“Arugambay” challenges Quicksilver & Billabong

Fashion News

A start up Sri Lankan a??beach branda?? aspires to challenge Billabong and Quicksilver

Arugambay Beach T-Shirt

Sri Lankaa??s emerging apparel brands inspired by a stray dog and an East coast beach

Arugambay T-Shirts and Shorts

Developing local brands is challenging because the market is flooded with cheap knockoffs of international brands

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Bubble gum coloured flip-flops are the rave among teenagers in Colombo since the Arugambay brand launched its multi hued slippers in 2009. In a simple but crucial way Arugambay improved and made flip- flops in to something surprisingly flattering and fashionable.

Arugambay Flop-Flips

Ajay Virr Sing an Indian living in Sri Lanka and once a fulltime ad-man, launched the Arugambay beachwear brand in 2009, a??a??We started with flip-flops and moved into swimwear, t-shirts, and now there is a complete line.a?? Slippers were manufactured in a partnership with footwear maker DSI. The bubblegum colours were inspired from everyday things like auto-rickshaws a?? the canary yellow – or paddy, a mix of two yellow and green.

The bright colour scheme has spread through the product line for both men and women. The branda??s premise that style standards shouldna??t slip just because you are on holiday has stirred a beach fashion culture among middle and upper class Sri Lankans. Products include flip flops, bikinis, beach bags and panama hats for women. Men have crisp white t-shirts and swim shorts among other items.

The brand is also retailing in Goa, Bangalore and Chennai and will soon be in Mumbai and Puna in India. Virr Sing says the brand could soon retail in Europe soon after he struck a partnership with Italian designer Agatha Ruiz De La Prada, who has designed an extensive line of slippers and beachwear for the brand. a??Arugambay has to be an international brand. It has to rub shoulders with Quicksilver, Oa??Neill and Billabong, which is our range,a?? says Virr Sing.

Embark & the stray dog

In addition to Arugambay, VIrr Sing has also launched two other brands, the first in keeping with his tie to Sri Lanka called a??String Hoppera??, a ready-to-wear collection and a??Consciousa??, which he claims is Sri Lankaa??s first ethical clothing brand. All his brands use social media, particularly Facebook to reach their target markets.

An aggressive campaign in March, when the line with De Le Prada was launched, saw its Facebook fan base quadruple to 8000. Virr Sing has also used his experience working with Sri Lankaa??s Joint Apparel Association (JAFF) and from starting up Sri Lankaa??s longest running fashion show the, Colombo Fashion Week.

Most apparel designers would like to claim their clothes lend an air of sophistication and class to wearers. But two emerging fun and carefree Sri Lankan brands appealing to the young are making yelps and waves in the fashion scene.

Developing local brands is challenging because the market is flooded with cheap knockoffs of international brands.

a??Nikoa?? a brand of department store Odel and Arugambay Beachwear, developed by an ad man turned fashion entrepreneur have had a cult following since their launch. Arugambay brand was launched with a colorful selection of slippers and has since diversified in to a beachwear brand for both men and women.

Odela??s Niko brand took shape following the firma??s CSR involvement with sterilizing stray dogs and putting abandoned pups up for adoption. a??Nikoa?? is the name of a street pup adopted by Odela??s controlling shareholder Otara Gunewardene who introduced it as a mascot for the CSR programme.

Soon a line of products featuring Niko and Bandit, a second pup adopted by Gunewardene were featured at all its stores. Niko and Bandit branded products are today among the top five product lines at the fast expanding Odel department store chain.

CSR mascot becomes top five brand for department store

Despite their street origins, Odel founder Otara Gunewardenea??s pet pooches Niko and Bandit could just be the most valuable dogs in Sri Lanka. The pooches are part of Odela??s CSR initiative a??Embarka??. Their antics feature on a range of clothing and accessories. Niko is also the face of Odela??s CSR campaign, which aims to address the stray dog problem by sterilizing street dogs and by finding homes for stray puppies.

The brand which is targeting kids and young adults is performing at better than expected levels says Upendra Gunawardhanan, Odela??s marketing head. The Niko range, launched in 2010, has introduced three design themes, like the big fashion brands that renew their line up twice a year for the Spring and Autumn seasons.

a??Embarka?? the CSR project which later sprang the a??Nikoa?? brand started in 2007 with the aim of reducing cruelty to animals. The CSR initiative includes a range of activities from sterilization, finding new homes for street pups, caring for injured stray animals and educating the public about the importance of animal welfare. Since its inception, Embark has sterilized over 4,200 stray dogs, re-homed over 190 puppies and treated many injured dogs.

Odel has leverage social networks to create awareness about its cause and its product line, revenue from which supports its activities. Niko even has a cartoon strip in the kids section of a national newspaper.

Odel, which recently listed on the Colombo bourse, is now looking at opening new stores here and abroad. Odela??s next store will open in Kandy soon.


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1 Response to ““Arugambay” challenges Quicksilver & Billabong”

  • I need to buy 20 couples of arugambay sllippers and please send me the prices with discount..thank u

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