Empowering Women Through a Rebrand of a Handloom Company

Reigniting Selyn for its unique power in modern fashion arena

Selyn is Sri Lanka’s only Fair Trade guaranteed handloom company built on the philosophy of sustainability and empowerment of rural communities; especially women. The brand has built a reputation that is known for leading the way with its social enterprise model, however due to a lack of consistent marketing, neither Selyn’s product strengths nor its social contribution were widely known by the Sri Lankan shopper.
The agency began its relationship with Selyn when invited to create a campaign in celebration of the brand’s 26th anniversary. Identifying a need to revive an old traditional brand and reignite its unique power in a modern fashion arena, we began the process by taking on Selyn and embodying the brand as our own. Instead of simply developing an anniversary campaign, we created a complete brand evolution using Selyn’s roots as our foundation.

In re-designing the brand, we helped the market interpreted Selyn as per its reason for being: a brand by women for women, empowering women. The new logo portrays the Selyn philosophy, with an illustrative representation of three women rooted together and rising in growth; it is a visualization of strong traditional foundations and the support of a sisterhood.

Along with the new logo came a tagline – Craft to Empower – to encapsulate the brand’s philosophy and extend beyond the generic handloom identity.

To honour the brand’s 26th anniversary of empowering Sri Lankan women, the sub-label “STHRIbySelyn” was launched. STHRI is empowered fashion collections of versatile, everyday wear designed by prominent independent local and international designers, that celebrates the everyday woman in all her unapologetic glory. The collection was photographed for it’s launch campaign at the birthplace of Selyn in Kurunegala, Sri Lanka and the brand was officially launched to the public with a special fashion show in Colombo.

The show featured progressive, female opinion leaders models of all shapes and sizes, all who volunteered to take to the ramp for the empowered cause

that Selyn stands for. With fashion guru guests and critics among the audience mix, the show took place at Park Street Mews, even grabbing the attention of passersby. The event earned considerable free media due to its cause, which went viral garnering attention that we didn’t quite expect. Through pictures and talk about the show, customers wanted their hands on their own piece of Sthri. Staff at Selyn was kept busy responding to eager customers. Three days later, the entire collection was sold out and barely a month later, STHRIbySelyn bagged the Campaign Award at the Good Market Annual Awards 2017.

The campaign was extended thereafter to the Selyn stores, where our brand reinvention was conveyed through visual merchandising, tags and labels, catalogue shoots, ongoing digital campaigns and collateral.

With the collection up and thriving, we decided to continue the hype and message of empowerment that surrounded the brand. Amidst the controversial topic of body shaming for publicity and in honor of International Women’s Day, we collaborated on a proactive project with international film photographer Chris Burgess to bring to life another empowerment project. Volunteer models of all ages and backgrounds from across the island came together to portray the strength and beauty of a

woman that extends behind their exterior. An online photo gallery was put up for viewing on International Women’s Day 2018 along with an inspirational video conveying a strong message about self-love.

With significant PR and consistent innovation along our theme of an empowered sisterhood, Selyn has over the two years since it’s revival, gone from strength to strength to transition from a simple handloom shop into a movement.

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This content has been produced within the framework of the EU-Sri Lanka Trade Related Assurance Project, funded by the European Union and implemented by ITC and UNIDO in partnership with the Government of Sri Lanka.

Island of Ingenuity is a collective of the knowledge services industry in Sri Lanka, whose ethos is to provide inventive solutions through proactive and flexible customer engagement. It is endorsed by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board, Sri Lanka Board of Investment, Sri Lanka Association of Software and Service Companies, Information & Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka and Federation of Information Technology of Sri Lanka.