ACEAE: The newest young fashion brand to hit the streets of Colombo

By Naveed Rozais   

The brand ACEAE (pronounced as “axia”) has been making an impression of sorts on Instagram lately. Offering a line of select pieces for the outgoing young woman, ACEAE creates an image of dynamic chic.

The Morning Brunch sat down with Founder Pavani Jayasinghe to learn more about the ACEAE brand and why it’s making waves.

Tell us a bit about the ACEAE story and how it came to be?

I’ve been thinking about starting my own brand since I was in Grade Six. Over the last few years, I’ve covered about three notebooks with research and experimentation, exploring different things and projects, falling, redoing, and trying to work out what my point of view was.

Covid-19 and the lockdown gave me a lot of time to research and reflect and made it easier to create and establish something impactful. I gathered the crux of all the research I had put together and decided to just go for it.

The ACEAE name comes from the scientific naming of flowers. Aceae is a suffix that forms the names of families of plants. I picked the name ACEAE because in memory of my grandmother who passed away not too long ago. Orchids were her favourite flower, and its scientific name is Orchidaceae. My grandmother has always been a great inspiration to me; she taught me how to sew and was greatly skilled. Most of what I do draws inspiration from who she was and the impact she had on my life.

Who are the people behind ACEAE?

The brand is a collective effort of so many people – so many friends of mine who came together to support me in the spirit fo friendship. While I handle the design end of the brand, I have one friend who helps me with the accounts and financial side of ACEAE, another who handles the social media and marketing aspects of the brand, as well as another friend who has been instrumental in making ACEAE’s deliveries happen.

It isn’t just me. It’s a whole team effort that makes ACEAE possible.

What makes ACEAE special?

ACEAE is a line of clothing that aims at giving young women from the ages of 18 to 35 something exciting to wear to parties, laid-back occasions, and nights in the town.

I’ve always been focused on creating something that is not in the Sri Lankan market right now, and this was what led me to develop the silk collection. ACEAE focuses on creating something unique for everyone to wear. We do free-size clothing that is comfortable for the Sri Lankan climate and interesting shapes for the creative, free-spirited woman.

I’ve also paid special attention to ACEAE’s impact on the larger world. Our packaging is 100% handmade and environmentally friendly. It can be reused, and even if it’s discarded, it is completely biodegradable.

ACEAE sells exclusively off Instagram, although we do plan on expanding our sales platform to include Facebook and Tik Tok as well.

What were your biggest challenges getting ACEAE off the ground? Has the Covid-19 pandemic played a part?

One of ACEAE’s big challenges getting off the ground was getting going financially. I started ACEAE with only my savings I had collected through the years, creating a limited line that captured the essence of the brand to get our message and aesthetic out to our customers.

Another challenge we faced was delivery and getting our products out to the customer cost-effectively, although this is an issue we have been able to work through successfully, working with our delivery partner Grasshoppers.

The pandemic, while coming with its own challenges, was one of the main reasons the brand stands on its own now. It gave me a lot of time to think about what I wanted from the brand and it inspired a lot of energy because I could focus solely on getting the brand up and running, given that all the other work was on hold during that time.

Post Covid, it hasn’t been that easy putting the brand out there. People are struggling financially and going out less. It’s not as easy to put out a partywear line as it would have been pre-Covid. That said though, the response to ACEAE has been incredibly positive. We’ve almost sold out our first collection.

What’s next for ACEAE?

We’ve received a lot of interest and iniquity regarding menswear. With our current collection almost sold out, I’m hoping to collaborate with two of my friends and create a line for men. For women, I’m looking to create a new take on the silk collection. We’re super excited to see how ACEAE develops over the next few months and years.