Founded by Charini Suriyage, Charini is a Sri Lankan company that specializes in luxurious and ethical lingerie. Celebrating beauty, comfort and timeless design, Charini celebrates the tradition of lingerie design, while eliminating metal and plastic components from all her designs. Charini designs do not utilize elastic, chemical dyes and support sustainable production. Her collection is carefully crafted from luxurious reclaimed materials combined with heritage hand woven Sri Lankan silk. Inspired by her own Sri Lankan heritage, the Charini collection blends her formal design expertise with her care for the environment as well as community-based artisanship.
Suriyage studied fashion design at the University of Moratuwa in Sri lanka, followed by a Masters in design management at the London College of Fashion. Mentored by some of the luminaries of the eco fashion world, such as Orsola de Castro, Elizabeth Laskar and Claire Hamer, Suriyage gained invaluable experience, with an ecological bent.
Her designs have a retro sensibility and sense of glamour mostly lost in modern lingerie, invoking an old world Hollywood glamour and sensuality through waist high paneled panties that would look at home on a risqué Vargas girl illustration from a 1940’s Esquire magazine. Mixing fine criss cross ribbon lacing with sheer lace panels and lightly contrasting bias taped seams, Charini highlight complex paneling and retro corseted lines. Designs feature hand crochet buttons from traditional ‘Beeralu’ lace, with reclaimed fabrications sourced exclusively from carbon accredited factories in Sri Lanka, and produced in certified “garments Without Guilt” factories. Pieces are designed to reduce the number of components, often over 30 in traditional lingerie, each one requiring its own wasteful manufacturing process, that consumes high levels of energy and pollutes through harmful dyes, plastic and metal by products and processes. Minimizing the number of components and employing a ‘no waste policy’ to use resources sparingly, Charini ensures all by products are reused.
Laces are hand woven and produced by women artisans, along with hand woven silks from artisanal communities in the hills of Sri Lanka. Supporting the declining traditional crafts of Sri Lanka, Suriyage supports the sustainable livelihoods for these craftsmen, while ensuring fair trade wages by collaborating with organizations such as the National Craft Council of Sri Lanka. Embracing age-old production methods, Charini celebrates the pattern cutting traditions of lingerie design, to produce comfortable, well-crafted contemporary designs that support the body.
Winning the first ever Ethical Fashion Award for Lingerie at the Sri Lanka Design Festival in 2010, the Charini collection is available through Yoox.com as well as Asos. Press coverage in Time Out, the New York Times and Treehugger, to name just a few. Charini also offers a made to measure service for each style to ensure the perfect fit.