8 Things You Should Know About Contemporary Fashion in Sri Lanka

Woman Shopping
Woman Shopping | © Freepik

Sri Lanka Hub Writer

Sri Lanka is known for its handmade woven looms and batik designs. The usual garment of sarees for women and sarongs for men are a great example of fine artistic manufacturing. Contemporary fashion designers use these classic techniques and create their own visions. With some Western influences mixed in, Sri Lanka’s contemporary fashion is reaching new heights. Here are eight things you should know about contemporary fashion in Sri Lanka.

Colour

Colour has never been absent from Sri Lankan fashion or textile design. Colour is certainly a common denominator when it comes to Sri Lankans, in clothing and in attitude. In all the aspects of Sri Lankan design that we will mention in this article, colour has something to do with it. From all the contemporary designers and collections, with whom we find the most colour and the most playful use of it, the M FACT collection at Barefoot Ceylon uses it best.
Cheers to Blue skies & Sunny days………______________________ #mfacthq #handcrafted #slowfashion #barefootceylon #colour #cotton #designer #detail #mensfashion
A post shared by M FACT (@mfact.design) on Apr 17, 2017 at 9:40pm PDT
Quiet Saturday mornings #barefootceylon #srilanka #handwoven #loom #barefootgalle
A post shared by BAREFOOT (@barefootceylon) on Feb 17, 2017 at 8:51pm PST

speech icon man in bubble

Destinations Unlocked:

Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip

Looking for an expert's perspective?

Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
speech icon man in bubble
left arrow trip map

CentralAmerica

GORGEOUS GUATEMALA

Gorgeous Guatemala

5 days . Mini
speech icon man in bubble

1. Guatemala

An express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.

Next

right arrow next slide
left arrow trip map

CentralAmerica

BEACHY BELIZE

Beachy Belize

5 days . Mini
speech icon man in bubble

2. Belize

A quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
left arrow previous slide

Next

right arrow next slide
left arrow trip map

CentralAmerica

COLONIAL MEXICO

Colonial Mexico

5 days . Mini
speech icon man in bubble

3. Mexico

An exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
left arrow previous slide

Back to Map

left arrow trip map

SouthAmerica

ADVENTUROUS ECUADOR

Adventurous Ecuador

8 days . Epic
speech icon man in bubble

1. Ecuador

A remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.

Next

right arrow next slide
left arrow trip map

SouthAmerica

ANCIENT PERU

Ancient Peru

9 days . Epic
speech icon man in bubble

2. Peru

An alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
left arrow previous slide

Back to Map

left arrow trip map

Europe

SEDUCTIVE SOUTHERN ITALY

Seductive Southern Italy

10 days . Epic
speech icon man in bubble

1. Italy

The ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.

Next

right arrow next slide
left arrow trip map

Europe

EDINBURGH AND THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS BY TRAIN

Edinburgh And The Scottish Highlands By Train

7 days . Culture
speech icon man in bubble

2. Scotland

Embark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
left arrow previous slide

Next

right arrow next slide
left arrow trip map

Europe

COMPLETE PORTUGAL BY TRAIN

Complete Portugal By Train

8 days . Culture
speech icon man in bubble

3. Portugal

A wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
left arrow previous slide

Back to Map

left arrow trip map

Asia

SOULFUL SOUTH KOREA

Soulful South Korea

10 days . Epic
speech icon man in bubble

1. South Korea

Discover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.

Next

right arrow next slide
left arrow trip map

Asia

THAILAND, CAMBODIA & VIETNAM

Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam

11 days . Epic
speech icon man in bubble

2. Thailand

From Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
left arrow previous slide

Next

right arrow next slide
left arrow trip map

Asia

SECRETS OF SRI LANKA BY TRAIN

Secrets Of Sri Lanka By Train

10 days . Culture
speech icon man in bubble

3. Sri Lanka

A fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
left arrow previous slide

Back to Map

left arrow trip map

Africa

EPIC MOROCCO

Epic Morocco

11 days . Epic
speech icon man in bubble

1. Morocco

An epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!

