Sunday, 4 December 2016

Times Changing in my Jungle

The last time I visited Colombo, the largest city of my native Sri Lanka, I remember struggling to find Weirdo Chic-esque inspiration. Needless to say, I spoke my mind with the post I wrote during my visit; making statements such as: 

"Please believe- no one is flocking to this paradise island the get the inside scoop on the latest fashion trends"


"Clothes in stores around the country consist of the 2-year-old overstock from off-brand clothing designers aka  nothing to report on Weirdochic"

First of all… ouch.

Second of all, oh how things have changed.

Here I am, two years later, back in Sri Lanka, half-way through a 3-month stint and I am in shock. I'm not sure if my eyes weren't opened to the sub-culture of high fashion when I was here last or if the country is changing faster than I expected but this is not the same place I was in while writing that extra-sassy post two years ago.

While the conservative majority still exists in which anything above the collarbone and below the knee - regardless of the color, sequins, polka dots, or frills - is suitable, there is now a crowd emerging that is more fabulous than I could have ever dreamed of.

I seem to find new boutiques every day that only house beautiful local designs with a modern twist. For example, I stumbled into the opening night of Sonali Dharmawardena's new line. The two below are wearing her designs.

The young designers or Sri Lanka are also making waves. When I heard that the Sri Lanka Design festival was hosting a fashion show which featured fashion school graduates, I washed the dirt off of my 'nice' sandals and headed over.

Below are just a handful of the incredibly interesting and talented people I met throughout the night:

This mother-daughter duo caught my eye as soon as I saw mama's strapless-style sari. Both used the beautiful draping aesthetic of Sri Lanka in a unique and beautiful way. Daughter, Shakti Ponniah, documents all things new and exciting when it comes to Sri Lanka's exploding culture with her instagram - islandadventurist. Give it a follow to see what you're missing out on!

When I asked Dilushi, in the unforgettable army-green below, where she snagged that sick onsie, she pressed a dagger through my heart with her "Oh, I just stitched it together myself" response.

It was impossible to miss the firecracker below, stomping around in his sarong and blazer - a combination I have dreamed about for several days afterwards. Danu (, is the head em-cee of the radio station 'WTF' (Where to Find). 

Last, but quite obviously not least are Hash & Manga (, a fashion designing pair inspired by everything from skater style to the Colombo streets. 

They also happen to have a pretty entertaining vlog. I promise I'm not biased just because they put me on it ( ).

If the beauties I am seeing these days are any indication, I doubt I'll be writing anything remotely catty about Sri Lankan fashion any time soon. It's only getting bigger and better from here (don't worry, I'm knocking on wood). 

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Caught, Leather-Handed

Florence grabbed my heart with one of her beautiful leather gloves and sped off on a vespa. I said good riddance.

Unless your shoe of choice is the stiletto, making cobblestone streets your arch nemesis, there is no reason not to fall desperately in love with this city. There are a plethora of beautifully chiseled butts to stare at (they are all made of stone but hey, I'm not picky). There is a gorgeous espresso machine in literally every single establishment (and I'm not using 'literally' how your 12-year-old suburban cousin uses it. I mean, like, literally every single establishment). Asking for a 'good wine recommendation' at the local wine shop is the equivalent of asking for 'something filling' at Red Lobster (the eye-roll is apparently international!).

And finally, the main reason that beautiful bandit escaped with my thumping life line - the fashion.

I admit, I was nervous about that part. When my people would say the whole  -  "Oh you're going to Florence?!?! The fashion is incredible. You're going to love it!" - I tried not to pay it much attention. I assumed when they said 'fashion', they meant how Rome does 'fashion' - neatly distressed jeans, face-consuming sunglasses with someone's last name written in rhinestones along the side, and the dreaded graphic tee.

I'm not saying any of that is bad... but all of it is, without a doubt, the opposite Weirdo Chic.

Alas, to say I was pleasantly surprised would be the understatement of a lifetime. 

The best way to describe the fashion of Firenze is exquisite. Those aforementioned cobblestone streets were full of billowing trousers and perfectly pressed oxford shirts - and that was just the women. Everyone seemed to have an air of unpretentious respect for each item they were wearing. No one owned that air as well as the expressive staff at any clothing shop I walked into. Similar to how Florentine waiters/waitresses would describe their tasting menus with perfectly chosen adjectives that would make me want to jump into my menu, shop owners would have all the time in the world to walk me through every detail of a locally made coat with irresistible detail.

