We Are Not Models
The Pearl of the Indian Ocean
When my mother was a little girl, she and my grandfather shared a special bond. She was one of eight children, but for one reason or another, my grandfather found her to be a lucky charm. Every week my grandfather would take her to the town and play the lottery. My mother would pick out the numbers, my grandfather would fill the tickets, then he’d prop her on his shoulders and walk back home. On one particular occasion, my grandfather’s intuition came to fruition. They had won. They had won a lot of money. And with this money, my grandfather opened a number of textile stores throughout Sri Lanka, all named Vasanthas*, after my mother. As the years went by, the business continued to prosper and my mother’s taste for fabrics, colour and style continued to develop.
After the civil war begun, all the stores but one were destroyed. My mother married and left Sri Lanka to afford me a better life. Although she left behind the Vasanthas stores, she still had a keen sense for fashion.
In the late 90s, my mother’s passion for fabrics again blossomed and slowly boxes of fabrics, saris and Kurtas would start to fill up our living room. After making numerous trips to the silk houses in India, she opened her first store in Toronto. My mother did not care for money, nor does she care for it now. Despite my better judgment, my mother gave women saris to wear despite them not having the funds to pay upfront. My mother is no Vera Wang, nor did she have the money to be giving saris away. What she loved however were saris, and she loved to share that love with whomever she could.
We Are Not Models
Growing up in that sea of silk and gold planted a seed in me. I, like my mother, love style. I love good tailoring, third culture street style mixed with high fashion. But what I found most challenging was the industry’s failure to include people like me in the clothes I feel so passionately about. I am not a model. People like my mother and I are not models. Rarely are people like us featured in the pages of Vogue.
We Are Not Models is about encouraging style, creativity and confidence in a world that tells me my desires are out of reach. I will endeavour to highlight everything I love in the world of fashion but furthermore highlight the movers and shakers who are going against the grain.
*My mother’s name is Vasanthy