Remember when, for the first time in Sri Lanka, stores were filled with high-quality swimsuits that were both vibrant and sleek? That was all thanks to revolutionary swimsuit brand, RUMPUNCH and its creator, lead designer and co-founder, Rukshika Seneviratne.
RUMPUNCH is the result of my university graduate collection. At the time, I had no idea it would turn into my livelihood, but I believed in it. Despite the size of the product, there are a lot of facets involved when it comes to creating a second-skin garment like swimwear, from the design to colours to technicality to the thinking behind each type of stitch. After the graduate show, many loved it and wanted my pieces in their wardrobe. So, I thought to myself, ‘Why not? I’ll extend the range and have a pop-up at my place’. What happened next? I sold out in one hour! Boom! When we started 5 years ago, there was a lot of demand for well-designed and aesthetic swimwear, as people could only find the very conventional bikinis and speedos. That became our unique selling point.
My husband and I eventually left our day jobs and put our complete time and energy into RUMPUNCH. When we started, we were confident enough about the brand and its unique blueprint. If you take a look at our pieces, you’d notice that it’s colourful like our paradise island. People loved that aspect and, in Sri Lanka, where mixing colours in an outfit wasn’t a regular sight, we knew people will want to try it out, and they did. Another reason we incorporate bold shades into our brand mood board is because they represented who I am as a person — vibrant and positive! I knew my originality would be the last thing on earth to let me down and I wasn’t wrong.
Soon after we launched RUMPUNCH, Zalora Malaysia contacted us to retail our clothes on their site! It felt amazing to be the first Sri Lankan brand to retail on an international shopping site like Zalora. Shortly after, my husband moved to Singapore to pursue higher education, and we were living there for some time. I thought to myself, ‘Why don’t we launch RUMPUNCH here in Singapore?’. We started off with a styling session using our pieces; the best part was the knowledge we gave out wasn’t only for swimming, but also for dressing up the swimsuits for other day-to-day occasions. Our suits are made of water-resistant fabric, so even if you sweat, it’ll cool you down! So far, I’m happy we’ve been able to put Sri Lanka on the map to a certain extent. And expanding this reach even further is on our list of goals.
Right now, I’m back after giving birth to my first baby and I’m not torn between work and being a mom because the moment I found out I was pregnant, I pre-planned my life until July 2020. A large chunk of my work is pretty much done for the next few months, so let’s see what happens next.
Aside from my product, another thing that I’m proactively making a change in fashion is casting diverse models. Recently, we did a shoot with Sonali De Silva and Paloma Monnappa; I was in love with was the combination of a tall and petite model to help our consumers of different heights visualize how the outfit will look on them. In the past, I’ve worked on a special shoot with a group of friends with diverse body images. I’d love to see the local casting industry actively invite models of different colour, height, and size for all kinds of modelling projects, including runway.
If you’re dreaming of making a splash in the swimwear industry, first learn the product. This piece of clothing is more complicated than you could ever expect it to be, so even if you need to go to a factory to learn it, don’t hold back. Working in the creative industry will bring you a lot of criticism—I get it too and take it positively—but it’s only a comment, and all you can do is learn from it and not take it personally.
Photography: Amitha Thennakoon. Hair And Make-Up: Art By Ashradha. Fashion: Sumaiya Shuaibdeen. Beauty: Iman Saleem. Art Direction: Ricardo De Silva. Editor-In-Chief: Shihaam Hassanali
Rukshi wears: Dress, Armani Exchange. Earrings, Mango
Sharanya wears: Top, Sharanya’s Own. Skirt: Lëila available at Raaya Clothing & Accessories. Necklace, Raaya Clothing & Accessories.
Shana wears: Dress, Anuk available at PR. Earrings & Ring, Cher By Chevonne available at PR