By Ravini Perera
Resort wear is all about casual elegance – that perfect blend of formality that is not over-the-top – and casual comfort. Resort wear is traditionally worn on vacation and is designed to be cool, elegant, and comfortable. Designed with tropical climes in mind, in countries like Sri Lanka, resort wear has a big role to play, not just for travellers visiting our shores, but for us Sri Lankan people as well, in giving us a new element of style with which to play.
Resort wear is no stranger to Sri Lanka; just last year, Colombo Fashion Week held a season that focused exclusively on luxury resort wear. Brunch chatted with Sadhina Abeysuriya, the owner and founder of one of Sri Lanka’s youngest resort wear brands, Yaara Alekhya Resort Wear Sri Lanka, a brand that is fast becoming a wardrobe staple for many travel enthusiasts across the country as an ideal choice for ocean lovers and all others who love to experiment with their holiday attire.
The availability of resort wear in Sri Lanka, in general, however, is limited, especially outside the luxury market, and so, many people are not aware of what resort wear is. Highlighting the versatility and dual purpose of resort wear, Sadhina explained that resort wear need not be worn just to the beach or to a star rated hotel. These outfits can be worn to any elegant function as one wishes.
Further imparting her wisdom on the way of selecting the best outfit for a day at the beach, she stated that: “When preparing for a day at the beach, the attire one chooses would have to be beautiful but it must also be very comfortable. Comfort starts with the fabric. Thick and heavy material will not be ideal for an outing while a soft and flowy material would be perfect. Therefore, one must select accordingly.”
Since its launch in December 2021, Yaara Alekhya Resort Wear has been styling both men and women with their colourful, charming, and contemporary designs that have become known for turning heads. Taking us behind the brand, Sadhina, who is also the owner and designer of ‘Pepela’ and ‘Coloured Universe (TY&DY)’ explained that Yaara Alehkya came about as a response to easing the struggle of deciding what to wear – a struggle she is all too familiar with. “This was the main reason behind the launch of this resort wear collection,” she said. “It was always a struggle to find that perfect piece of clothing to wear when you are on holiday. A dress that is comfortable and casual and at the same time stylish, all in one, was hard to come by.”
Resort wear for islanders
Sri Lankans possess an inborn love of the ocean, and for many of us, a visit to the beach is a common practice, especially now with the pandemic hindering most people’s overseas travel plans and making us explore and appreciate our beautiful island more and more. This said, settling on the perfect outfit to wear to a day out at the beach or even a beach party can often leave us baffled and struggling to look good while being comfortable. “At present, with the pandemic being brought under control, people have begun to travel once again,” Sadhina noted, and added that although packing the right outfits for a trip should not trouble people too much, it really does. “Hopefully, this collection would put an end to most of such worries.”
Sadhina named this new resort wear brand after her daughter, Yaara Alekhya. “I thought this was ideal for this project. She is the source of inspiration that keeps me going daily,” she said, and added that the encouragement and support she had received from her friends had also played a huge role in pushing her to pursue passions and create opportunities for herself in the world of fashion. Identifying the gaps in the industry and using her personal experiences helped her relate closely to the fashion desires of her clientele and to build herself an incredible platform.
The Yaara Alekhya Resort Wear collection offers a wide range of designs and colours to choose from. Maxi dresses, overalls for bikinis or swimwear, shirts, and jumpsuits are some of the many designs currently being sold. The viscose material that is soft on the skin and perfect for any occasion has also been highly admired by customers.
This resort wear collection has been designed mainly for the youth and all persons above the age of 20 years. Furthermore, travellers have also been keen on purchasing items from this collection. “Travellers, within the country and overseas, can include these designs, produced by a local brand in Sri Lanka, on their tours. One need not worry nor spend more to purchase similar clothes from stores overseas.”
Additionally, Yaara Alekhya’s versatility when it comes to styling has also drawn the attention of many buyers. “These outfits can be worn for a casual evening at the beach or even be glammed up for an elegant evening function,” Sadhina shared, emphasising: “That is the beauty of this collection, it suits any occasion, given that one simply masters the technique to dress accordingly.”
Blending style, comfort, and a reasonable price tag
“Regardless of the insecurities they have surrounding their appearance or weight, women love to dress up nicely and feel good in what they wear,” Sadhina said, explaining the different facets of Yaara Alekhya. “Hence, this collection has been made for women of all sizes, making all the ladies out there feel fabulous. Anyone will love them.”
The Yaara Alekhya Resort Wear collection can be bought from their social media platforms, where one can either opt to pick up their purchases or simply have them delivered to their doorsteps. “With the ongoing pandemic and increased online shopping, anyone and everyone can easily browse our social media channels, order the items of their choice and resort to contactless delivery,” Sadhina explained, adding that in a market where online shopping is often overpriced, Yaara Alekhya has been recognised to be worth every penny, with the brand seeing consistent demand for its colourful, classy, and comfortable offerings since its launch.
“I do not want to overprice the collection. Reasonable pricing has made the collection accessible to anyone, which is the main goal,” Sadhina said, expanding on how she keeps the collection grounded and affordable. “From the point of designing and selecting colours to the fabric used for the final product, nothing leaves the production process substandard.”
Having launched at Christmas, Sadhina said the festive season also highlighted the versatility of accessible resort wear, a perfect gift for loved ones. “Christmas 2021 was an extremely busy time for us as we had an incalculable number of orders. People were purchasing gifts for Christmas for multiple family members and friends from our collection. This was a testimony to the fact that these collections are easily accessible and budget-friendly,” she stated.
Out with the old, in with the new
Yaara Alekhya started off as an experimental project that has been a tremendous success. The success of its Christmas collection (its very first) has been driving the production team to meet the constant demand. Looking to 2022, a new collection of Yaara Alekhya is set to be introduced every two months including special themes for festivals and holidays. Similar to the Christmas collection launched in December, the upcoming collection will be introduced in March to mark the April holiday season and the Sinhalese and Tamil New Year, with another collection to follow for the summer holidays.
Each collection is also expected to possess vibrant colours, expanding the options available for customers. In other words, floral designs inspired by the cheeththa material (chintz fabric), seen commonly during the New Year season, will be included in the ‘Avurudu’ collection, while abstract and Ty-Dy designs will be launched to signify summer vibes.
While the pandemic changed much of our thinking and living patterns, Sadhina believes that there is more change to take place. “The old is new again. Fashions, styles, themes and much more that once was could be brought back. Prior to the pandemic, we opted for plain and neutral themes and colours,” Sadhina said, adding: “However, that has begun to change. For instance, floral and colourful designs for men are once again in style. Simultaneously, our collections will adapt to suit these styles of the buyers.”
Sadhina went on to explain her future plans of developing and re-launching her clothing lines in the months to come and possibly opening a store later this year. “I am blessed to have had the success that I did from the beginning and I am thrilled about the future. My ultimate goal is to open a physical store where people can buy all my clothing lines from under the same roof.” Another goal is for Yaara Alekhya to introduce ranges for children and teens and expand their client pool.
Fashion is an industry that is subject to constant changes and improvements. Hence, to be successful, one must work tirelessly, and Sadhina’s ‘go-getter’ attitude has contributed immensely to her success. “If you put your mind to it, you can go a long way and achieve great heights. Determination is an essential ingredient in one’s recipe for success,” she shared. “Another key element is to love what you do. From fabric shopping to designing and producing the end product, every aspect of the production process takes place under my direct supervision. No matter how difficult this job is, I enjoy every second of it. That is what makes the experience so special and worth it.”