy to only a select few in rural Sri Lanka and has been passed down from generation to generation in order to keep this art form alive.”

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Tina Edward Gunawardhana

Tina Edward Gunawardhana is the Deputy Editor of Hi!! Magazine. She writes on a variety of topics which include travel, fashion, lifestyle, cuisine and personalities. She is also a journalist for the Daily Mirror Life. An intrepid traveller, Tina likes to show readers the world through her eyes and experiences. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - tinajourno or email her at

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