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Taste for good cars

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BOOK REVIEW

VINTAGE DENNIS AND ROBEY VEHICLES IN SRI LANKA by Ali Azeez; 60 pages, A5 size, numerous black-and-white and colour illustrations; published privately in 2014.

Copies in PDF format may be obtained free of charge by emailing the author at aliazeez07@gmail.com .

Reviewed by Roger Thiedeman

The pioneers of Sri Lanka’s vintage car movement in 1953 were Capt. E.B. ‘Tabby’ Murrell, Mr. Edward ‘Bugs’ Mason, Mr. H.C. (Chitru) Peiris, and Mr. W.R. Daniel. In following decades the old car ‘baton’ was passed on to other stalwarts, of which Mr. Vere de Mel was one. Another was the author of this book, Mr. Ali Azeez.

Ali’s enthusiasm for motor cars, especially what are today considered vintage and classic automobiles, began at an early age. Born into a family noted for its good taste in cars, it was inevitable that Ali would develop an interest in all things automotive: driving, maintaining, owning, and collecting a variety of vintage vehicles, while reading extensively on the subject. Today he is the proud owner of a 1936 Riley Lynx ‘Special Series’ tourer that once belonged to a close relative, and a 1937 Citroën Traction Avant 11CV Familiale (11B) long-wheelbase saloon. Land Rover is another marque beloved of Ali Azeez.

In time Ali became an active committee member of a succession of veteran/vintage car clubs in Sri Lanka, culminating in him holding senior positions in the Vintage Car Owners’ Club of Sri Lanka (VCOC). That was a period when, in addition to his knack for organising and promoting numerous vintage car rallies, road races and exhibitions, as the VCOC’s Newsletter Editor Mr. Azeez began to research and write ‘dossiers’ tracing the histories of interesting old cars for publication in the Newsletter. The subjects he chose were mostly vehicles owned by club members, but others from Sri Lanka’s motoring past were featured too.

One of Azeez’s in-depth profiles is the only detailed history of one of the rarest and finest cars to grace the roads of old Ceylon: a 1924 Napier 40/50 hp Cunard limousine which was imported by a distinguished member of his family.

In view of the passion, time and energy Ali Azeez selflessly invested in serving the VCOC, his involuntary exit from the club more than a decade ago in circumstances of which he was an innocent victim, can only be described as unjust and senseless.

Despite that blow, Ali Azeez never lost either his love of vintage cars or avid interest in motoring history. If anything, it gave him more time, opportunity and motivation to begin learning about types of vehicles that most other vintage enthusiasts might regard as ‘unglamorous’ and unworthy of their attention. This book is partially the result of that work.

Inspired by photos this reviewer took in 2011 of the Kandy Municipal Council’s preserved 1929 Dennis G-type fire engine, and two Robey steam wagons at the Sri Lanka-German Railway Technical Training Centre (SLGTTC), Ratmalana, Ali began his quest to discover as much as possible about the individual histories and mechanical characteristics of those vehicles. With encouragement from Mr. Brian Elias, a personal friend of Ali’s and Editor of a local newspaper’s motoring supplement, Mr. Azeez contacted several organisations in the UK dedicated to the preservation and history of old fire engines and steam-powered wagons (lorries) and traction engines.

Key members of those societies, with whom Ali forged close relationships, generously provided him with vast amounts of information, including rare photos and excerpts from specialist journals pertaining to that trio of vehicles before and after they arrived in Ceylon. Much of that material has been used in this book, which is all the better and more attractive for their inclusion.

Supporting the author’s text and pictures in both black-and-white and colour of Kandy’s Dennis fire engine, registered G-1010, official Dennis factory records provide more fascinating details. Extracts from Customer Order Books, Works Production Orders, and Chassis Lists and Despatch Records – each occupying a full page of the book for easy reading – comprise a potted ‘biography’ of this historic fire appliance, beginning in 1929 at its birthplace in Surrey, England.

As a bonus, the book contains information and photographs of other Dennis fire engines that served in Ceylon. Most notably a 1955 F8 model used by Britain’s Royal Navy at the dockyard in China Bay, Trincomalee. It later returned to the UK where it is now the prized, pristine possession of a fire engine enthusiast who also proved helpful to Ali in his research project.

Another comprehensive chapter is titled ‘Robey Steam Wagons in Sri Lanka’. Commencing with a brief explanation of the technical aspects of steam propulsion in roadgoing vehicles, the narrative shifts to a short history of Robey & Company, the Lincoln, UK-based makers of the two steam wagons of 1925 and 1928 vintage that are this chapter’s principal subjects.

