Growing up, Mala Kaluarachchi surrounded herself with the imaginary world of arts and crafts. From painting to dress-making to home décor, she illuminated her world with her magical designs and creativity. In 1980 she infused this creativity when she learned the traditional Sri Lankan art of Batik. As Mala opened her doors to her Batik studio “Sanathana Batiks”, she trained her elder daughter to follow in her footsteps.
I, Kanchana, Mala’s elder daughter grew up in my mother’s Batik workshop and helped her as she created her masterpieces. The craft of Batik painting came naturally to me and my love for the art, amplified as the years went by.
Sanathana, which means certainty in our native language, didn’t seem memorable as I grew to attract a global clientele.
Appropriately I coined it “Certitude by K”, and set out on my journey, to not only spread the art that was bestowed on me by my mother and our island’s fore-fathers but to also revolutionize it with passion towards the environment and social sustainability of the fashion industry.
Do you know what goes in to your pair of jeans?
3625 liters of freshwater, 3kg of toxic chemicals, 400MJ of energy, equivalent to keeping a light bulb on for 116 days, 13 sq meters of land to grow cotton, contaminated by pesticides and agrochemicals. And depending on which country they are produced in unethical manual labor.
When I started my journey, these figures troubled me. It is estimated that 20% of the world’s industrial water pollution is caused by the apparel industry.
It took me 30 years to realize, I am what I choose to wear.
Every time I put my head through a t-shirt or stuck my legs through my jeans, I was adding my part to one of the world’s most environmentally hazardous industries. But it really didn’t need to be like that. I had the incredible power to reduce my carbon footprint.
So backed with my Bakit skills, I started “up-cycling” my old clothes, infusing my love for Batik into my old boring clothes and giving them a fresh look. I then started collecting pre-loved clothes from friends and family and working my designs in to them. In less than a year, my passion and hobby, expanded as a business opportunity to creating a circular economy, I had dreamt of. Today, I am proud to say, my up-cycle clothes are sold in many countries throughout the world and are loved by many.
My story doesn’t end there. My dream was not merely to have a business that made money, but one that also gave back to the community I grew up in. According to UNICEF, approximately 21,000 children in Sri Lanka are in orphanages.
I instinctly wanted to train and provide career opportunities to empower the women from the department of probation and childcare, giving them an opportunity towards sustaining a livelihood while caring for their families. But this meant providing them with board and lodging.
With my mother, Mala’s spontaneous reaction to supporting my wild dreams, we opened our home to families who are now a part of my circular economy project, Certitude by K.
Today, our project creates a range of one-of-a-kind designs, while supporting the livelihood of underprivileged women in Sri Lanka. All our exquisite pieces are handmade with love, using left over fabrics from the clothing industry & if you own any of these products, you can be assured that you are not only helping the environment but also families of local communities, develop their livelihood.
We Pledge is to make the world a better place, one piece of batik fabric at a time.