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Khalida, young entrepreneur plays colours and textures

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Chief guests Faleela Be Jurampathy and Kadeeja Razzak

By Zanita Careem

Walk into “Arwa Studio” at One Galle Face Mall and you cannot help but notice the exclusive collection of abayas, shawls, bags and other silhouettes – a beautiful blend between the modern and tradition clothing, Born out of passion, her abaya collection infuses colour, elegance and style. Khalida Jameel, a young entrepreneur, started her eponymous luxury clothing label recently. Her signature label has become renowned for its exquisite abayas and shawls. Hailing from a conservative Muslim family, she had her first Abaya studio at home, but with the growing demand for her creations, she decided to move out. Subsequently the Arwa Studio was born. ” My journey was one of inspiration and aspiration and we decided to give “Arwa Studio” a permanent home on the 9th floor at One Galle Face .

The elegant and sophisticated designs at Arwa Studio make them a wardrobe staple for those seeking a touch of glamour and modesty.

The intricate embroidery, beadwork, and sequin embellishments further enhance their beauty, adding a touch of opulence to all of her ensembles, Whether you opt for a classic black abaya or explore vibrant colours and patterns, the result is her creations exude grace and elegance.

.Her Abaya Studio was born out of labour of love between Khalida and husband, Adlan Nazeemudeen who worked together hand in hand putting it all together. Words of encouragement from her family and friends were incredible.

What made you to take this venture seriously and make a career out of it?

The success I found after creating my first opening and the positive vibes I received made me to take fashion seriously and wanted to make a career without engaging in mundane household chores.

How has your work evolved since you began your own label?

In regard to the style I make sure to introduce new designs and ideas every season and to still maintain my signature style. I have a team of specialist and experienced seamdresses to maintain higher standards of professionalism.

Young entrepreneur Khalida Jameel

Khalida with Reema Azeez and Hafsa Huzair and mother Nazik

Tell about your design philosophy?

Arwa Studio is all about the woman who loves style, appreciates quality and has an eye for beauty, we love to play with soft and bold colours by mixing textiles and creating contrasts. My styles are unique and one of a kind.An Abaya is a super hero’s cape and women are the modern day superheroes. I have an eye for colours. and always add a touch of glitter. My abaya collection creates a perfect blend with the veil of ‘hijab’ adding to the serene beauty of women. I carefully choose embellishments to spice up the splendour of the Abaya designs, accessories and embellishments. These embellishments can either dampen the designs or add life to it.

How do you describe your sense of style?

My Abayas are modern, contemporary, and I try to give a modern twist beyond its traditional image and look. If you’re a fashion enthusiast, The beauty of my collection lies not only in thier outward apperance but also in the comfort they provide. These loose fitting nature of my abayas allows for ease of movement ,making them suitable for various occasions and our climate.

To me abayas give confidence. It’s more than a design, fabric or even the brand. Its all about wearing it with confidence.

Describe your brand?

Experimental, elegance and chic.

Black Abayas vs coloured Abaya what would you choose and why?

Definitely black. Black Abayas are elegant, timeless and easy to wear.

Beautiful decor for the Arwa Studio was created by Hafsa Huzair

Pix by Nishan S Priyantha



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Fashion

Lilamani celebrates birthday with style

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Gracious charm and hospitality at its best was enjoyed by the many friends and relations who gathered to wish Lilamani, popularly called “Lala,” all the best on her birthday, celebrated at the Victorian Room of the Kingsbury Hotel.

The guests enjoyed sparkling conversation, and cake and wine. There was a gourmet spread and music from a live band.Of course style was right on top of the ring and many women gave the impression of having stepped out of the pages of a fashion magazine.

With Lilamani and her sisters and nieces among the best dressed, her friends, too, joined the brigade of style. Some doned exquisite sarees and glamorous gowns while others kept it minimal, yet stylish, in smart casuals.

By Zanita Careem

Dr. Lilamani Wijayaratna was a general Physician who worked in UK, having qualified from the Colombo Medical Faculty, she served as a medical officer for many years in Sri Lanka before she moved to UK.

While medicine and fashion are for apart Dr. Lilamani, or “Lala” as friends called her was the exception to the rule.””

“My first love was medicine” she says recalling her desire to be a doctor which was my childhood dream’’ While this desire was within her throughout, style and fashion was part of her life. Hailing from a creative family, her father,Donald Wijayaratna, owner of the then popular Donald Studios and her artistic and creative mother who she adores, had a strong influence on her life and career.Lilamani affirms that her parents creative genes influenced her in many ways than one . ‘I feel my mother’s fashion vibes were felt within me from childhood. From the time time we were kids my mother made sure we were impeccably dressed and fashion was always part of our dressing sense’ she says.Having broken into the fashion world while being a doctor, Lilamani had many fashion shows in UK as well as in Sri Lanka showcasing her clothes designed by her.

