These 5 Sri Lankan Designers Are Redefining Ceylon Fashion | Verve Magazine
India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
April 01, 2017

These 5 Sri Lankan Designers Are Redefining Ceylon Fashion

Text by Tanisha Choudhury and Sadaf Shaikh

Get to know more about their label, design aesthetics and vision for the future

Through PR, a part of her father’s empire Paradise road in Colombo, Annika Fernando has been working with indigenous designers. Aiming to put Sri Lanka on the global fashion map, her curation reflects a relaxed, easy, tropical vibe that is relevant to our time. Her store is home to labels that reimagine traditional Batik prints, work on minimal yet statement-making jewellery and some that support fair trade by empowering local artisans.

Maithili Ahluwalia, the founder of Bungalow 8, finds similarity in Fernando’s curation — marrying the classic with the current. And together they bring to Mumbai a pop-up that features labels by Sri Lankan designers (which is taking place at the Wankhede Stadium until April 2, 2016).

Verve speaks to these emerging designers about their brands and more…


On designing
“It was something of a natural progression for me. My father and older sister are both designers and through the work I do at my gallery I have always been surrounded by creativity. I felt it was time to start designing myself and jewellery was already an area I had been working with for some time.”

Working with the family
“My father started Paradise Road in 1987 and since then it has been an integral part of both of our lives. Being able to work with PR and my sister Annika’s vision of design is such a joy for me. She manages the jewellery and places it into an aesthetic that I can relate to.”

About Papillon du thé
“The Sri Lankan identity of my brand is important to me. Handcrafted jewellery is a dying craft worldwide, so I work with artisans who have small workshops and focus on quality and traditional techniques. My vintage and filigree lines are produced by a third-generation silversmith, while much of the minimal line is produced by a second generation silversmith in the south of the island. By supporting them I feel we are contributing to the sustainability of their industry.”

Your design aesthetic
“Our statement jewellery is minimal yet feminine. I work on different lines and elements while using high quality semi-precious stones with unusual cuts and deep colour. The stones are often cabochon or sphere cut, some even completely abstract in shape.”

Next: Sonali Dharmawardena

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