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Behind the scenes of 'Ideators' - episode 6:

Weaving diversity into tradition



Daniel loses his trail of
thoughts at the boardroom
Beeralu interwoven with
southern womenfolk’s life

Nimble fingers weave breath-taking patters to cover the designs pinned to the Beeralu kotte (pillow). The spectacular, authentic Beeralu-based products on display bring about the Southern flavour as they enthrall onlookers.

Last week British Council's 'Ideators' reality television show took its viewers to the heart of Dickwelle, where they were given a task which combined traditions with modern designs. The task was set by British Council's Young Fashion Entrepreneur of the year 2011, Kasuni Ratnasuriya of KUR fame. The challenge was to incorporate Beeralu into a menswear product.

A flourishing industry in the Southern part of Sri Lanka, Beeralu lace making is also known as the art of pillow lace making. Old and young women from all walks of life have now made it a part of their life. Weaving stunning patterns with delicate thread was truly a sight to behold as Daniel discovered.

"Watching the woman create such delicate lace was absolutely fascinating. I only wish we had more time to talk to the woman there. It was my first time seeing this lace being woven and what an experience it was!" Nottingham Trent University student mused.

Lion Heart picked Luke as their leader while Reflex's team leader was Adam.

Speaking about his first opportunity to lead the team Adam revealed that it gave the opportunity for other members of the team to see him in action and how he deals with pressure.


Adam is overwhelmed by the hospitality at Dickwella Lace Centre

A lady explains the art of Beeralu lace weaving to Nimanthie and Udana

The contestants in a jolly mood on their way to Dickwella

Reflex’s Indrajith and Dan speak to the ladies weaving Beeralu

Kasuni Ratnasuriya briefs the teams

"As team leader, the spotlight is well and truly on you! Another difference is that the boardroom feels a lot more intense when you are sat there as a leader because you automatically become more vulnerable. You begin to reflect on the task and think about 'how could I have done better in that situation?' or 'how could I have led the team better in that instance?' However, I have no regrets in the way that I led the team and I wish to thank the guys for their contribution," he quipped.

Explaining the concept behind the Beeralu laced shirt Adam said that the members decided to take a different route.

"In previous episodes we were criticised for coming up with ideas that were too 'out of the box'. With this task, we tried to tone down our creativity to be sure that we hit the brief. We tried to go for a safer option by developing a product that would fit comfortably with the brand values, whilst complimenting the ladies range. As this was the first garment to be produced in the men's range, I believed, along with the rest of the team, that an everyday item such as a shirt or t-shirt would be most suitable," the 21-year-old from Plymouth University told the 'Daily News'.

He added that the plan would act as a low cost opportunity for KUR to test the market with this item with the intention of introducing other items at a later date.

"The shirt was smart, drew attention to the best features and incorporated an ethical contribution to a training scheme for the workers at the Beeralu Lace Centre. In this case, the consumers purchase had a positive impact on a dying industry and gave extra value to the shirt - something that was highlighted in the brief," he said.

Daniel says, "I think the hardest part was trying to create a different type of style with the lace. It was also difficult to keep within the time constraints. We only had two hours to come up with the design and get the lace made. This was difficult especially when none of us had worked with Beeralu lace before."

Menswear and Beeralu lace make a strange combination. However Lion Heart's Nimanthie came up with the novel idea of incorporating the lace into a tie!

"I do believe that the idea for a tie tipped the scale in our favour. Anything else and it would have been tougher to pick a winner," her team mate Lara opined.

Lara also got a shocking experience while embarking on the task when a snake happened to stop by to view the 'Ideators' at work. Queried about the incident, Lara broke into a fit of giggles.

"Ha, ha. I think I was walking out to get something and as soon as I stepped outside I saw this long snake dash across really fast. I was certain it was coming to eat me so I screamed! I REALLY hate snakes- it's so amazing that an animal that has no legs can move so quickly," she laughed.

The designs were finally done and the teams were prepared for presentations.

Unfortunately Daniel lost his trail of thoughts in the board room and had to pay the price once Lion Heart triumphed in a row.

Reflecting on the elimination Adam said, "I always struggle to predict who will be eliminated. So Daniel going was another shock. He did a great job throughout the task and in previous episodes. He contributed some fantastic ideas, and was very outspoken - which is something I admire, and can relate to."

Though they were declared winners the Lion Heart members were in for a shock because they had to lose a member to balance the teams. Chief Judge and British Council Country Director Tony Reilly picked Lara to move over to team Reflex.

"The team felt a bit cheated because we won, but somehow lost at the same time. It took me a while to adjust, I have to admit. I had the feeling it would be myself or Nimanthie because there were no fashion designers on the other team.

I wasn't really happy about moving over, but that's what keeps a challenge a challenge. To be able to really enjoy another win, we all had to be challenged. It was a curve ball we'd been expecting," the student from the London College of France admitted.

Reflecting on his elimination a disappointed Daniel noted, "I have always been a hard worker and I put 100 percent into anything I do. This task was different to the others as not only was I doing research design and making sure the woman knew what we were doing but also helping Adam with the marketing and advertising. Nothing actually went wrong in the task it was all to do with the presentation. Half way through I just froze.

Luckily Alex stepped in for me but as soon as that happened I knew I was going home."

However the good sport that he is, Daniel promised that there are many more surprises in the coming weeks for 'Ideators' fans. Keep your fingers crossed. Who will be eliminated next? The fun loving Udana, the dynamic Suraaj, the gifted Lara or the charming Adam?

Catch 'Ideators' on Independence Television Network (ITN) every Saturday at 9 pm.

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