Returning to your Roots

Growing up in the hills of Sri Lanka, Inosha Campion has always looked at the simplicity and fundamental elements that is so apparent in this lush country as inspiration for her love of design.The founder and designer of Sahana Byron Bay returned back to her roots this May on a journey of personal discovery.

Inosha’s label was first inspired by her childhood, growing up in a small town she was surrounded by family traditions and strong values. The youngest of four sisters, she remembers choosing fabrics with her mother, a truly beautiful and passionate woman who passed away almost a decade ago, but whose spirit lives on in the Sahana designs and values.

She spent precious time revisiting childhood dwellings, meeting elders, hearing old family stories and getting to know cousins she had never met before. These experiences were reminiscent of her history and she became even more inspired by the beauty that surrounds the alluring country where she once grew up.

Inosha spent time looking back at old photos and fond memories of the matching outfits her mother would sew for all four girls for family celebrations - she realised this first sparked her love of textiles.

“The trip was returning back to my roots to appreciate the past and celebrate the future, revisiting old family ties and learning about the natural textiles that comes from the rich culture in Sri Lanka and India and embracing my heritage”

Whilst on her travels, Inosha spent some time with the Foundation of Goodness, located south of Colombo, a not-for-profit organisation that she has been working closely with for over 20 years.

Earlier this year she started a project that is close to her heart. Through this Women’s Enterprise, she supports women in rural areas of Sri Lanka build the right work skills and ethics to set themselves up for employment or to start a business of their own. Through Foundation of Goodness, Inosha has been able to help change the lives of many women through sponsorship and by donating to this positive cause.

This holistic foundation provides great independence, security and empowers women to understand how to move in a positive life changing direction in order to support themselves and their families.

Working closely with individual women during her trip, she has been able to learn about their past and their individual skillset. These women have learnt dressmaking, curtain making, soft toy creations and food preservation and processing, through the training programs offered by the foundation.

She continues to work and support them as they continue to develop their skills and earn an income to support their independence.

“I was really touched by the stories they shared and the determination they have to better their lives,” says Inosha.

She continues to mentor these women on what she has learnt through her studies and by running her own fashion label and plans to sponsor more women through the program in the upcoming months.

Just a stone throw across the bay, Inosha continued her travels and ventured to  the Indian cities of Delhi and Jaipur. Known as the textile capital of the world, Inosha wanted to source from the country’s vast array of tactile fabrics and heritage. Discovering raw cottons, linens and silks most prominent in India, she visited small villages and workshops where centuries old traditions such as block printing, natural mud and indigo dyes are used to colour textile. She was fascinated by the way these traditions are still being kept alive today.

These slow and sustainable techniques create beautifully unique characteristics on natural textiles in a way that blends with Sahana’s philosophy as a brand and lifestyle, and the core of Inosha’s beliefs for Sahana being an ethical way of life and sustainability.

The process of selecting the earthy natural dyes used to colour the fabrics, sourcing recycled papers for packaging, and using sustainable accessories and swing tags are a positive step forward in conscious manufacturing for the brand.

The new Summer 19 collection is about to launch this September, it will bring together the nostalgia and old memories of her childhood that she has revived through her travels.

This capsule will stay true to her mantra which encompasses peaceful living and staying true to yourself as a benchmark to a relaxed and mindful way of life. This mantra continues to inspire the collection.

Scroll down to see the photos of her inspirational travels and stay tuned for news about the up and coming collection.

Nisha Abey