Slow Fashion in Sri Lanka: Chakre Shop

Chakre is a semi-profitable business working towards the sale of pre-owned clothing, established by two young women entrepreneurs – Kumarini Pathirana and Tiffahny Hoole.

“Although we are essentially a ‘thrift-store’, we have incorporated a number of elements, distinguishing ourselves from a regular one.”

“We accept clothing items from third parties based on a two-stage approval process, after which we sell them on our Instagram page at affordable prices.”

“For each sale, the donor is paid a commission, and then a portion of our profits are allocated to a charitable cause, with the incorporation of cloth to help others.”

“This then leads to a cycle, hence ‘Chakre’, which in Sinhala/Sanskrit translates to the term Cycle.”

What is Chakre’s social impact?

“We recently completed our first project, which was donating 100 masks to people on the street.”

“We recognized that COVID-19 has had a massive financial impact, especially on those who lack a source of income. So we went out and provided fresh new face masks for the new year.”

“We had a manufacturer for the cloth masks, she was a sole proprietor. Our aim was to also provide her with a source of income during these tough times.”

“We strongly believe that income generation programs are a necessity for women to move forward in their small-scale businesses.”

“Due to popular demand as well as the worsening situation in the country, we have decided to continue manufacturing masks for at least the next two months.”

“We are also open to suggestions, as to what our next venture should be.”

Is slow fashion a growing trend?

“It should be. No doubt that it is the more progressive alternative, and is recognized in many other countries such as the UK and the US.”

“In Sri Lanka, we have noticed a surge in demand for ethical products which require zero wastage. However, the ability to bring forth that idea of second-hand clothing into a reality, remains a challenge.”

“Extending the lifespan of clothes can make a huge difference to a country’s water consumption, carbon footprint and minimize synthetic fibers from entering landfills.”

How else is Chakre being sustainable?

By using very minimal and unique packaging.

“We use newspaper packaging for the clothes because it’s the most sustainable type of packaging available, and it’s also biodegradable.”

“Our aim is to do away with the stigma associated with newspaper wrapping, as its associated with cheap goods, making it unappealing.”

“We advise those who are donating clothes to bring their own bag, in order to encourage them to reuse and recycle.”

How can we be a part of the cycle?

“If you have any clothes that you don’t wear anymore, you can donate them to us.”

“Simply, send us pictures of the clothes you want to give away and we will put them through our approval process. This is to ensure that the clothes are of good quality.”

“Our cycle will only operate with the continuous sale of items.”

“You are contributing to a charitable cause and also promoting slow fashion by purchasing from us.”

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