Buzz with Danu - Sammani Pathiranagama

Mar 06 2024.

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Today on the Buzz I speak to the young lady who added the extra flair to men’s fashion in Sri Lanka. It’s been 10 years since her brand olive-couture and there is a show to celebrate it. I spoke to her about her 10-year journey. 


1. How has the last 10 years been in building this brand?
It has been a challenging yet enjoyable decade indeed. It's amazing to stand where we are now and reflect on all the hard work that went into building the brand Olive Couture and I am humbled by its success. 

Over the last 10 years, Olive Couture has experienced significant growth and success, establishing itself as a reputable brand in the fashion industry. Olive Couture has expanded its product line, increased its customer base, and entered new markets. Additionally, Olive Couture has focused on enhancing its brand identity, and marketing strategies to stay competitive in this evolving industry. 

2. When you were qualifying in fashion in Australia, you took a risk in working on menswear and bringing that knowledge to Sri Lanka did you think Sri Lankan men were ready to be a bit edgy?

When studying fashion in Australia and bringing that expertise to Sri Lanka, I believed there was potential for Sri Lankan men to embrace edgier styles. However, it was a calculated risk based on market research, understanding consumer preferences, and recognizing the evolving fashion trends in Sri Lanka. The aim was to offer something fresh and appealing to the market while also staying attuned to local tastes and cultural sensitivities. Starting off Olive Couture as a menswear brand was the best decision at that time as it was a forgotten and neglected market segment that needed the attention that it deserved. 

3. Your brand has evolved into casual and even bridal, what would you say is your unique style in bridal? 
Yes as I mentioned earlier during the last decade we worked on expanding our product lines, as a result, we launched SAMANI by Olive Couture for off-the-rack casual wear and Olive Bridal Couture for bridals.  
My style in Bridal is more sophisticated, minimalistic and timeless. I love experimenting with cuts and materials.

4. That’s going to be a massive show. I’m told celebrating your brand and it’s 10 years tell me about the show and what can we expect? 
Yes, as exciting as it sounds I am hosting a lavish fashion show to celebrate the journey of 10 years in business. The show will be an invitees-only exclusive event attended by over 400 individuals which includes industry leaders, influencers, VIPs, celebrities, and fashion enthusiasts alike. The show is set to take place on the 16th of March 2024 at the Airforce Museum, Rathmalana and I am planning to showcase 4 different collections under 4 exciting themes. It's a huge production and everything is all set for a one-of-a-kind experience. 

5. You have even made clothes for Ambani's wedding, and your clients have always been so loyal. What is your secret formula? 
Yes! Our cricket legend Mahela Jayawardena is one of my most loyal and respected clients and he recently got two bespoke outfits for Anant Ambani & Radhika’s wedding and we were able to create something that reflects his identity. 

Our secret formula for maintaining loyal clients, including prestigious ones, lies in our unwavering commitment to quality, and innovation. By consistently delivering exceptional craftsmanship, attention to detail, and a seamless customer experience, we have fostered trust and loyalty among our clientele over the years. Happy to say that our clients' loyalty is the biggest wealth we have as a brand. 

6. You have dressed some of the most influential men in our country how do you make them see beyond a black or blue?

Yes, I think I was successful in doing that and getting them to step out of their comfort zones. I focus on showcasing alternative colour options that complement their skin tone and personality, while also emphasizing the importance of fit, fabric, and style details to make a statement without sacrificing professionalism. Additionally, I encourage experimenting with different patterns, textures, and accessories to add personality and distinction to their attire.

7. What is your personal opinion about Fashion in Sri Lanka? 
It stands at a far better place than before and we do have a fashion-conscious client base and it's easier to make clothes for them when they are updated with trends. Happy that the Sri Lankan fashion scene is evolving with a lot of emerging brands coming into play as well. 

8. Tell me about the design process for your collection this year. 
So the 4 collections will be Ready to Wear, Bridal, Indian and Red Carpet. The themes I will reveal at the show. The 4 collections will collectively have 80 looks of men’s and women’s wear. The whole process of designing and researching started last year and we have put a lot of effort and thought into creating these garments, culminating in creativity, craftsmanship and attention to detail... I sourced most of the materials from overseas and handpicked most of the fabrics when I travelled overseas. My fabulous staff and I worked tirelessly on this collection and we can't wait to showcase them on the ramp. 

9. You have always believed in minimalistic designs. Has this been a hard sell to us Lankans? 

Promoting minimalistic designs in Sri Lanka can sometimes be challenging due to the cultural preference for vibrant colours, intricate patterns, and embellishments. However, there is a growing appreciation for minimalism globally, including in Sri Lanka, as people recognize its elegance, versatility, and timeless appeal. By emphasizing the quality, functionality, and understated sophistication of minimalistic designs, it's possible to gradually influence tastes and preferences in the local fashion scene.


10. After the show kicks off on the ramp, where can we expect to see these clothing and would they be up for sale immediately? Are there any facilities for us to pre-book some of these looks?
Yes, the whole collection will be up for sale as one-off exclusive pieces and will be available to purchase at the Olive Couture studio at 22, Deanston Place, Colombo 03. And yes you can prebook your favorite look on the day.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Danu Innasithamby

Danu is a Jaffna Boy with a Marketing qualification (only because he needed to study, and not because he wanted it). He has been a part of the team for seven years and is the face behind Buzz with Danu, and WTF.


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