Embark, entrepreneur philanthropist Otara Gunewardene’s unique fashion brand with a cause, has forayed into independent retail with the opening of its first standalone store in Sri Lanka in the picturesque Galle Fort.
With a completely new look, the 5,500 square foot vibrant Embark store at 33, Lighthouse Street brings to life the pooch-inspired themes of the brand and features new additions to the collection of stylish clothing, footwear and accessories for men, women and children.
Niko, the street pooch adopted by founder Otara Gunewardene whose stylised image has become an indelible symbol for the Embark label, is accorded pride of place in the new store via ‘Coffee with Niko’ – a stylish café for customers.
The décor of the store is also dominated by Niko and his best friends Bandit and Rozzy, later additions to Otara Gunewardene’s family of dogs adopted off the street, and the inspirations behind Embark collections of clothing and accessories.
“All of us at Embark are so excited to be able to open our first standalone store. Each day we work hard to give a better life to many dogs in need, and the communities they live in. With this store we hope we will be able to contribute to doing more in the years ahead as a lot of the work we do is supported by the profits from the sales of the brand. By buying an Embark product a customer is able to directly help a street dog in need,” Gunewardene said.
“Galle is a fascinating location for retail and an ideal setting for exposing the brand to people from all over the world. We are therefore delighted to open our first standalone Embark store in the Galle Fort.”
The new Embark store will be open seven days a week from 9am to 9 pm.
Launched in 2007, the main aim of the fashion brand has been to promote a culture of love and compassion for all living beings. Embark has been responsible for changing the way communities in Sri Lanka interact with strays through country-wide programmes of anti-rabies vaccination, sterilisation, animal rescue and treatment, puppy adoptions and educational programmes and by making the street dog fashionable to own.
In the eight years since its inception, Embark has evolved into a fashion brand with a large following in Sri Lanka and overseas that not only wears or uses the label’s clothing, accessories, back to school items and canine products, but also lives the cause by adopting a dog in need instead of buying one.
Embark’s activities are mostly funded by proceeds from the sale of Embark products. The label and its work with community animals has attracted both local international appreciation, and given a platform to a very special Sri Lankan breed of dog which was otherwise unwanted and mostly unloved.