Now back home on a permanent basis after a lucrative career in UK, Lilamani is now very much involved in sustainable welfare and social work.She is not just adored by her friends for success in her medical career, but also her style mantra. Whenever and wherever she attends an event , Lilamani emerges as a mesmerising embodiment of elegance leaving an indelible imprint on the tapestry of fashion,effortlessly embodying a harmonious blend of grace,style and timeless allure.

Her birthday soiree was nothing short of a glamorous affair. For this grand occasion, Lilamani wore a stunning ensemble which was both classic and stunning. Some of Lilamani’s batchmates from the Medical College were in attendance. Will Lilamani with her talent and creativity take up to designing clothes?

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Fashion

Joey Clothing opens flagship store

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Joey Clothing, celebrated for infusing joy and happiness into women’s wardrobes across the island recently opened its flagship store at 109 Isipathana Mawatha, Colombo 05. The grand opening event featured an exclusive high-tea and a runway show highlighting Joey’s latest clothing collection.

The beautifully designed flagship store offers shoppers a unique experience with racks of Joey’s signature ‘Happinesswear’. Each piece is crafted from the finest, lightweight fabrics in pleasing colours and patterns, designed to uplift spirits and ensure comfort and style. Joey Clothing’s designs are tailored to fit the Sri Lankan body structure and shape, providing unique styles, cuts, and fits.

This brand was founded by Rashmi Wijekoon, inspired by her personal journey. Reflecting on her postpartum experience, Rashmi shared, “After giving birth to my son, I struggled to find clothes that were comfortable, stylish, and made me feel confident. This challenge led to the creation of Joey Clothing, transforming a mere idea into a reality.”

Launched online over half a decade ago, Joey Clothing quickly grew as women across Sri Lanka resonated with the brand’s promise of stylish, comfortable clothing. The organic growth of the brand highlights the happiness Joey Clothing brings to its customers. Rashmi’s authentic connection with the brand, combined with minimally styled lifestyle shots, has helped Joey Clothing stand out in the market. The increasing number of new and returning customers highlights Joey as one of Sri Lanka’s premier and emerging local female fashion stores.

“All I aimed to do was create something for all women—designs that were on-trend, stylish, and allowed them to feel comfortable throughout their day,” Rashmi explained. “The overwhelming response and the growth of our customer base confirmed the real need for such clothing. This led to the establishment of our online store and now the opening of our flagship store.”

The concept of ‘Happinesswear’ is embedded in every aspect of Joey Clothing. Each design is crafted for ease of movement, using premium lightweight fabrics ideal for Sri Lanka’s tropical climate. The bright patterns and colours are designed to evoke the essence of island life. Joey Clothing ensures that women feel comfortable and confident through all stages of life.

Joey Clothing is also dedicated to uplifting local communities by employing individuals in the production and manufacturing processes. The brand is 100% homegrown, empowering local men and women and providing livelihoods that enhance their lives and the lives of their families.

The flagship store’s vibrant yet minimal design sets it apart from other retail spaces in Sri Lanka, offering an inviting atmosphere to experience the joy of Joey Clothing in person. Customers can explore a wide selection of the brand’s collections available for purchase.

From excelling at Colombo University to running one of Sri Lanka’s upcoming clothing e-commerce stores, Rashmi Wijekoon continues to lead Joey Clothing’s organic growth both online at www.joeyclothing.com and now in-store. Shoppers can visit Joey Clothing’s store in Battaramulla or the new flagship store in Colombo 05.

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Fashion

Enticing scent enthusiasts

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The first fragrance carnival was held at the Body Shop store located in Colombo City Centre recently. This fragrance carnival featured expert tips on perfumes . The event included fun games and VIP goodie bags for influencers. Customers were able to engage with experts who could guide, and educate on-ground visitors, and helped them expand their fragrance knowledge.

The Body Shop’s fragrance collection was the highlight of the event, featuring their iconic musk – a signature scent since its debut in 1981. Updated with sustainable packaging and complementary scents for layering and personalization, this vegan product now includes new additions to the musk family. Inspired by floral elements, Body Shop’s Full Flowers range draws inspiration from the whole flower – this collection is crafted by blending notes of soft petals, green leaves, woody stems, juicy fruits and sweet resin. A unique feature is that as the day goes on, these fragrances evolve, delicately revealing each of their features, one by one. The full flowers range features scents such as iris, ylang ylang, orange blossom and rose.

Body Shop’s Choice Collection is designed for daily wear and focuses on empowering and uplifting vegan scents made for every mood. The collection invites the wearer to choose their scent based on their mood – whether they are happy, calm, free, vibrant or slightly rebellious – there is a scent designed for every mood.

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