Salty Kiss fashion label started its journey at the end of the year 2015. The original idea was to make surf bikinis. At that time it was hard to get surf bikinis for a reasonable price in Czech Rep. or in Sri Lanka. I realized very quickly it was gonna be hard work.

How it all began?

So I started to work on bags from recycled materials. I collected rice and onion bags and I borrowed a massive old school sewing machine from my tailor to make samples. But it was just a dust catcher in my room. I started to work with our neighbour in Madiha but unfortunately due to language barrier I couldn´t explain what my vision was and she was putting too many of her ideas into it. It didn´t match.
It was definitely a good experience but I put all sewing on ice for a while.

A few months later, I still had the idea in my mind and I wanted to create something. With help and support from Leo I went to Colombo and bought a second hand plastic Singer sewing machine. I was lucky that my friend Steffi who studied fashion design was visiting that time. She helped me so much! We created the first samples together, so I had something to start from. I went to my tailor to make a few bags and it looked promising. I was using recycled rice bags and I also found ropes made out of fabric scraps. I made enough to test on family and friends.

 

Don´t be afraid to fail!

Then I made a mistake. I´d bought a lot of material so I gave it to the tailor and left to Europe. Without me controlling him, the bags were a nightmare. He gave the work to other tailors, who didn´t know exactly what I wanted and the result was really bad. I was miserable. I still tried to save them by using nice ropes and putting on my logo but I wasn’t sure I could really sell such a bag. On top of everything, one day, one of the bags got wet and the dye from the linen transferred to the canvas outside. OMG!! Then i realized I had super failed! I didn´t want to throw the bags in the bin, so I kept them for another few months until I was introduced to a Women’s project in Polhena. Finally, I donated all the bags to them, either for their own usage or to sell. Lesson learned!

 

Recycled lentils bag

Where are we today?

Currently I am working with my tailor Bashi. It is a long journey, but I can say we do a good job together. It is not always easy. We have different taste in fashion and we’ve had some hard times too. But I didn´t give up – she is a very good learner and a very good tailor. Sometimes she comes with her own nice ideas. I think she understands me better now too. Even though she doesn´t speak English and I speak simple Sinhala. Bashi seems to be happy to work with me and that is what makes me happy too. I pay her per piece at a price she suggests/we agree on. As Salty kiss is a very small manufacturer we don´t have any Fair trade mark. After years of experience with different tailors in Sri Lanka I know what I am doing and I know my tailor is happy. It´s important for me to work with a local woman tailor, to give her the opportunity to earn her own money.

Material
The fabrics we are using are from street markets. Mostly it´s scraps from big garment factories here in Sri Lanka, so we never know what print we will have next. Only canvas is new, and I´ve been told it comes from Bangladesh. Ropes are from a shop in Colombo. I am trying to find the recycled ones I used in the beginning but it´s mission impossible.

 

All pictures in this article are from our very first collection.

 

Pictures Leonel Graner