Next

right arrow next slide
left arrow trip map

Africa

ULTIMATE EGYPT

Ultimate Egypt

9 days . Epic
speech icon man in bubble

2. Egypt

From Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
left arrow previous slide

Next

right arrow next slide
left arrow trip map

Africa

IMMERSIVE KENYA

Immersive Kenya

8 days . Epic
speech icon man in bubble

3. Kenya

An immersive blend of culture and wildlife for first time travelers to Africa. Learn about Nairobi, sample local coffee in the Aberdares and finish up with a fantastic safari stay in the Masai Mara.
left arrow previous slide

Back to Map

Sarees

Sarees are the usual attire for women in Sri Lanka. Some wear a saree on a daily basis, out of choice, or because their work uniform calls for a saree. School teachers and office women wear sarees, as well as tea pluckers when it is their custom. Contemporary designers have taken the saree and redesigned it using new kinds of fabrics, like tie-dye or modern linen.

Contemporary designer, Nythia, designs unique sarees with fun batik designs, while ICO Sri Lanka designs urban sarees with handwoven cotton fabrics. Every woman in Sri Lanka gets herself a new saree for special occasions, like Christmas. Sri Lankan women have everyday and special occasion sarees, just like westerners do with dresses.
“Holding on to your values is ever so important in your journey of success and staying true to them” Accept yourself for the values you hold as they are what make you who you are. Sharing this throwback to styled in Urban drape designer saree. – with Fashion blogger Ruchi Raj @ruchirajofficial #GoInspire @fashionmarket.lk! . #GoOnInspireTheWorld #fashionmarketlk #srilanka #inspiration #instafashion # fashion #fashionblogger #streetstyle #streetfashion #travelgram #travelblogger #lifestyleblogger #style #fashion #lifestyle #independent #handwoven #handwoven #textiles#modernchic #minimalist #streetstyle #outfitoftheday #streetfashion #colombo #handcrafted #srilanka #anewsrilankanstyle
A post shared by Fashion Market (@fashionmarketlk) on Jul 25, 2017 at 9:38pm PDT
A little bit of sunshine to brighten up Monday and start off the week in an energetic twist. Shop the looks now on www.fashionmarket.lk! #boho #islandlife #wanderlust #travelblogger #inspiration #instafashion #style #hippie #fashion #lifestyle #handwoven #textiles#modernchic #minimalist #fashion #streetstyle #offshoulderdress #embroidery #colour #patterns #outfitinspiration #outfit #streetstyle #white #fashion ##outfitoftheday #anewsrilankanstyle #streetfashion #colombo #handcrafted #anewsrilankanstyle #srilanka
A post shared by Fashion Market (@fashionmarketlk) on Nov 20, 2016 at 8:41pm PST
Colombo Morning! Shop now on www.fashionmarket.lk #streetstyle #outfitinspiration #outfitoftheday #streetfashion #batik #patterns #colour #urbandrape #bold #modernstylestatement #anewsrilankanstyle#handwoven #designedandmadeinsrilanka #fashion #fashionweek #fashionoftheday
A post shared by Fashion Market (@fashionmarketlk) on Nov 8, 2016 at 7:00pm PST

Sarongs

Sarongs are the basic garment for men in Sri Lanka and in most of Southeast Asia. The original sarong is a tube of fabric folded and knotted at the waist at different lengths, depending on what the wearer is doing. In Sri Lanka, you will see men of all cultures wearing sarongs, such as tuk tuk drivers, fishermen, cooks and more recently, businessmen, who wear the modern sarong with pockets or even the tuxedo sarong by Lovi Sarongs.

