50 years of Batik reborn with Buddhi Batiks | Darshi Keerthisena
The contemporary art of batiks had a revival with the modern, chic trends and designs brought to life by Darshi, who tells us her amazing journey and the experience working as the owner of Buddhi Batiks.
Born to the family of Buddhi Batiks which was founded in 1970 by her father, Darshi had quite a fun-filled childhood playing around with fabrics and dyes in the backyard of her house where the batik factory of Buddhi Batiks was located. Koswadiya was a small town filled with self-employed batik producers, most of the talent that was poured into the art of batik at Buddhi Batiks. Mesmerized by the patterns, fabrics, colors and designs she has witnessed since childhood, Darshi wanted to pursue higher studies in fashion and textiles, with the aim of investing her knowledge and talent into the business.
Her first career after the graduation was at Brandix, where she gained more knowledge on the garment sector and apparel industry. When she first entered the Batik business, the industry was struggling, finding labor was challenging, and most importantly, batik pieces did not have enough recognition or appreciation. Under these conditions, she received an invitation from Sarinda Unambuwe, CEO of MAS Linea Aqua to collaborate on swimwear combined with batik. The exposure and popularity received for batik from this collaboration helped Darshi receive more recognition, and with batik trending again, she gained more customers and followers.
Watch the full video here
Darshi has always been a person with unique ideas, and she did not want to carry the legacy of Buddhi Batiks with the same designs and same process. She wanted to stand out from the rest of the batik pieces, and she wanted to incorporate fashion and comfort to all the clothes that came out of Buddhi Batiks. From crop tops, wrap skirts, kimonos to traditional Kandyan sarees, she made sure to include clothing pieces for everyday wear to grand occasions in Buddhi Batiks. While this range itself might look overwhelming, she did not stop there. She used the left-over pieces of fabric to design handbags and wallets, while also manufacturing upholstery, men’s wear, and kids’ wear. Buddhi Batik pieces are fashion statements!
Being the owner of one of Colombo’s most outstanding fashion destinations, Darshi barely finds time to involve in fitness activities. However, whenever she finds time she goes for a run in the morning, which she claims to have a great impact on her daily activities. She is a great animal-lover and has been a vegan for almost two years now. Her favorite place to be at times she’s stressed is the beach. Living a little closer to the beach when she spent time in Koswadiya, her hometown, Darshi still enjoys watching the sea waves, sunsets and the calm, soothing environment in a beach. She finds happiness in these little moments and is grateful for being able to follow her dreams and become successful with the help of her loving family, friends, and supporters.
Recycling the fabrics and the waste water of the Koswadiya batik factory is one of her main concerns at the moment, and she has joined hands with her fellow batik entrepreneurs in the Koswadiya village to address this issue, where she was also granted an opportunity to further emphasize this concern to the President. “I’m very grateful to the President for giving us such opportunity, and giving more priority to a local, small industry, and in addition to that by appointing a minister for batik, handloom and local apparel industry. Batik is an art that needs to be cherished and preserved to gift to our future generations, and I want to make sure that I can contribute to that cause in any way I can.”
Darshi Keerthisena provides a great example for the young entrepreneurs in the country by showing that you can revolutionize any business and bring it to greater heights if you have the dedication and motivation. She also shows the importance of learning and gaining experience in the field you love, to better-understand the market and the needs of the customers. “I want to advise the young entrepreneurs in the country to never give up, thrive harder and achieve your goals. Be fearless and make everyone believe in your dream as much as you do. Go forth and concur the world!”