Official records, correspondence relating to the two Robeys, plus a table of their ‘vital statistics’ aside, photographic coverage of both wagons is particularly impressive. Sure to please any lover of transport nostalgia and memorabilia, not just motor or steam vehicle aficionados, are photos of both vehicles working hard for their then employers, the British Ceylon Corporation (BCC), at various locations around Colombo. Two such ‘period’ pictures in colour are stand-outs, although others in black-and-white from the pages of UK-published Steaming magazine, are equally appealing. More colour pictures depict one of the vehicles (registered C-6037) at VCOC rallies and exhibitions before and after restoration by the SLGTTC.

But Ali Azeez’s interest in vintage motoring goes beyond classic motor cars and the utilitarian commercial types that are this book’s main subjects. As a fervent advocate for the preservation and fostering of Sri Lanka’s motoring heritage, for many years he has been campaigning and lobbying relevant authorities – and anyone else willing to listen – for the establishment of a national motoring museum, with State backing and continuing upkeep.

In a chapter titled ‘Transport Museum: An Immediate Need’ Azeez describes some of the museums in Sri Lanka, extant and defunct, small and large, dedicated to other types of transport. For example, the Old Town Hall Museum in the Pettah (which houses another steam wagon, built by Sentinel), the Sri Lanka Navy’s Museum at the Dockyard, China Bay, and the excellent Sri Lanka Air Force Museum at Ratmalana Airport. In fairness to the author, given that this book was published in 2014, no mention is made of the National Railway Museum at Kadugannawa, which was opened in late December that year.

Not entering into the author’s ‘calculations’ either are the motoring museums established in Sri Lanka over the past few years by a small handful of private and discerning car-collecting connoisseurs. Their extensive, varied and dazzling collections of motor vehicles are displayed in purpose-built ‘showrooms’, one in particular rivalling the facilities of better-known motoring museums overseas. But they are not open to the public, with visitors admitted in small numbers and only by special arrangement with the owners.

Rather, what Ali Azeez would like to see is a unified transport museum, accessible to the general public, that would accommodate, all on the same premises if not under one roof, the many road transport relics currently scattered around various government institutions. To demonstrate his point, he has depicted several of those vehicles within this chapter’s pages. Such a facility might induce private owners of historic vehicles to place some of their precious automotive possessions on public display in a secure environment, perhaps on a rotation basis as determined by the museum’s curators.

Almost as if responding to his own pleas, Ali Azeez cites numerous instances of how and when similar proposals were mooted, attracting tentative interest from the authorities, only for those grand plans to be shelved or disappear altogether. From this reviewer’s pragmatic point of view, the current economic climate in Sri Lanka – COVID-19 notwithstanding – will never be conducive to any such ambitious albeit laudable project getting off the ground, let alone reaching fruition.

Yet that should not detract from Ali Azeez’s well-meant intentions and dreams. Nor from his passion and foresightedness as a lover of all things motoring, not only when he wrote this book but over the years before and since. This slim but pleasing volume, packed with information, historical records, and attractive illustrations, is recommended to anyone interested in all aspects of road transport history, especially in the context of Sri Lanka.

 

 



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The Boss Up Story

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Boss Up isn’t merely a brand name. It’s a manifestation of resilience and inner power in the form of a branding and social media marketing agency. Hafsa Killru, the Founder of Boss Up has a personal story and determination to ‘boss up’ that propelled her to launch her own venture to empower entrepreneurship, especially among small businesses.

Beginnings

The environment one grows up in has a remarkable effect on a young child’s mind. Watching two strong women in the family redefine the role of feminine power, a young Hafsa grew up ambitious too. Although brimming with the desire to create a change, her childhood was fraught with challenges that plague many children today – bullying. She was subject to severe bullying since the tender age of 10 at her places of education, which affected both her mental and physical health.

“I never fit in anywhere. I was never welcome among the cliques. But I didn’t let it affect my confidence. Keeping my circle small helped me stay focused on my studies. I’d spend this time alone in school libraries, often reading encyclopedias,” says Hafsa. “The bullying worsened in my teenage years. I was lonely but it worked out in my favour because I was never, and still not, someone who worries about ‘what will others say’ — a key obstacle in many people’s lives. Not having many friends meant I was not under peer pressure. This allowed me to be my authentic self.”