Local contemporary designers in Sri Lanka have redesigned the original tube sarong in different ways. Barefoot Ceylon creates gorgeous classic sarongs with bright colours, all handcrafted in a handloom. Lovi Sarongs went a step further and added an easy-wear style with elegant designs and a tie-up string with pockets. Their newest designs are done in denim with an astronaut print.
It’s that sarong time of the year. A big ‘thank you’ from Barefoot to all our loyal customers and fans who rely on us for a pure cotton hand woven sarong. We will be weaving right up to the last minute to make sure we have stock at our three stores. #sarong #handloom #design #purecotton #cotton #srilankadesign #barefootceylon #barefootgalle #barefoot #srilanka #gallefort
A post shared by BAREFOOT (@barefootceylon) on Apr 6, 2017 at 10:44pm PDT
SUNDAY MOOD #Repost @mumblingfashion.lk ・・・ Summer nights and city lights, fulfill your wanderlust while trekking about the city dust, embrace the bright lights and the beach vibes with @lovisarongs . . #lovisarongs #lovedinlovi
A post shared by LOVI CEYLON (@lovisarongs) on Nov 12, 2017 at 1:27am PST

Batik

Batik is the art of creating designs on fabric using wax and colour dyes. Batik was introduced to Sri Lanka a little more than a hundred years ago and was brought from Indonesia. Since then, Sri Lankan batik has taken on a style of its own and contemporary designers are using the technique in their own designs. From sarees to dresses and men’s shirts, batik designs appear everywhere these days and some are quite spectacular.

Nythia, who was mentioned earlier, works with batik with great results, using designs that are not of Sri Lankan origin, but rather, have more of a western feel. There is plenty of batik in Sri Lanka but not all is as unique as the batik created by contemporary designers.
Island Street Style 🚗 Batik Crafted Tuk Tuk printed Cardigan Shop now on www.fashionmarket.lk/collections/accessories #weekend #beachwrap #islandgirl #cheerful #boho #islandlife #wanderlust #inspiration #instafashion #style #fashion #lifestyle #travelgram #travelblogger #fashion #travelinstyle #modernchic #minimalist #colour #patterns #outfitinspiration #outfit #fashion #outfitoftheday #colombo #streetstyle #streetfashion #anewsrilankanstyle #srilanka
A post shared by Fashion Market (@fashionmarketlk) on Jan 31, 2017 at 1:20am PST
Indi & Co. Contemporary and Independent Designers. Designer Indi Yapa Abeywardena. #fashion #fashionweek #summer #beauty #style #dress #women #voguemagazine #love #fashionweek #couture #designer #srilankashopping #shoppingsrilanka #fashionweeknews ##fashionphotography #srilanka #colombo #lk #lka #shopsrilanka
A post shared by INDI & Co. (@ico_srilanka) on Sep 8, 2017 at 9:37pm PDT

Linen

Being an island, Sri Lanka is a hot country. And there is no better fabric for hot countries than linen. Linen clothing is usually simple and clean cut, letting the fabric speak for itself. The new line, April Spence, by renowned contemporary Sri Lankan designer, Shaakya, is a light and feminine collection made up of sea- and sand-inspired pieces decorated with embroidery and beeralu lace. Tropic of Linen, an established linen house, always has new designs out, including sarongs, shirts and dresses.
Shop our selected items EXCLUSIVELY at INDI &I CO @ico_srilanka APRIL Spencer ICOsrilanka Address: No 15, Havelock Place, Colombo-5. Opening hours: 10am to 7pm ( Closed on Sundays ) @ico_srilanka @april_spencer_luxury_clothing @houseofshaakya @indi_yapa #icosrilanka #indibyindi
A post shared by House of Shaakya (@houseofshaakya) on Nov 16, 2017 at 12:27am PST
#strolling a #lazysunday in this #sunshine #saffron #linenshirt Only a few left in this colour! #mandarincollar #shortsleeve #linenaholic #Linen #linenshorts #shorts #TropicOfLinen #shopping #colombo #SriLankan #lka #fashion #sunday #summer #tropics
A post shared by TropicOfLinen (@tropicoflinen) on Jan 28, 2017 at 7:57pm PST

