Feeling Loved in a LOVI
According to Wall Street Journal, François-Henri Pinault, the chairman and chief executive of the $21 billion luxury group Kering, owner of Gucci, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, and Puma, thinks the word luxury is overused. “You’re always more luxurious than someone else, and you’re always less luxurious than someone else,” says Mr. Pinault. So what does luxury actually mean in the modern age, in the context of culture?
When Asanka de Mel and his creative band of collaborators fashioned the LOVI sarong, his goal was a luxury garment, but not in the traditional sense. He wasn’t seeking the notion of bling, in that gold-bedecked idea of the word. He wasn’t imagining any show of wealth.
“You’re always more luxurious than someone else, and you’re always less luxurious than someone else” - François-Henri Pinault
“Luxury is celebration of the human spirit,” says Asanka. “It is experiencing freedom and abundance, as opposed to fear and scarcity. It’s a fine wristwatch, the softness of a cashmere sweater, or the sensuousness of worn leather under your fingertips—they remind the wearer of the human spirit behind the product. The goal of LOVI sarongs is to provide such experience of spirit to its proud wearer, every time.”
Asanka’s design thinking marries functionality, excellent craftsmanship, and fine fabrics. He chose to reimagine the sarong in order to execute his vision because it’s so multi-functional. In our desire for exploration, we seek comfort and versatility.
In the new globalized culture, we have seen increasing popularity of denim jeans all over the world, even in places where it doesn’t make sense climatically, like Sri Lanka. "Denim is popular because it is a versatile, stylish garment that is comfortable. The sarong has all of those same qualities—you can dress it up, you can dress it down—but it’s so much more lightweight and cooler to wear,” says de Mel.
In one garment, the LOVI takes the wearer from the playground to the boardroom, from the beach to a cocktail party with just the change of a shirt, shoes, or adding a few accessories. The sarong is something you may wear at home and to bed, but can also be your go-to “little black sarong,” which incidentally, is the name of one of the women’s high-end iterations in the new LOVI collection. It all depends on how you wear it.
For Asanka today, finding luxury in one’s clothing is to feel authentic and bold, to have the freedom to be active and forward thinking, but without forgetting one’s identity. “It pays homage to tradition without being bound by it.”
Asanka knows that he’s taking a risk by creating a luxury sarong brand. But he takes on the challenge with gusto in an endeavor to create a luxury experience in a garment that many can afford and wear—one that appeals to the modern zeal of our generation.