Fashionmarket.lk: Sri Lanka’s fashion retail groundbreaker reveals the story behind its cool new identity
When fashionmarket.lk first entered Sri Lanka’s style scene, things were just starting to change. There were consumers with growing spending power looking for homegrown designer brands to wear proudly, and the retail experiences were just starting to get interesting. So, when fashionmarket.lk entered as an exclusively online retailer with free delivery and returns, a never-seen-before mix of trans seasonal styles and a clever east-meets-west curation that played into the tastes of a wide spectrum of women, it was an instant hit. Four years after this beginning, the brand has evolved into its next stage with a sleek new identity—FMLK. Launched with its first phygital store, and brick-and-mortar retail operation this April becoming a powerful engagement point to offer an omni channel retail experience to its customers in line with what’s happening internationally, FMLK’s new transformation seems to be evident in much more than its look and feel. Joining us for an exclusive interview, FMLK CEO Harshi Alexander shared the story behind the beloved brand, and what its new identity means in the brand’s evolution.
So, how did fashionmarket.lk become FMLK? What’s the story?
Simply put, it’s a matter of evolution. Just like our consumers, we’ve grown up a bit, changed the flavour a bit and come to this new place. See, FMLK is about the woman who wears it. And as she changes, evolves and transforms, we do too. When we started off five years ago, our consumer was at a different place. At the time, she was looking for her own style identity connecting to her roots; she wanted a style statement that speaks for her values and beliefs; she was looking for affordable designer wear that did all this, and that’s the gap we filled. And through the years we moved and inspired our loyal fandom to evolve this way with stories and campaigns like ‘She inspires’ and ‘Wear your superpower’. So, by the end of 2018, we noticed how we have reached a new state along with the women who flock around our brand—together, we were all more confident, sure of our style statements, and what we want to project out into the world. FMLK came from this new place we arrived at.
See, we don’t see ourselves as a physical store and or an online platform. Our vision is not limited to that because we are not just a clothing brand or a shop. We are a movement that connects to design and empowering women in a big and all-encompassing way. When we first started out, the online space really delivered that and helped us achieve that. We wanted to really nail it with that first, and that’s the reason we did not want to open a physical store up until this point. We wanted to be bigger, we ship to twenty one countries worldwide and also have a big following in India. It's been four years since we started out, and we felt it's time to give our customers a new touch point to come see us in the physical realm too; so, now you can visit our store in Green Path; a really interesting space in a beautiful heritage building which we have transformed with an unmissably cool charcoal grey exterior, to mirror a fresh urban take of our ‘New Sri Lankan Style’ aesthetic. We have our online customers now popping by to our phygital store too. It’s a phygital store with bagless shopping options where the weightless convenience of shopping online is retained where your purchases will be delivered to your doorstep allowing you to continue with your day after you shop with us, without the burden of bags. It’s the only one of its kind in Sri Lanka. Totally worth experiencing.
It’s really about how fashion is bigger than just clothes. It’s about how clothing can connect us to history, people, cultures and stories. We love that and we know that it is what makes our fashion different. That’s why batiks, handlooms and all these local crafts take such prominence at FMLK. We made heritage crafts look cool again. As much as we focus on the person who wears the clothing, the people who make the clothing are also a big part of our story. With every piece we design and make right here in Sri Lanka, these artisans find a voice for their family heritage, craft and skill. It’s such a beautiful thing, isn’t it?