Beyond drapes and looms

By Chenelle Fernando

An event occasioning the work that goes into the sophisticated designs of drapes and looms took place on 31 March at Hype Studio, Colombo.

The evening comprised an exhibition and pop-up store to showcase the convergence of Nifty Looms and Kankaari, which exhibited accessories made using the age-old art of beeralu (bobbin lacemaking) alongside bespoke attire and pieces. The collaboration was essentially an attestation to the friendship between Nifty Looms Co-owner Thamosha Tharindi and Kankaari Founder Hasini Liyanage.

Nifty Looms is the product of the mother-daughter duo Stella Edirisinghe and Thamosha Tharindi. As Tharindi indicated, Nifty Looms features beeralu, macramé, and crochet products. Edirisinghe, with her experience as a guru shilpini (teacher) of the craft at the National Arts Council and her daughter Tharindi, with her strategic and technological expertise, hope to revive the dying art of bobbin lacemaking. Tharindi also brings in her creative expertise through her contemporary designs and creations on macramé. Sharing her thoughts on moving forward with her collaboration with her mother, Tharindi said: “With my background in IT and my passion for entrepreneurship, I believe joining my mother was the best way forward.”

Mother of one, Hasini Liyanage studied design and product development at the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) and always had the passion for design. Speaking about her initiative to develop her brand Kankaari, she shared: “It all boiled down to a gut feeling. It was always in the books for me to start a label and that too independently, following my passion and where my talents take me.” Kankaari mostly features designer sarees and casual wear.

The event was twofold; the first half was the closed-door segment occasioned by special invitees comprising individuals from the fashion realm, media, as well as close friends, while the latter half was open to the public eye. The attendees were the first to both witness the immaculate designs and pieces showcased by both brands and have one-on-one discussions with the designers on their craft, followed by refreshments.

As we learnt, all items are custom-made. Collectively, we were able to observe an array of items on display, ranging from designer sarees, beachwear, casual wear, and babywear to fashion accessories, household items, and wedding decorations. Apart from this, a live demonstration of the work that goes into the craft took place at the premises, where the guests were able to witness the creation of the fabrics and beeralu pieces first-hand.