Endless summer with Thambili Island

By Pujanee Galappaththi

Given that we are an island famous for our tropical weather and beaches, there is no surprise in summer wear being extremely popular in Sri Lanka. But with quite a lot of beachwear brands popping up in Sri Lanka, beach fashion has become quite competitive. Most tourists visit Sri Lanka and look to shop for our unique designs, which is why we must remain on top of the game with regard to beach fashion.

This week, The Sunday Morning Brunch spoke to Dishnira Saparamadu, Founder and Designer of Thambili Island, an exotic beachwear brand offering endless summer collections. It is an ethical brand that supports small businesses and is concerned about protecting our island. They offer affordable items with a rather sizeable export base. Thambili Island offers summer wear, including beachwear and resort wear, mostly in the styles of kaftans, kimonos, and cover-ups. Mainly functioning online through their website as well as Instagram and Facebook, Thambili Island also stocks at renowned boutiques like The Design Collective, Lagoon Lab, and The Deep End.

When asked about the inspiration behind Thambili Island, Saparamadu said: “When I moved to Sri Lanka, I immediately started working. After a busy week, I was always ready to head to the beach and cool off during the weekend. Then I started looking for beachwear locally and was quite surprised at the outcome. I realised that there is a great void in island wear in this lush island. And with a lot of requests from my friends and family, Thambili Island was born.”


Speaking about her design process, Saparamadu stated that all the designs offered by Thambili Island are designed by herself, after which her team helps her transform these designs into beautiful pieces of clothing. Most of her collections are based on the places she has travelled. She also shared that she derives inspiration from her surroundings.

“First, I draw my designs. Then, I decide on a colour palette and create a mood board. Next, I decide on the fabric. The fabrics I use are mostly chiffon and cotton as I believe it is crucial to use breathable fabrics that will easily withstand the tropical weather of Sri Lanka. I also use a lot of lace on my pieces because I love the texture it gives the products. All the fabrics used in my products are purchased locally,” she explained.

Saparamadu confessed her love for bright colours and the reason behind most of her collections being composed of very bright and daring colours. “I love to make fun and eye-catching designs. I believe bright colours go perfectly with the warm and turquoise tones of the sea. Also, as I want my products to be a gift my clients give themselves, I want the products to look bright and beautiful.”

We asked what their most popular item was and why she thinks it is adored by their clients, she said: “Our most popular piece so far is the ‘horizon kaftan’, specifically the mustard-coloured ones. I think this is because of how wonderfully it compliments your body and the beautiful silhouette this produces.

Asked to list down some tips for the ladies, here’s what Saparamadu recommended:

For those who think they are only for the beach, what are four occasions to which these beautiful kimonos and kaftans can be worn?

They can be worn to a casual lunch paired with shorts, on a regular day out paired with jeans, to work on a Friday, and, of course, as a beach cover-up paired with swimwear.

What are four tips you could give on what they can be paired with for the perfect outfit?

You can pair it with a rattan bag, wear it with hoop earring and long necklaces, pair it with a body-con dress and a pair of heels for parties, or pair it with a pair of sneakers and jeans for a casual day out or a Friday at work.

What are some tips on how to take good care of beachwear after purchasing?

The aftercare for our kimonos and kaftans is simple. The chiffon cover-ups need not be ironed. The cotton ones can be ironed before wearing. It is important to remember that you must handwash them as they are delicate pieces. That’s about it.