The Italian accents didn't hurt.

Here are a couple of the passionate boutique staff I came across who effortlessly nudged me towards relieving myself of all my life's savings:

The beautiful and knowledgeable firecrackers at Marie Antoinette 

The homie at Bjork - who, while knowing every detail of the store, also has a side project starting up of mod, gender-fluid clothing. Check out his instagram - @laboratorystudio - for the juicy details

Monday, 5 September 2016

The Best of. (Summer edition)

The day has come once again. The day that just three months ago was as distant of a memory as your third cousin's aunt that your mom insists you met that one time. The day that has signified the end of summer since we were old enough to eat frozen Snickers bars at the neighborhood pool.

 Labor Day.

The appropriate thing to do in this time of despair is to discuss the beauty that Fall brings - the jackets, the boots, the lack of constant perspiration as I walk down that second flight of stairs to the under-under world of the BDFM trains.

But no. I have masochistic tendencies when it comes to not only dwelling on the past, but making it shine brighter than it ever did when it was the present. Summer was a dream. It was 75 degrees every day. My air conditioner always worked. The piles of dog shit outside smelled like flowers and never once seeped through my jellies and onto my bare toes.

All jokes and rose-colored glasses aside, this summer was one for the books, fashion-wise. Those that complain that summer 'cramps their style' should up their onesie game. Take note of these Masters of the Sun that I came across during some (mostly literally... but sometimes metaphorically) steamy adventures this summer:

Echo Park Rising - Los Angeles, CA

Echo Park Rising - Los Angeles, CA

 Belgium Comes to Cooperstown (Bill Murray-themed) - Cooperstown, NY
Pitchfork Music Festival- Chicago, IL

Pitchfork Music Festival- Chicago, IL

Pitchfork Music Festival- Chicago, IL

Here's to those who strut down the street in silk onesies and not a drip of sweat while the rest of us Alex Mack in the nearest Starbucks. I aspire to be super-human just like you.

Until then, here's to Fall.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

More than just that girl from Ipanema

I was lucky enough to get down to Rio de Janeiro just before the infested mosquitoes settled in (or at least before I was aware of them... ), and if I could, without risking three years worth of spare time and probably a few privacy lawsuits, I would be putting every single Carioca I came across on this post.

Existing in Rio was unlike existing in any other place because of the undeniable sense that I was drowning in the runoff of the most beautiful souls I have ever come across in one concentrated area. Rio is its people. Sure, the city has impossibly cold beers, amazing music, and the best beach snacks known to (wo)man - all of which I consumed in excess - but none of these wonders would have meant a thing without the people behind them.

Alas, because I am not strong enough to live the life of a hermit for longer than the time it took me to binge watch six episodes of Chef's Table, and because my bank account will not allow me to fight a parking ticket, let alone a lawsuit, here are a select few humans from a land full of beauties:

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Swag from Experience

There's nothing like a record-breaking snow storm doing cartwheels outside my window to send me on a downward spiral of looking at pictures from a warmer time; so thank you, Jonas, for bringing my attention back to this wonderful man.

R.C. Bates caught my attention outside the Intelligentsia on Sunset a few months ago as he casually asked caffeinated passerby's if they liked poetry. It was a simple question, but simple enough for those in earshot to feel an internal wave of guilt if they chose to ignore it, especially in a neighborhood like Silverlake, where if you don't at least pretend to enjoy any and all forms of self-expression, no one would stop you from getting burned at the end of a organic, vegan stake.

I became a victim of his character-building inquiry as I passed by sipping on my small, Fair-Trade, Costa Rican pour-over. Imagine my surprise when I saw this man as the source of my self-judgement:

It was as if Gepetto wanted a wizard instead of a real boy and Bates was the result of his imagination. Everything about this man - his style, his attitude, his words - was straight out of a fairy tale.

After handing me some booklets of his poetry, he, in the same nonchalant manner that attracted me to him in the first place, told me about some of the movies, bands, and music videos he had been a part of in his 'former lives'. One can only imagine how much trouble he found in those lives to come out on the other end feelin' himself like he does now.

While I recognized as much from his bio as I did when my mother listed off her favorite contestants from The Voice, I still listened intently because something about Mr. Bates demands respect. Whether it's his Merlin beard, his Hatter's hat, or the mini, matching Converse that fits perfectly on the cane he made himself, I will never know.