Tradition meets innovation: batik printed algae and peace silk with laser cut pineapple sequins and Swarovski upcycled crystals

Commonwealth Fashion Council

Explore the story of designer Darshi Keerthisena (Buddhi Batiks) from Sri Lanka and find out how she came to create her look for The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange, 2018.

The Exchange: Sri Lanka 
For The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange 2018, designer Buddhi Batiks created a look that highlights new and innovative materials and design techniques. The look was unveiled at Buckingham Palace on February 19, 2018, and later moved to the Australian High Commission, London, where it was open to the public in the run up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit, April 2018.
Sri Lanka: Designer Buddhi Batiks
Designer Darshi Keerthisena was surrounded by fabric from an early age, as her family began Buddhi Batiks back in the 70s. When she took on the company in 2005, her mission was to continue the work that her parents begun, by supporting the local batik artisans, many of whom have worked for the company from the start. The Buddhi Batiks workshop can be found in the village of Koswadiya, in north-western Sri Lanka, and has a reputation for providing some of the most intricate and delicate batik patterns. Darshi has received a ‘Women on Top’ award from ‘Equal Ground’, an organisation promoting equality, and the British Council Young Fashion Entrepreneur of the Year in 2008.
The story behind the look
Darshi created a wrap coat dress using Seacell™ fabric made from algae and silk. The look was complete with Swarovski upcycled crystals and laser cut sequins made from Piñatex.

Illustration of the dress

The pattern

Designer Darshi Keerthisena of Buddhi Batiks drew the pattern for the look.

The pattern was then printed on to fabric.

Seacell™ fabric

Darshi created a wrap coat dress using Seacell™ fabric made from algae and silk, and lined with peace (Ahimsa) silk from India.

Hand-pleated fabric

The fabric was hand pleated and batiked by Buddhi Batiks’ team of craft women in the village of Koswadiya.

Swarovski Upcycled Crystals

The look was embellished with laser cut sequins made from Piñatex, and Swarovski upcycled crystals.

Swarovski upcycled crystals were carefully placed on the dress.

Versatile dress

The sleeves are detachable for greater versatility.

Piñatex belt

The obi belt is made from Piñatex, a pineapple-based leather alternative.

Final look on display at Buckingham Palace, 19 February 2018

Final look on display at the Australian High Commission, London, 22 February 2018

Credits: Story

This content has been specifically curated for the Google Arts & Culture platform on behalf of the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange exhibition that launched on the 19th of February at Buckingham Palace in partnership with Swarovski, The Woolmark Company and MATCHESFASHION.COM.

The project, created and managed by Eco-Age, with the support of The Commonwealth Fashion Council and The British Fashion Council.

More information about the images is available by clicking on them.
Read more about the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange at

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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