Where to go for handlooms and batiks?
Batik and handloom weaving are two of Sri Lanka’s most important and traditional industries when it comes to the textile sector. More importantly, they represent an integral part of the country’s rich culture and have given a vivacious and vibrant identity to the Island. Batiks and handlooms are unmistakably striking and unique in their designs of bright hues. Often adorned with large prints of animals, flowers, Kandyan dancers and peraheras; Batik making is famous in the towns of Hikkaduwa, Galle, North of Negombo upto Mahawewa. Handlooms too are a regional industry that is popular in Thalagune, Kalutara, Kandy, Matale, Nuwara Eliya, Kurunegala, Batticaloa, Kalmunai and Hambantota. So here are a few places in Colombo for good quality batiks and handloom items as recommended by Time Out Sri Lanka. Their prices are moderate, but all of these places offer a range of collections to choose from.
Where to shop for antiques in Colombo?
There are some of us who live by the saying, ‘old is gold’, and that’s why we hold on to those quirky valuables and collectibles for as long as we can. Be it rare old ornaments, maps, paintings or furniture, door and window frames; there are people who just can’t resist but fall in love with their old charm. Lucky for them, there are many stores in Colombo and suburbs that sell antiques, and also offer a wide collection to select from. Walk into any of these shops, and we guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.
Colombo gem and jewellery stores
Even a quick browse through classy yet well-designed settings would make you feel that Ayura jewelllery produces rare, attractive, and above all quality, jewellery pieces. The shop itself, with the charming yet stylish ambiance, reflects the value of jewellery and innovativeness of craftsmanship. The boutique furnished in black and silver hues highlights the huge collection of design pieces. This extraordinary boutique displays a breathtaking and unique collection of hand-finished and machine-cut jewellery. The Ayura collection includes rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces of good quality while it allows the client to customize their design.
Zam Gems offers you unique and modern jewellery made from genuine materials at affordable prices. The collection includes pendants, rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets made of precious and semi precious gemstones with a range of vibrant hues. The sparkle in each stone and jewellery reflects the skill of the craftsman. Zam Gems also makes personalised jewellery designs manufactured from finest gems that create an effect of elegance. Such high quality crafted jewellery pieces and precious gemstones display the innovative combination of traditional techniques and new technologies.
Colombo Jewellery Stores
Guided by its founder’s visionary belief in fabulous precious gems and a keen eye for fashion, backed by enviable craftsmanship, CJS stands today as a hallmark of luxury, style and quality. Coveted and desired by local and international customers, CJS is one of the most respected, revered and influential brands in Sri Lanka. Personified by the store’s globally recognised ambassador, Jacqueline Fernandez, Colombo Jewellery Stores is the very epitome of luxury and glamorous trinkets. Additionally, CJS is also a home to some of the world's most luxurious brands of watches such as HUBLOT, Tag Heuer and Raymond Weil.
Clothes shopping in Colombo
The elegant MANGO store features a range of women’s wear, from trendy casual wear and smart wear to glamourous evening wear. The single floor at street level has excellent visibility, ample access and parking facilities. The MANGO flagship store in Colombo has a range of accessories for the fashion tourists in town. MANGO epitomises style, convenience and versatility and is a must-stop for all ladies especially during the festive season. The interior design of this store combines functionality with aesthetics, an ambience characterised by its rustic simplicity, combined with a minimalist make-up with the warmth of objects originating from nature. Brand MANGO is Spain’s second largest exporter of women’s fashion, that embraces a concept that is based on an alliance between a quality product in accordance with the latest fashion trends, at an affordable price.
Hameedias was established in 1949. Since then, the store has achieved phenomenal growth to become one of the household names in Sri Lanka. Hameedias today is a name synonymous with high quality custom tailoring and ready-made clothes for gents. Men of distinction – be they corporate executives or the outdoor adventure zealots, bridegrooms, sports personalities and film stars – have all shared the Hameedia excellence. They also stock global quality ready-made brands of clothes with Le Bond, Envoy and Signature having made many a satisfied customer in Sri Lanka. For the complete man these brands carry a full range of fashion from clothing to footwear to accessories.
