by Greca Durant,
High Quality Top of the Line Clothing Stores in the City and Suburbs
With the liberalization of Sri Lanka’s economy in 1977, the one industry that benefited instantly from the Government’s move was the country’s garment manufacturing industry. According to a study made by Saman Kelegama, author of “Ready-Made Garment Industry in Sri Lanka: Preparing to Face the Global Challenges,” Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Review (April 2005), “The export-led expansion of the industry led to the replacement of tea by garments as the nation’s largest foreign exchange earner.” It has also become one of the main sources of income for women in the rural areas, where the factories are located, “under the so-called 200 Garment Factory Programme (GFP)” launched by the Government.
Though a big bulk of all manufactured products, such as women’s and children’s apparel, men’s or boys’ suits, winter wear and lingerie are scooped up by foreign buyers from Europe and the United States of America, the local clientele still get to enjoy high-quality clothes and accessories carefully selected for the local market.
Here is a list of clothing stores and malls where budget- and fashion-conscious shoppers may go to take their picks from export-quality women’s, men’s and children’s wear, for less than US$ 10 or higher, depending on one’s choices.
House of Fashion for Affordable Ready-to-Wear Clothes
A regular feature in the itineraries of people visiting Sri Lanka, it is highly recommended by locals in the know. House of Fashion carries teens’ and adults’ casual wear, a good selection of winter clothing, women’s and men’s formal wear, short- and long-sleeved shirts, slacks, jeans, children’s wear and a lot more. Affordable prices. House of Fashion, 28 R A De Mel Mawatha (formerly Duplication Road), Colombo 5.
Mondy for Classy Casualwear and Branded Shoewear
Mondy caters to clients with specific clothing needs like top-of-the-line office wear, well-cut trousers, fancy party attire and accessories, colored leggings, children’s apparel and other well-crafted creations like imported shoe brands to complete one’s desired look. The store has in-house fashion designers and stylists to assist customers on mixing and matching of garments. Reasonable prices. Mondy, 78 Dharmapala Mawatha, Colombo 3.
Odel, Sri Lanka’s Topmost Fashion Store
Owned and managed by Sri Lanka’s fashion icon and business magnate, Otara Gunewardene, Odel’s vision is “To be Sri Lanka’s foremost lifestyle INstyle Brand with global reach.” It also strives to provide its clientele with “unparalleled selection of fashion right and lifestyle product in an environment that is enjoyable, welcoming…” It has something for everyone, from eye-catching T-shirts to uniquely-styled blouses and billowy skirts, flowing dresses and gowns, multicolored saris and sarongs, modest swimwear to bikinis, exquisite lingerie, trendy winter clothes, suits and neckties, jeans and sportswear, designer clothes and lots more to entice clients to linger and choose. Stocks don’t stay long on the racks; collections change regularly, so it is never boring. Top choice value for money. Odel, #5 Alexandra Place, Colombo 7.
Romafour for Special Occasion Clothes
Though a bit away from the city centre, Romafour is sought out by clients who look for something different. The store has a lot to offer its discerning customers, from top-quality, colorful blouses and skirts to tailored suits and trousers, beautifully embroidered saris, smart menswear, durable cotton underwear and more. It is located near one of the bigger city malls. Prices vary. Romafour, 71, Galle Road, Colombo 4.
Colombo Malls: Crescat Boulevard, Majestic City (MC), Liberty Plaza
Crescat Boulevard is adjacent to the five-star Cinnamon Grand Hotel. Though small in size, the shops comprising Crescat offer an impressive array of goods. Prices higher than other outlets. Liberty Plaza, just around the corner from Crescat Boulevard, houses several brand name shops that cater to various tastes. Frequented by customers from the Kollupitiya area and surroundings, this mall has something to offer young and old alike.
Spacious and newly renovated Majestic City is the hub of shoppers on the Bambalapitiya side of Galle Road. A good number of shops carrying different items to choose from. Value for money. Galle Road, Bambalapitiya, Colombo 4.
Clothes Stores in Pelawatte, Battaramulla: Cool Planet, Shades, High Casual, JD Fashions
Driving out of Colombo towards the Parliament to Pelawatte, Battaramulla, one may find good quality high street fashion at bargain prices. Patronized by expatriates and locals living in the area, shops of note include Cool Planet, the newly opened Shades, High Casual and JD Fashions.