An Empire State of Mind
By Sadira Sittampalam
Empire Clothing Club is a Sri Lankan modern lifestyle brand that strives to embody success. In an age where most of the clothes we buy are from imported brands, Empire hopes to give rise to a proud Sri Lankan born brand which is right in the midst of taking the whole world by storm, manifesting the ambition of its customers to build their own empires.
Speaking to chairman of Empire Clothing Club, Owin (CK), tells us of the inspiration behind the brand. “I’ve always wanted to become a self-made individual, someone who builds an empire and leaves behind a legacy. This idea of the empire state of mind and sharing it with others was the DNA behind the Empire Clothing Club and I saw that clothing is perhaps the strongest form of self-expression.”
He first thought up the idea for Empire, right as he was wrapping up college. However, he decided not to act on impulse and sat on his idea for a little, trying out corporate jobs for around two years. However, “One day, I woke up and realised I didn’t have any passion towards the work I was doing and it hit me that life is short - I needed to do something I was passionate about,” he recalls. He started taking up a graphics design class in order to learn how to create the designs for his brand and started drafting up a business plan. “I then registered the company using the funds I had accumulated and I asked my closest friend and great source of inspiration for myself, Asjar, to join the company. He left his existing job and joined Empire Clothing Club Pvt Ltd, and the rest is history!”
However, this journey was not without its challenges. Owin recalls, “It wasn’t easy starting up a brand from scratch, especially when the market had such a fixation on foreign brands. Our challenge was to change the wrongful perception that local products couldn’t be of the same calibre as foreign brands,” (who ironically produce their items in Sri Lanka, import it to their country and export it back to us at a much higher price). Thus, they invested in getting the very best fabrics and partnering with the best factories for production. Their uncompromising dedication to acquiring the very best for their brand now shows as they have built up their very own community of individuals who love the brand as much as they do.
Their designs range from minimal to loud, but are always classy. “Whether it’s a Fresh Polo, or a Clean Basic, or perhaps a slick graphics tee - we’ve got you covered literally and figuratively!” remarks Owin. And there is no end to their originality, innovation and quality in their clothing, with plenty more designs and styles on the way. Nevertheless, building an Empire is not a one man job - it takes a collective effort from a team. “All individuals from the design team to the sales team to our models; every employee that works with me to build Empire inspires me to be better and do better!” Owin highlights, expressing his gratitude.
But what exactly makes Empire any different than other clothing brands? Well, Owin has three reasons “We talk the talk and walk the walk, we love our customer base, and we’re all about innovation and originality. We live, breathe and bleed Empire!” This is all because the entire concept of Empire is about a lot more than just clothes. They focus on their customers (who they refer to as ‘family members’) and promote their community and their lifestyle, not just the product itself. As Owin explains ‘Empire’ itself is a powerful word anyone can relate to, everyone in life is building their empire, which is a goal or vision they aspire towards. “As we always say, if you have a goal or a dream in life, Empire is not our brand, it belongs to you!”
They have a very active online presence as well, dedicated to providing daily value in terms of life hacks, psychology tips, motivational content that would all benefit their ‘family members’. One of the best things about their online content is their ‘Lives’ where they invite individuals who have built their own empires and allow them to share their journeys and a few lessons they have learned along the way. “A few individuals who have come on board for the Empire Live sessions are (just to name a few) Commonwealth power lifting Gold Medalist and Biggest Raw Squat Holder in Sri Lanka Dhanushka Kodikara, Certified Transformation Coach and Motivational Speaker Fahad Farook, Women's Empowerment and Transformational coach Gaia Kodithuwakku, Training Leader of Asia 2018 Prassanna Pathmanathan, Sri Lankan Metal Legend and Branding Consultant Suresh De Silva from the legendary band Stigmata, all of whom are brilliant, inspirational individuals!”
As for the future, Empire has some big plans. “An exclusive just for you, our most recent project is that we’re launching the first ever Tee Subscription Service in the country!
Under this monthly subscription service we arrange for tees to be delivered on a monthly basis to customers so they save time on physical shopping by getting monthly clothing based on their wants and needs! We want to focus on convenience and provide high-quality clothing solutions, delivered straight to their doorstep,” he discloses. With this subscription service, customers will be able to choose between a single or multiple tee subscription, with the option to customise their tees or even leave it to fate with an exciting ‘mystery subscription’. They are even looking into joggers, shorts and shirts before the year ends. “These are just a few teasers of what's in store for Empire Clothing Club!” Owin adds.
So for everyone hungry for more, if you want to look your best, feel your best and be part of an entire community that shares your ambition and drive, Empire is the way to go.