Roll out the carpet

By Dhananjani Silva

It’s all about how you ‘welcome’ your guest home. If you want to usher them in, in style and elegance, an exotic ‘Dhanak’ carpet or kilim(a tapestry woven rug) would be the right pick.

Buying a rug/kilim is not just buying for flooring purposes. It is like you are buying a painting for the floor, says Managing Director, Dhanak Pvt. Ltd Aziza Jafferjee who runs this trendy carpet and kilim store in town.

Located on Stratford Avenue, Colombo 6, Dhanak is the only company in Sri Lanka that sells an exclusive range of hand knotted/hand woven carpets from African kilims to pure Moroccan and Mediterranean varieties. It also has a large selection of Pakpersian carpets- rugs made in Pakistan to the Persian design with the centre medallion. Most of these carpets and rugs are made of wool, but a few made of goat hair and bear rugs are also available at the store. Customers have a wide choice of about 500 rugs to select from at any given moment.

Dhanak rugs are one of a kind, assures Aziza- although they may be of similar design, they are unique as they are handmade. An eye-catching brand at the store is a hand embroidered rug which is similar to a kilim. “It is like buying tapestry for the floor,” says Aziza pointing out another colourful selection.

Barjastas- a variety of a carpet and kilim woven together is also exclusively available at Dhanak. Also brought down are sofa cushions for floor seating, tent ties and salt bags used by shepherds boys taken for decorative purposes as wall hangings, Jalars (a decorative overhang for doors), runners for corridors, children’s rugs and prayer rugs.

Dhanak carpets range from two feet to 15 feet. However, smaller carpets and kilims are on offer for an affordable price for those who opt for Dhanak products as gifts.

Sri Lankans tastes veer towards the neutrals, but Dhanak also has vibrant and bold patterned carpets. “In Sri Lanka, there is vibrancy outside; people wear vibrant bold attire, but when it comes to rugs customers go for neutral colours. This is probably to match with furniture that is in bold colours. Catering to that aspect, I have rugs which are not so busy, with only two or three colour variations,” Aziza says adding that foreigners prefer vibrant colours.

Catering to another clientele are the washable, cotton rugs ideal for coastal homes, beach villas, boutique hotels etc. Elegance apart, the Dhanak brands are comfortable. As opposed to the synthetic types, these rugs woven with natural fibres create little body fatigue, explains Aziza.

What Aziza wants is the best for your home…and for that she doesn’t even mind turning her shop upside down. Elaborating on a unique customer service that Dhanak offers she says; “People just pick up a rug from the shop and take it home. But lighting and flooring in the shop might be different from what they have at home.

Hence, customers have the benefit of taking a few rugs and kilims home to see what best suits their homes before investing in the item. No additional charge will be made for this service; only transport will have to be provided for the Dhanak staff member who accompanies the customer with the carpets.”

Tea boutique at the Ceylon Continental

Hayleys PLC continues to break ground with the opening of its innovative tea boutique at the lobby level of Ceylon Continental Hotel Colombo.

The teas served at the boutique are from Mabroc Teas, a fully owned subsidiary of the Hayleys Group of Companies. The combination of the two leading plantation companies, Kelani Valley Plantations and Talawakelle Tea Estates, both owned and managed by Hayleys plays a significant role in providing the premium quality tea that Mabroc symbolizes.

The brand offers a range for the sophisticated tea drinker at an affordable rate. Additionally the boutique offers iced tea; a drink enjoyed by people of all ages and all walks of life.

Careem Jewellers spreads its glitter

Careem Jewellers which recently celebrated 120 years in the gem and jewellery industry, opened two new jewellery boutiques at the Fortress Resort in Koggala, Galle and at the recently opened Jetwing Sea Hotel in Negombo.

With the additional stores, Careems has five exclusive shops located at some of the premier hotels in Sri Lanka. Much thought has gone into the design of the stores and the interiors provide an elegant and comfortable ambience where antique browns and champagne hues complement the jewellery placed on bright displays.

While Careems' main store is located at the Hilton Colombo, opening a flagship store in central Colombo which will provide easy accessibility and a larger retail space is a future priority for Careems.

Ethical fashion billed as the highlight

Countdown to HSBC Colombo Fashion Week begins

HSBC Colombo Fashion Week, informally labelled as South Asia’s only international fashion week begins its final countdown to another edition. The highly anticipated event will take place on February 4, 5 and 6 at the Hilton Grand Ballroom.

This year’s event will feature 22 Sri Lankan fashion designers and labels alongside 12 reputed international designers. The highlight of this year’s HSBC Colombo Fashion Week is the launch of South East Asia’s first ethical fashion week. Titled Fashion Ethical, to be launched on the second day of the HSBC Colombo Fashion Week, it is a collaborative effort of ethical representation from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and Malaysia. Sri Lanka will be the hub for Fashion Ethical, which will then create a platform for other countries in the region to follow suit, with India being the next destination.

In addition to the renowned international designers who are regulars at the show; such as Bibi Russell from Bangladesh, Rizwan Beyg from Pakistan and Agatha Ruiz De La Prada from Spain there will be new faces Alecca Carrano and Dimitris Zoz from Italy, The Ultra from Malaysia, Suneet Varma, Gaurav Gupta, Samant Chauhan Masaba from India and Laskala from Russia. HSBC Colombo Fashion Week is a not-for-profit event that is committed to uplifting Sri Lanka’s fashion design industry. It aims at guiding young and potential designers and creating retail and marketing opportunities for established and new designers by providing a platform to interact with reputed international designers, media and independent retail buyers.

This initiative also deals with the related fields of local fashion retail, crafts and workshops, like Batik, Beeralu and weaver communities.

“Every year we give ourselves bigger objectives and then work through the year to achieve them. This helps us maintain direction to take the Sri Lankan fashion design industry on to a bigger platform. We want Sri Lankan fashion designers to be commercially successful, showcasing in international fashion weeks, retailing in international markets and have a successful local retail network in Sri Lanka. We are not very far from that,” says Ajaiy Virr Singh, President, HSBC Colombo Fashion Week.

In 2010, HSBC Colombo Fashion Week’s MOUs with 5 international fashion weeks; namely Miami Fashion Week, Russia Fashion Week, Malaysia Fashion Week, Dubai Fashion Festival and Pakistan Fashion Week, went into implementation. As a result, Lankan designers Kanchana and Fouzal Hameed got the opportunity to showcase their collections at these prestigious events. HSBC, the title sponsor of the event has been associated with Colombo Fashion Week since 2008 for the fourth year running. HSBC’s Chief Executive Officer, for Sri Lanka and Maldives, Nick Nicolaou stated, “ There is immense potential among our local designers and this event creates the platform for them to become commercially successful and showcase their creativity beyond the ramp.”

In addition to the regulars such as Darshi of Buddhi Batik fame, Kanchana and Yolande, there will also be collections from Fahad Sherrif of Middle Finger, Fouzul Hameed of FH Studio, Stringhopper, LICC, Acushla, Pearly King, and Sarani to name a few.Every year HSBC Colombo Fashion Week conducts workshops and this year the British Council joins in as the knowledge partner to bring Sally Denton, Managing Director, The Trend Boutique (UK) Ltd to speak on trends and business support for new designer labels.

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