Hafsa’s writing career began quite unexpectedly when she was 17. Not only is she a content writer but also a poet who writes evocatively about mental health, healing and empowerment. But this didn’t come by easily either.

During her higher studies, those she considered to be her friends tried to crush her growth mindset, which eventually took a toll on her. It was only when she managed to remove herself from such environments did she become more self-aware and regain her confidence, thanks to the solitude it brought into her life.Yet again, a new set of obstacles awaited her in her early 20s. In 2019, she was turned down by over 20 companies within three months alone, which led to deep frustration and self-doubt. Although she had freelancing opportunities, the lockdown only added to her troubles.

But that’s when something clicked into place – an idea so obvious, so big and so right for her that Hafsa knew it was what all these adversities were pushing her towards. She realised the lockdown was putting undue pressure on businesses and it needed a solution. Especially small businesses were struggling to go online and create a sustainable brand, and that too at an affordable rate. How could they compete with incumbent brands with massive budgets and breakthrough technologies? She sought to give them the edge they needed and thus, Boss Up was born in October 2020.

“Inviting change, taking charge of the situation and choosing to do something on my own has to be, although scary, the most liberating decision I have ever made,” admits Hafsa. “The lockdown wasn’t the time for businesses to go silent. They needed business and marketing solutions that would help them overcome the situation.”

In today’s contemporary business world, a business of any size will only be running a losing race if it hasn’t developed a strong social media presence or a clear brand strategy. Hence, Boss Up ensures equal opportunities are given to entrepreneurs from all walks of life.

One and a half years into the business, Boss up is now global with its wings spread across countries like the UK, Canada, Dubai, Qatar, the Maldives and Australia, and is backed by a strong team of young and passionate minds.

The Purpose

Boss Up’s primary goal is to uplift entrepreneurs. The brand is also a strong advocate for inner power, confidence and resilience — the three main driving forces of ambition. It intends to help people who hail from struggling backgrounds; the ones who are inundated with a lack of support, seek self-sufficiency and are hungry to design a unique identity for themselves.The brand also strives to treat everyone at work with compassion and empathy whilst leading with kindness as it is crucial to reform work cultures that are hazardous to oneself.

Reach out to HAfsa via Instagram @hafsa_killru @bossup_srilanka or email bossup_srilanka@gmail.com.

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The Switch of Trend in Fashion After the Pandemic 2022

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There has been an immense change in the Industry of Fashion after the pandemic struck us all hard. Currently, the trends of fashion have also taken a big turn towards affordable fashion trending styles and outfits. The Fashion boom has grown to become steadily slow for the seasonal styles and basic needs of clothing as well.

The current scenario of fashion life is always at a peak, and even after the Covid-19 pandemic, we have still seen slow growth in the need for fashion. There are of course certain aspects that have affected the industry and declined surplus. However, fashion and clothing have become a BASIC need for humans across the globe.

From shopping high-end couture to higher brand apparel, the trend has shifted to move on to sustainable clothing and organic clothing pieces. For example, we have become more aware of locally produced clothing brands and organic fabrics of our country. Made in India clothing and brands are emerging at a higher graph.Let’s take a look at the Current Change in Fashion Trends due to Pandemic 2022

Sustainable Outfits After the Pandemic

This is something most have been finding a basic need in clothing. Spending over and over again on the same kinds of clothing has and will reduce in the future. Buying clothing and fashion pieces that last for longer is the key to saving more than before. Buying pieces like basic Tees, Pants which may be styled over and over again is what the trend is shifting towards.

Budget Range of Fashion Brands are Accepted higher

Since the ban of Rowme and Shein-like brands and online websites in India, other national brands have started to make affordable fashion pieces for their customers. Styles and trends of fashion in the budget are what the people will be looking out for since the economic growth of people has dropped. Investing in fashion will never end until there will be a supply, the only difference is the budget range brands have a huge change of acceptance now since the pandemic.

Change of Styles worn to Work or Office Fashion after the Pandemic

Since the depression, people may have just stopped feeling happier may want to take the effort to dress like before. Styles of fashion in a simple and classy fashion will emerge largely than before. Choosing Plains or Solids overprints and pattern or neutrals over new trending colors and the print patterns is being seen for workwear fashion.

Change of Trends and Styles for Indian Festival Wear after the Pandemic

In the same way as the above point mentions, dressing special occasions will take a shift. Looking at the financial conditions currently, customers will be buying lesser for Festive wear than before. Styling the same pieces with a change of new additions of budget festive wear will be trending. Sarees and salwar suits in silks, choosing cotton, and linen kurta sets over the designer trends are to be seen this year during Indian festivals.

