Columnists,Lorraine Cattell,Main Slider l by Lorraine Cattell l 30 Jan 2021     - 214

Relaxing at Home with Asanka de Mel - CEO of LOVI Ceylon

Toasting yesterday's achievements and tomorrow's bright future with more motivation, positivity and inspiration than ever before is how Asanka de Mel, CEO of LOVI Ceylon (the world’s first patent-pending sarongs with pockets, belts, and more) is waving goodbye to 2020.

In this exclusive interview, we catch a glimpse of Asanka's warm sparkling personality as he reflects on the past year, his hopes and dreams for the future, and some honest truths about life at home with his gorgeous family. 

Asanka, Happy New Year! Thank you for taking the time to catch up with us and our readers! How were your Christmas and New Year festivities and how did Leo, your 2-year-old son, enjoy himself?

This is the first Christmas where Leo understood who Santa was. He gets the whole naughty or nice concept. Christmas was more fun than ever to experience it through his eyes.

Most importantly, what did you enjoy eating during the Christmas season?

My wife made pumpkin and apple pies and chocolate cookies. Good thing I can loosen the sarong.

That's lovely, and were there any new year's resolutions?

To stop being so hard on myself. To try to maintain a positive mental state despite what challenges may come. The only thing that matters is the present.

Spending more time at home because of lockdown meant that you got to see more of Leo's special moments and antics. What have you discovered about yourself since becoming a father?

He’s learning so much and so fast. It’s incredible to see that at two years old he can communicate in two languages. But besides that, he’s so full of joy, and that’s contagious.

You are known to be optimistic and have such a positive outlook on life. Does that come naturally to you?

Absolutely. There’s so much to be grateful about at any given moment. Even when some things are not going your way.

You also enjoy promoting the importance of unity and togetherness. How do you go about uniting a nation that has suffered as a result of a pandemic?

Sri Lanka has been yearning for a way to express its own uncolonized, unified identity for some time now. The need for unity in Sri Lanka is timeless. Despite war, pandemic, terrorism, or peacetime, we are a nation. Period. We need to accept, respect and celebrate each other.

Men's grooming has grown substantially in the US and is projected to increase further over the next decade. According to 'Statista' (the internet's leading statistics database) by 2024 the global male grooming market is estimated to be worth about 81.2 billion U.S. dollars. Are you an advocate of male grooming? What is your secret to looking so stylish and impeccably groomed? 

Everybody looks in the mirror in the morning. Even the monks. Grooming is not only about how you look, but about how you feel. It’s about confidence. It’s about being bold in your own identity, whatever that may be.

Asanka, is there one universal product that every guy should have?

Spill the beans... Daily multivitamins - just good insurance.

What is your signature scent? Do you prefer woody, spicy, herby or a lighter, citrus-based scent?

I love this question. I have been developing a nose for fragrances over the last several years. There’s actually a dozen perfumes I rotate through, from oud to musky, and some floral scents – what I like runs the gamut from what is considered traditionally masculine to feminine.

Let's talk about fashion and LOVI Ceylon. I always took for granted everyone knew how to wear a sarong, but in fact, different versions can be worn morning to night and, like your own brand, they can be accessorised for a more luxurious look. Can you tell me something about your collection and give any tips about wearing them?

The latest collection, LOVI Groom, focuses on how any member of the wedding party and their guests can wear LOVI. We want to dress everyone but the bride. As for the tip – call us, we’ll make something custom especially for your next wedding function. But please don’t wait until the last minute.

When David Beckham stepped out in a patterned sarong over a pair of trousers at the 1998 World Cup in France, it was greeted with disapproval. Do you think he was too innovative and radical by the standards of that time?

Yes, I think it was a bold move and more power to him. There will always be critics and naysayers. Look where Mr Beckham is today.

Transforming the sarong into an innovatively designed style statement for the modern Sri Lankan, how far have you got in changing the image of the national dress? Has your collection become more appealing to people as a result of this initiative?

If this interview is any indication, we’re certainly being noticed! Seriously though, we’re modernising and making the 'National' to reflect the ambitions of the next generation of Sri Lankans. LOVI is making the 'National' live and breathe again.

Do you have a favourite sarong from your entire collection?

Every sarong has its occasion. I love them all.

Asanka, how do you relax when you are not working?

I like to read and build things or draw with my son.

What would you like to achieve before the end of the year and what can we expect from yourself and LOVI?

We’re doing a complete renovation of our shop at One Galle Face. We also have several new collections in the works. We’re working towards LOVI becoming a household brand – that would be the goal for 2021.

Finally, can you leave our readers with a personal new year's wish?

It’s an incredible thing to wake up every morning and look forward to your day. I wish, for everyone to find their passion if they haven’t already.


Lorraine Cattell

Lorraine Cattell (Eyre) is a renowned international British Fashion Journalist. Her articles & interviews appear regularly in magazines & online across the globe.

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