A floral affair: Pattern Motive launches Tropical Sunset 

Ayo by Pattern Motive was founded by Heshari Palihawadana, a surface pattern designer who brings life to patterns inspired by travels around the world. Pattern Motive is the umbrella branding of Ayo, which is the clothing line, and Mo, which is a stationery and home decor brand.

Heshari Palihawadana

Palihawadana is an advocate for slow fashion, aiming to build her brand with minimal waste. Ayo is an identity that ensues eternal beauty through whimsical art filled with bold colours made for fabric that celebrates a colourful life.

Her brand name stems from her middle name, which is Ayodya, and illustrates the beauty of nature. Speaking about how the brand came to be, Palihawadana explained: “It’s always been a dream of mine to draw the patterns that I see in nature. I hand drew some of my prints and digitised them, and I wanted to see how it would look in the real world on an outfit.” She also added that before this collection, the label would put out sarees, but with the pandemic, the amount of events that had been happening reduced significantly, so she moved into something more open-ended that could be worn either casually or at an event. 

Her latest collection, Tropical Sunset, launched on 1 April at The Design Collective, is her first ready-to-wear collection, and was inspired by the Sri Lankan sunset, which is merging with the horizon and the ocean. She stated: “The teal and blue colour that you see in the designs are a reflection of this; they are meant to portray what I usually wear.” 

The satin collection consists of loose-fitting, voluminous maxi and shift dresses, perfect to be worn at any function. She further added that the flower prints are inspired by plumeria, which is the scientific name for the commonly found araliya flowers, and also by lillies. “At least 80% of my designs are inspired by nature, and the rest is by architecture – anything, that is; even the texture of timber is an inspiration to me. I also draw my inspiration from my travels within Sri Lanka and abroad, and drew out certain patterns that caught my eye – that is how my designs are developed.” 

Going into detail on her stationery label, she explained that the main outlet for her patterns was the Pattern Motive brand. “I wanted to create anything and everything out of the patterns that I design. I have a range of notebooks that are all handmade, with the patterns that I curated from scratch.” Her range of home decor items include table linen, coasters, table mats, and placements, again imprinted with her originally designed patterns.

Her brand ethos focuses on minimal cycles, and promotes slow fashion and sustainability. “We don’t release like 10 collections a year; it’s a maximum of three collections, so we are always thinking about the minimal textile quantity that we print.” Tropical Sunset also consists of about 30-35 pieces, in line with the brand values of the label. 

Speaking more on this, Palihawadana added: “We are not doing mass market sales; we cater to a very small, niche market. Once we get the prints in order, we send it to the factory to be stitched, and we always request for the scrap fabrics, which we use to create facemasks and hair ties. With minimal wastage, we have created our entire collection.”  

Talking about what she thinks makes her brand stand out from the rest, she pointed to the versatility of her collection. “The versatility is something I always want to maintain. I want customers to be able to safely wear what they buy this year, over the next few years, without being hesitant that it would go out of style.” She added that for her, trends are never her main focus; she is very keen on being comfortable in what she wears, which is why most of her collections feature loose dresses. “They are timeless – you can wear it at any time of the day, or anytime of the year, for that matter.” 

Pattern Motive has some projects in the pipeline, Palihawadana revealed, adding that she is planning to release another collection that comprises loungewear, made with a different fabric type. “The next collection will be more laid back, and hopefully towards the end of the year, I will release a party wear range in lieu of the festive season.” 


PHOTOS Eshan Dasanayaka