Whether it’s for a themed birthday party, a fancy dress parade, a school talent concert or a cosplaying event, parents in Sri Lanka often find themselves at their wit’s end whenever they have to dress up their kids. While costume retailers are few and far between, the ones that do offer costumes come at sky-high prices. Aiming to bridge this gap Vanessa De Silva, runs Adhyana products, an online based costume making business that operates on social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.
Its beginnings were humble; Vanessa together with a friend initially started out creating beautiful accessories like alice bands, chains, aprons, tutus, little trinkets and anything that their daughters would like that wasn’t freely available in the market. She explains that this is how the name “Adhyana” came about as it was a combination their daughters’ names. Together, they looked to create affordable wear which could also be reused elsewhere, knowing how much parents have to spend for a costume which are sometimes just for a single use. However since 2017, she has been running Adhyana by herself and employs other stay at home moms in an effort to empower them to be independent and for them to earn some extra income for their families.
We learn that Vanessa is self-taught in the field, and has made a name for herself constantly learning through trial and error. Interestingly, she tells us how she disliked sewing as a child though she always had a penchant for DIY projects. However she goes on to say that she was exposed to it all, as her father was in the garment trade, and as a result grew up watching him deal with his factory orders. After marriage, she was guided by her mother in law, who gave her invaluable sewing tips.
While she considers her daughter her source of inspiration and her husband her pillar of strength, she found her creative juices flowing, following the birth of their daughter. As a parent Vanessa had first-hand experience as to the difficulty in finding material and supplies for her daughters themed birthday parties and ended up making them herself, she explains that although online shopping platforms are more accessible now, costumes on offer are either of low quality material and substandard finishes or do not fit the child well. Every child has their own imagination and interpretation of a cartoon character or costume they would like to dress like, and it is to support children with this that Adhyana came up with the concept of customized costumes for children.
Adhyana has something for every child. They undertake custom orders for costumes, party wear, cosplay items and accessories. These include, traditional outfits such as cloth and jackets, Halloween costumes, costumes for school plays and character costumes. From Disney and cartoon characters to superheroes – Vanessa says she has covered them all. All these costumes are customized for kids of any age, whether they are a couple of months old or are teens or young adults.
Unlike usual clothing manufacturers, who release clothes to suit changing seasons and styles, when it comes to costumes, the demand for them change with the release of new movies or cartoon and television shows that kids are interested in. Adhyana stays abreast with latest costume trends by staying up-to-date on these, talking to parents and simply researching on social media platforms to see what’s current and trending. Because of this, parents may rest assured as Adhyana brings to life your children’s imagination.
The order process is fairly simple and customers can choose any design of their liking for Vanessa to work her magic on. While she works from her home in Nugegoda, customers could visit her for measurements and for collection of the finished costumes. She maybe seen generally by appointment from Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm. In addition, she consults with clients on specific details such fabric and colours, as they can vary depending on the function/occasion the costume will be needed for. Completing an order could take approximately 3-5 working days and for large quantity orders, such as for a concert, it could take about a month.
Not only does Adhyana provide costumes that are stylish and unique, but also costumes that ensure value for money. While prices may vary depending on the type of fabric the client prefers or the detailing required, the items on offer may range from Rs. 200/= for a hair band, Rs. 400/= for an apron and costumes could range approximately between Rs. 1,000/= to Rs. 3,000/=.
Adhyana hopes to expand to cater to a bigger clientele and to help empower stay at home moms from low income families. Check them out for yourself on their Facebook and Instagram Profiles that go as “Adhyana Products”
BY SHANYA COORAY