Making plus-sized clothing trendy
By Menaka Indrakumar
Adhisha Dahanayake has created a unique concept of clothing with her brand 'Double XL.' After finding it difficult to get clothes in plus sizes, she decided to start this label to fill a void in the fashion scene. Together with her partners, she created many unique designs and the brand caters to different plus sizes. The journey, however, wasn't easy as she had her fair shares of struggles to make it this far. In conversation with Ceylon Today, Adhisha shares her views on banking, business, fashion and plus size acceptance.
From banking to fashion, what made you change
Destiny in fact took quite a whimsical turn when I unexpectedly realized that I actually have not been engaging in what I am passionate about in my regular 8-5 job in the private sector. I strongly felt that I needed to unleash my inner potential into something which I am passionate about. Something that was dear to me and something through which I can have a significant impact on society.
What have you learnt this far in your journey?
One of the main lessons learnt throughout my journey is to be true to yourself and your market segment. Genuinely try to relate to it and try to speak their language. This is the clear path to success! However, I must add that engaging in a profession that you are passionate in, is much more rewarding than wasting time on something that does not feel quite right. Engaging in an activity one likes is much more satisfying and rewarding than merely engaging in something you clearly don't relate to.
What inspired you to venture into plus size clothing?
I realized that there was a market gap. Honestly speaking, I realized that there was not a single outlet to cater to the plus sized community in Sri Lanka. Curvy has always been the new sexy of course! To bridge this gap, Double XL had to come in to the scene!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In the course of the past 7 years, Double XL has been successful in introducing the hottest trends in keeping with the global fashion arena. We at Double XL have earned quite a reputation as a premier plus size boutique. We want to reach more people and touch their lives! Our plans to expand locally as well as internationally will be revealed to you in due course.
What is your personal size?
Size is relative and should not inconvenience anyone I believe. Big or small, anyone can look quite the bombshell in the right clothing. As long as you're comfortable and confident in your choice of clothing, the world I believe is your ramp! So strut your stuff and walk the walk!
Who is your biggest support and inspiration?
My parents. My late father still remains my biggest source of inspiration and I can still hear his kind words of wisdom and advice as I advance in my journey as a female entrepreneur.
My mother too has been an enormous source of strength and support to me, comforting me in moments of despair and frustration.
On the other hand, my husband and brother, my partners in the business, continue to be my motivation in taking the business towards excellence.
What would you like to say to those who are plus sized?
Being plus size is not being different, plus size is yet another size among other sizes. What makes YOU is being YOU and selecting the right clothing and accessories to compliment your size and build. So my advice is to enjoy and celebrate your size.
How does it feel to be a young and successful businesswoman?
I truly am proud of myself that I am a change wave in a male dominated world. I want to further encourage women to follow their dreams and achieve excellence in their own capacity and conquer the world! I truly feel liberated and empowered. It is actually a nice feeling to know that you are a part of a massive change process that in turn will impact the world in a positive way!
Have you faced body shaming?
As I stated above, size and body shape is simply not being different. We are one among the many diverse sizes and shapes in this world. And I strongly believe that the society should not ridicule or ill-treat humans based on size.
Finally, what does fashion and plus size mean to you?
I strive to provide for the plus sized population of Sri Lanka, to preserve their identity by offering comfortable, trendy, stylish and up-to-date clothing. This will not only boost their confidence, but also make the world aware of the fact that plus size does not compromise on anything, just like a size zero!
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