Sustainable fashion

Contemporary sustainable fashion in Sri Lanka uses materials sourced from the leftover fabric and trims that big factories usually burn or send to landfills. The new garments are sown by women around the country who work to sustain their families. The first ethical fashion designer in Sri Lanka was Red Cocoon, created by Mihiri de Silva in 2010. Nowadays, the most popular sustainable fashion designer is House of Lonali. Lonali sources scraps from factories all around Sri Lanka and employs craft artisans to make high fashion clothing and accessories.
‘Back of your mind’ collection by Lonali now available at @thedesigncollectivestore. Dress responsibly 💚. #houseoflonali #staple #dress #upcycled #sustainable #sustainablefashion #ethical #ethicalfashion #style #streetstyle #colomboboutique #colomboshopping #srilanka #lk #colombostreetstyle #casual #fun #comfort #easy #fashion #day #night #girl #women #unique #green
A post shared by Lonali ~ recycle reuse reduce (@houseoflonali) on Sep 13, 2017 at 7:31am PDT
Time to #getupcycled….. Check out our latest collection at @thedesigncollectivestore #lonali #upcycled #laceup #shoes #shoelover #shoeadict #walk #explore #travelcompanion #travel #style #streetstyle #colomboboutique #colomboshopping #designandmadeinsrilanka #handmade #love #fun
A post shared by Lonali ~ recycle reuse reduce (@houseoflonali) on Aug 22, 2017 at 8:10am PDT

Handwoven textiles

The handloom is a century-old technique used in Sri Lanka for making sarees and sarongs. Companies like Barefoot Ceylon and Seylan Fair Trade have brought the handloom into a new light by creating not only beautiful clothing but also home products like napkins, placemats, table covers and duvets.

Barefoot Ceylon calls on designers to create new collections every year and celebrates it with a fashion show in the courtyard of their Garden Cafe in Colombo. The garments from these collections are only available in the Colombo flagship store.
Weaving a sarong – and a shuttle in slow motion. #weaving #loom #handloom #barefootceylon #srilanka #handwoven #slowmotion
A post shared by BAREFOOT (@barefootceylon) on Mar 17, 2017 at 10:49pm PDT
Red shirts in the sunset. #handwoven #barefootceylon #red #shirt #style
A post shared by BAREFOOT (@barefootceylon) on Feb 20, 2017 at 4:01am PST
You don’t need to compromise on style to be sustainable! 💛🌺💛🌺💛 #selyn #srilanka #localcrafts #handwoven #handlooms #fairtrade #ethical #sustainablefashion #purchasewithpurpose #empoweredfashion #STHRIbyselyn
A post shared by Selyn (@selynfairtrade) on Nov 21, 2017 at 9:54pm PST

Denim

Denim is one of the newest introductions to the Sri Lankan contemporary fashion scene. Designers like Nythia use denim for her modern sarees and other designers use it to make easy dresses or shirts. But there is no other Sri Lankan designer that uses denim like H-D by Hafsa. Every design in the H-D line is created with denim and they are all unique.
Travel into the Blues! #denim #clothing #fashion #lifestyle #travel
A post shared by HD by Hafsa (@hdbyhafsa) on Jun 7, 2017 at 5:11am PDT
#throwback #Denimhandloom #Jeansaree #handloom #Saree #contemporarycraft #fashiondiaries #sareetrends #fashionstyle #denim #denimfashion #nithya
A post shared by Nithya Yamini Lamahewa (@nithyarn) on Jun 5, 2017 at 9:46pm PDT
Every woman of every shade, every Look and every place – this is for you! #denim #denimcollection #modernchic #anewsrilankanstyle #streetfashion #designedandmadeinsrilanka
A post shared by Fashion Market (@fashionmarketlk) on Sep 27, 2016 at 4:41am PDT

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider

Hanna

women sitting on iceberg

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?

2 years.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?

It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.

WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?

I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

X

Holiday Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article