By Easwaran Rutnam
For Yasodhara Pathanjali, being what she is not enough and so she keeps expanding her horizons, looking for new avenues, new challenges and new experiences.
If you ask Yasodhara how she would describe herself, her response is that she is a creative, a painter, a designer and a writer.
But right now she says she is balancing her time between all those disciplines and constantly expanding her horizons.
Yasodhara is looking at launching her own fashion label and all her hard work seems to have paid off.
“At the moment it’s in its infancy, honing down the right cuts and colours. The hand printing process is a whole new thing for Sri Lankan fashion and has been perfected now. I’m so excited about it, all the hard work has really paid off. I’m taking individual orders while the collection is finished and I’m planning on completing it within the next few months,” she said.
Yasodhara has, over the years, focused on art and she says colour drives her.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a time when I wasn’t an artist. When I was small I dabbled in embroidery, wood working, painting, stone carving, paper arts, pottery, creative writing and all sorts. I’ve always created and whatever I created was always full of colour. Colour is what drives me, which is why I’m always exploring new materials,” she said.
While in her 20’s Yasodhara took a back seat from focusing in art but when her first daughter was born the bug hit her again and she was sewing, painting and from there it started to take over as a priority in her life again.
“When I finished my first children’s book, I really felt proud. But I think it’s smaller realisations of what you can do that come along the way, new discoveries of yourself, that give you that feeling, rather than a one off “Eureka” moment,” she said.
Yasodhara says she discovered fashion in her early teens and has always been in love with fusion styles so anything that cannot be labelled as one thing, fascinates her.
“When I was young my mum would buy pieces and completely rework them, which I then started doing myself. It wasn’t long before I was designing from scratch. Up till now it’s been just for me, family and friends. But I feel ready now to share my vision with the world,” she said.
Ethical and conscious fashion is at the center of conversation these days so for those looking to be fashion conscious, she says the best tip she can give is not to be wasteful.
“Try to think of all the resources that have gone into making your garment, from growing the fibre, the water in dyeing, the people involved. Buy quality pieces that will work for you for a long time. I have pieces that I bought in my teens that I wear today, just styled differently. If you really understand your own style, rather than chasing fast fashion, you can make smarter purchasing decisions,” she said.
Having moved to Sri Lanka less than 18 months ago, Yasodhara says she is blown away by the industry in Sri Lanka.
She says the fashion industry is full of talent, there is so much creativity and beauty and Sri Lanka is also blessed to have incredibly talented home grown photographers, models, stylists and make-up artists etc who complete the picture.