Daily FT

Urban Island unveils unique handcrafted designs with first Toronto boutique

The line of Sri Lankan-designed and created homeware opens flagship store in luxurious Rosedale neighbourhood

Urban Island, a brand with a compelling 16-year journey that began at a design school in Sri Lanka, opened its first permanent boutique in Toronto’s charming Rosedale neighbourhood.

Urban Island’s story is one that embodies passion, craft and a commitment to making a difference. What started as a movement at the Academy of Design (AOD) in Sri Lanka has blossomed into a brand that seeks to share its vision with like-minded individuals and supporters.

At the heart of Urban Island’s mission is the fusion of design and artisan craftsmanship, creating distinct handmade lifestyle products. From homeware collections to fashion and accessories, Urban Island’s timeless, refined collections are meticulously crafted by women artisans in Sri Lanka. These artisans, many of whom work from their village homes, employ ageold techniques passed down through generations. Each product not only showcases exceptional design but also builds livelihoods, empowers women, and preserves cherished heritage crafts.

Urban Island takes pride in offering products that empower multiple communities and sustain traditional crafts. Through each purchase, customers become part of Urban Island’s mission to make a meaningful difference. Their brand motto, “The way you live is the way you give,” reflects their commitment to inspire customers to support the livelihoods of women.

Urban Island invites everyone to experience its unique handcrafted collections and join the movement of positive change. Discover how every purchase from Urban Island can transform lives and preserve heritage crafts.

Urban Island’s designs are crafted with pride by skilled female artisans in the villages of Sri Lanka. Through dedicated training, artisans employ traditional methods and sustainable materials, reducing waste and embracing their cultural heritage. By supporting Urban Island, customers become part of a movement that fosters sustainable livelihoods and positive change in Sri Lanka’s grassroot communities.

“Our purpose and mission revolve around designing and delivering opportunities that create sustainable livelihoods at the grassroot of Sri Lanka’s communities,” says Urban Island Founder Linda Speldewinde. “We are devoted to inspiring, educating, developing, and empowering all individuals who collaborate with Urban Island, ensuring they find pride and purpose in their craft. Through purchasing our products, our customers become part of the movement.”

The brand’s dedicated team of experts works closely with artisans, providing them with extensive training to create products using sustainable methods and materials. From recycling materials to reducing waste and adopting efficient transportation methods, Urban Island is dedicated to conserving the planet and making eco-conscious decisions.

The brand’s commitment to sustainability is evident in its preference for traditional yarn over modern synthetic yarns, allowing weavers to embrace their heritage fully. Urban Island’s exquisite handwoven throws, pillows, basketry, tableware, rugs, kitchenware, textiles, furniture, wall decor, and home accessories are meticulously made from sustainable materials in the gardens and homes of skilled female artisans.

Urban Island’s handwoven throws make the perfect gifts, all handwoven in the beautiful weaving village of Divulapitiya in the Western Province of Sri Lanka.

After introducing a training program to reintroduce traditional and contemporary interpretations to the large village community, each weaver works from home, working on their unique patterns and colourations while preparing the complex process of weaving and finishing.

Urban Island’s placemats are made with chunky hand woven cottons from weavers in the Gampaha region, simple and perfect for informal dining.

Basketware is made in the Jaffna area in the north of Sri Lanka where Urban Island established a women’s training program to support the post-conflict communities within the region. The dried leaves of the Palmyra trees are prepared by hand for dying and then woven into simply designed shapes for storage and the home. The collection retains the authentic, rustic roots of the local weaving with a new, refined look.

Urban Island is a unique line of beautifully designed products, handcrafted by skilled artisans of Sri Lanka. With a deep purpose and mission to transform hope into action, the brand works tirelessly to sustain dignified and productive livelihoods for the artisans, while also contributing to a better and more sustainable world. For more information, visit urbanislandofficial. com.






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