Arcade Independence Square
A complex of colonial style buildings housing a host of outlets and facilities for shopping, dining and entertainment. It’s the latest prominent landmark in the city with outdoor sitting areas, promenades, fountains and flowerbeds while inside are 24 retail stores ranging from clothing to electronics. Both local and international brands are represented here, including Nike, Levis, Giordano, Samsung, TITAN, Parfumerie, Kookaburra, Stone ‘N’ String and Amante. Sri Lankan, Indian, Thai, Japanese and fast food restaurants are among the dining options and there is a Cineplex for 3D movies.
Romafour has taken the local shopping scene by storm. With an impressive building located down Galle Road, Romafour is joyfully over the top. This fashion kingdom is comprised of four floors and caters to the entire family. Most of the clothes here are deliciously loud; sequins, glitter and bold colours makes Romafour truly different from the rest of Colombo’s shopping destinations. As such, the store is catered to largely young audience, but don't be fooled by its youthful appearance, Romafour has a wide selection of formal suits, evening gowns and other grown up attire. Prices are moderate for what you get and the staff is attentive fashion savvy. Take heed, parking can be a little tricky.
An elegant clothes store situated in Colombo 06, Kamsins is for the man and the woman and the young and the old with an inimitable range of designer saris, lehengas and shalwars, suits, sherwanis and kurthis. The accessories to glamorise the outfits are antique and hefty and blend well with the heavily embellished saris and other ladies’ wear. Kamsins specialises in wedding attire for the bride and the groom and every piece is intricately worked and embroidered with beautiful threads of gold, silver and bronze and a multitude of stones and sequins. Kamsins is also popular and frequented for being trendy by those knowing what’s in vogue in sari and men’s wear. Kamsins is a must-visit fashion store for Indian outfits selected only from the finest and cutting-edge designers of India.
Colombo: essential shopping destinations
Majestic City is one of oldest malls in Sri Lanka and still remains the country’s most sought after shopping destination. It is a seven-storied building with 96 shops. The basement has a kids’ play area and a decent food court. After a major renovation in 2008, MC as it is widely known, got its own cineplex with four cinemas. These are the MC Platinum, Gold, Ultra and Superior cinemas. Platinum is the largest. There are few showrooms of international brands and perhaps MC lacks the glamour of shopping malls elsewhere but by international standards it qualifies as a fine shopping complex. MC has also become “THE” place for a hangout with youngsters strolling its corridors window shopping or lounging on its galleries.
This is the country’s first shopping complex and dates back to the late 1980s. If Liberty Plaza seems staid, on closer inspection it will delight you with some rarities. It is home to some of the quaintest shops in the city. There are plenty of outlets which offer good deals on mobile phones, electronic goods etc. The “Photo Technica” is the city’s abode for all photographers - it sells the latest variety of digital cams and other electronic accessories. The mall is slightly old fashioned with its timings as it closes at 7pm on weekdays. Also it’s closed on Sundays, making it difficult for weekend shoppers.
A name that’s now synonymous with Colombo, Odel is an integral part of the city’s shopping scene. Boasting 33,000 square feet of sheer retail bliss, Odel has steadily grown from humble beginnings to a department store worthy of international acclaim. Odel’s exterior presence follows a traditional formula; tall arched entrances, brilliant white walls and rich wooden interiors, Odel is a homage to colonial architectural establishments in the city. Odel has a rich collection of clothes, from basic tees to exquisite designer wear, Odel is one of the few stores in Colombo that manages to appeal to both a mass and niche audience. Like any department store, apparel is just one of Odel’s product offerings. Designer time pieces, exotic sarees, an extravagant perfume collection, a cosy book store, an eclectic assortment of jewellery and a playful kids’ department truly makes Odel your go-to shopping destination. Though the very essence of Odel is shopping, you will be amazed by the number of things one can do within its richly adorned interior. From a Japanese sushi bar, to a French delicatessen, to a well stocked bar and even a foot spa.