colombo 3 south
Start at Fashion Market LK on Duplication Rd (at the top of Colombo 4), which shares the same founder as the Academy of Design (AOD) next door resulting in an offering which embraces Sri Lankan heritage and fuses it with cutting edge design often by Sri Lankan designers trained at AOD. Find casual chic designer clothing and accessories as well as stunning home décor under the Urban Island Home brand. And the best bit is that there is free international delivery on Fashion Makrket LK goods bought online!
Hail a tuk tuk from the intersection with Bauddhaloka Mawatha on the left (otherwise you’re going the wrong way in the one way traffic) or walk the 10 mins from Fashion Market LK to reach the flagship store of the iconic Barefoot on Galle Rd. This pioneering brand is a haven of Sri Lankan creativity, colour and originality. If you see it anywhere else, it’s probably because it was conceived here first. Find brilliant handloom fabrics, clothes, unique interiors, sculptures by the famous artist Laki Senanayake, an erudite range of books relating to Sri Lanka, toys and tea to name a few. Time your visit, or come back, to enjoy a meal at their excellent café located in the courtyard out the back (there’s often music on weekend afternoons).
Next on the itinerary is the option to continue to head north on Galle Rd for 250 metres to Plate Ltd which houses Sri Lanka’s largest original, colonial era photographic record with copies for sale. Otherwise (or returning from Plate), it’s really a decision about eating places. The choices start from deliciously indulgent cakes and light lunches at Bakes by Bella in the nearby Alfred House Avenue or save yourself for a relaxing long lunch around the corner at The Gallery Café on Alfred House Rd with inspiring food, rotating art exhibitions and a Paradise Road outlet all set in photograph-worthy space of Geoffrey Bawa’s old offices.
Either way, navigate yourself from Alfred House Rd onto Queens Rd and turn left onto R.A Del Mel Mawatha (formerly Duplication Road) where on the top level of the Il Gelato building is L’Atelier Touché, an uber chic French Italian label selling Sri Lankan made couture, accessories and shoes (including leather ones from Asalt Sandals) with some international products. Directly across the road is the furniture and interiors store of the Raux Brothers where you can find an eclectic mix of Sri Lankan made and imported products with a nod to French provincial styling.
Travel north on Duplication Rd for 100 metres and you can visit the Japanese fine bone china brand Noritake which is still made in Sri Lanka (there are other stores around Colombo if you miss this one). If you have pre-booked your visit to Geoffrey Bawa’s residence at No.11, 33rd Lane, then turn right at Bagatelle Rd and walk about 200 metres and turn right into 33rd lane. This residence isn’t just for architecture buffs. It is a glimpse into the aesthetics of a man who conceived a way of living in Sri Lanka and it’s a real delight.
Grab a tuk tuk (or walk if you prefer, it’s about 10 mins north of Noritake on Duplication Rd and 15 mins from Bawa’s house) to the store of fashion designer Charini on Deanston Place. Known for her elegant smart casual and evening wear using contemporary Sri Lankan craftwork as components. Her works are also sold in Zudhora if you don’t make it here. Back on Duplication Road, turn right and across the road on the corner of Dean Place is Shay International famous for Sri Lankan designed, on-trend clothing at reasonable prices. The iced coffee at the Perera & Sons eatery downstairs is also definitely worth trying.
If you’re ready for another meal, hop across the road to the Manhattan Fish Market for casual seafood dining.
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