Mag Events,Legend l by Tina Edward Gunawardhana l 19 Aug 2022     - 56

Fashion’s Supernova

The rise of Dimuthu Sahabandu

Words: Tina Edward Gunawardhana

Keeping his head well below the  parapet and away from the drama of  Colombo’s fashion circles, designer  Dimuthu Sahabandu prefers to  unleash his own unique brand of drama on the  runway with his exquisite and dramatic  collections.  

Sahabandu is a regular fixture at Colombo  Fashion Week and his work has always  emerged by far the best each and every time.  He really is deserving of the accolade of being  Sri Lanka’s foremost couturier, for he takes  time over his work, from researching to draping  and manipulating fabric to stitching, to achieve  perfection each and every time.  

Like most young designers, after leaving DS  Senanayake Vidyalaya, Sahabandu acquired a  Foundation in Art and Design from AOD.

This  entry level qualification held him in good stead  to join the LaSalle College of the Arts in  Singapore where he graduated with a BA in  Fashion and Textile Design. It was under the  tutelage of Lionel Roudaut that Sahabandu  discovered his love for draping.  

Armed with his degree he returned to
Sri  Lanka and worked for KT Brown as an assistant  where he learnt the ropes in the business of  fashion and creating a brand. Driven by his  desire to create beautiful pieces under his own  brand his luck was in, when fashion boutique Melache requested  him to create a small collection for the boutique  in 2010. The following year Sahabandu was  selected to showcase at Colombo Fashion Week  and since then, he has never looked back.  

For Sahabandu the silhouettes are part of his  brand’s signature. “They are mostly voluminous and  structured. My collections consist of separates which  can be put together as one look or worn separately  with the wearer’s own basics to create their own look.  These looks can be dressed up or down depending  on the occasion. The collection consists mostly of high  waist flared maxi skirts, structured and draped tops  along with dresses which work well on many  different body types” he explains.  

His latest collection ‘Zahra’ was launched initially  for Eid 2022. “We are now working on retail  extensions of the same collection. The word ‘Zahra’  translates to ‘Brilliant’ and ‘Flower’ in Arabic,  capturing the idea of purity and beauty. Our brand  identity too revolves around the idea of femininity  and beauty therefore ‘Zahra’ seemed like an ideal  concept for our Eid collection this year. We’ve  derived inspiration from vintage rose tapestries and  prints. Most of the prints we have in the collection are  custom developed and printed by us at Dimuthu  Sahabandu Collections.” Influenced by the fractious  nature of society and the political upheavals,  Sahabandu adds “Sri Lanka being a multi cultural  country I’ve always felt that our communities have  little or no interaction between one another. We  always cater to our own communities we are familiar  with while we are strangers to others. ‘Zahra’ is an  attempt to bridge the gap between communities.”

A unique attribute of Sahabandu is that he is  never content with using a piece of fabric as it is.  He loves to manipulate it by using some  magnificent techniques and conjures something that  looks magical. Sahabandu says “I believe that it  comes from my love for textile and surface  decoration. I initially wanted to be a textile  designer and found fashion in the process. My  passion for surface detailing is something that  comes to the fore whenever I am in the process of  creating something new. For this reason I can  never be happy with one material.”  

“Whenever I look at material my mind is  automatically thinking of ways to manipulate  surface into something else. I find great joy in  turning something ordinary into something  extraordinary through surface detailing. It’s  fulfilling and almost thirst quenching in a way  that’s inexplicable” he elaborates.  

Despite his meteoric rise to success, Sahabandu  remains a humble man at heart who is  uncomfortable with praise especially when I call  him Sri Lanka’s finest couturier. He fights shy to  accept that accolade by saying “I always wonder  whether I’ve worked hard enough to earn such  recognition. While I’m very grateful  for all I’ve  been able to achieve so far, I’m also highly critical  of my own work. I feel that I need to work a lot  more to be deserving of such praise.” 


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Tina Edward Gunawardhana

Tina Edward Gunawardhana is the Features Editor of Hi!! Magazine. She writes on a variety of topics which include travel, fashion, lifestyle, cuisine and personalities. She is also a journalist for the Daily Mirror Life. An intrepid traveller, Tina likes to show readers the world through her eyes and experiences. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - tinajourno or email her at

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