Choosing Budget Wedding Wear Over Designer Wedding Wear

When it comes to weddings, the cost goes to the highest for any customer. But the pandemic has changed how weddings will be taking place. The cost of weddings has declined drastically and shopping for Indian weddings has grown to choose mid-range wedding wear over high-end designer wear. Saving more during weddings, styles of lehengas, sarees, shalwar suits, or sherwanis for weddings that are in mid-range is a new trend.

From styling men’s kurta suits styles for the basic function of weddings to choosing classic or budget range sarees and suits for the bride’s ceremonies will take up a new fashion trend look. Making a choice of ONE heavy wear Lehenga and Sherwani may be what the soon-to-wed couples be looking for.Designer wear which can be restyled or reused and worn for other occasions and weddings is also a trend to grow rapidly. Saving much more for the bridal and groom’s outfit looks.

Shopping Online Increased for clothing after the Pandemic

The safer way to buy clothing has become a focus for all customers going towards online shopping. The percentage of online buyers has rapidly increased for clothes after the pandemic. From casual wear shopping online to fashion shopping for festivals and weddings, all have become much easier and more convenient for consumers.

Websites and businesses are working to grow even wider with Online Shopping. Connecting with customers personally for their shopping experiences to taking a new addition in budget clothing varieties for the customers is what’s taking place.

Online shopping has become a trend We have set an all-new trend for our customers It brings more trust and safety to customers. Shopping for wedding wear online only gets comfortable for all when sitting back home and shopping Fashion Shopping after the Pandemic via on-line shooping is what keeps all customers happier.

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Captivating streetwear for today’s fashionable girls

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The latest street fashion brand Girls by Dillys under the umbrella of Dilly’s was launched recently introducing trending new pieces to help girls carry the distinct personality and style to be the fashionable girl of today.

Girl by Dilly’s is a creative street fashion brand that focuses on vibrant colors, textures, and prints to bring out the youthful exuberance of today’s girls. The brand has emphasized on contrasting color combinations. The ethos of this brand is creativity and having fun. Girl by Dilly’s is dedicated to the free-spirited girls who have their own super powers and a bold attitude. Girls are encouraged to mix and create unique styles to introduce their own identity in a creative and playful way.

This brand is the new lifestyle for confident girls who love to enjoy freedom, youth and individuality. The brand has different style combinations from casual to evening wear to make the overall look fashionable and completely their own. The brand tagline ‘All about a Girl’ is a reminder to every girl that she is unique and beautiful.

To ensure glam and comfort, all Girl by Dilly’s products are crafted using quality fabrics and technical know-how. The brand offers a wide range of stylish ready-to-wear pieces, from tops, skirts, pants, shorts, dresses, rompers, jump suits, crop tops, and t-shirts. The brand has introduced batik into the collection with a fabulous finishing touch to elevate its signature styles. The brand is also introducing a comfortable t-shirt collection with inspirational slogans and line art to share a positive message with society.

Dilani Wijeyesekera – Director of Girl by Dilly’s stated, “We became aware of a notable gap in today’s market for fashionable streetwear clothing for girls. Today’s new generation of girls have a different youthful energy about them. They are fun, bold, carefree and energetic and they want the whole world to see that. Girl by Dilly’s is perfect for such girls as it helps them find their own identity through our collection of vibrant colours and creative styles that they can mix and match to come up with eye-catching outfits. Every piece of Girl by Dilly’s has the look and feel of fun and vibrancy.”

With the launch, Girl by Dilly’s is providing an introductory offer to all loyalty customers where they can avail themselves to a 15% discount on all products until 7th August 2022, both on online and at the flagship store. A selection of special giveaways has also been lined up in the coming weeks for all social media followers.

For the latest Girl by Dilly’s updates and new releases, follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok using @dillyandcarlo. The latest Girl by Dilly’s collections are available at the Flagship Store on the website www.dillyandcarlo.com.

Dilly’s was established in 1987 to cater to Colombo’s desire for high-end designer wear with a local twist. As the company grew, Dilly’s introduced its second brand to the market, this time to cater to menswear. Carlo was established in 2007 and exemplified stylish men’s clothing for all ages. The brand is housing its distinct designer ranges to cater to the entire wardrobe requirement of modern men and women.

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