What does the name SRI mean?
SRI has a Sanskrit origin which symbolises grace, splendour, wealth and prosperity. It was important to me that the name encapsulates the brand’s heritage as being one that originates from the Orient, and I wanted a word that would be relatable to the brand and wearers of SRI. It also happens to be the first three letters of my last name.
You previously launched Gold Bar, a luxury natural skincare brand based in Thailand. What made you want to create your own fragrance brand?
It was really when we opened our first Gold Bar store in Dubai that I fell in love with fragrance. I was fascinated by the way perfumes were viewed and presented in the region, and it’s embeddedness in the Arabic culture. One of my favourite traditions is that in Arabic households, having a tray of perfume to welcome the guests is an important part of a family’s hospitality. I feel that’s very beautiful.
I felt though that the oud-based fragrances of the Middle East were either too similar to one another or too strong for those who, like myself, didn’t grow up with oud to fully enjoy.
I also saw that, because oud has been used in fragrance in the same way for generations, even those who are very familiar with oud are looking for something different. In particular, Middle Eastern millennials want something that’s not what their parents have always been wearing, or their parents’ parents.
SRI London’s gender-neutral, five piece collection was created to meet those needs and cater to those like me who are new to ouds and would like to appreciate it to its fullest.
Your fragrances are inspired by people you know. Can you briefly tell us about the person behind each of the fragrances?
The Amethyst person is someone you can depend on. They have no time for nonsense hence what you see is what you get. Their presence does not immediately command everyone’s attention as they don’t feel the need to demonstrate their power or influence, but this quiet dominance means they excel in everything they do and can charm with just a glance or a hint of a smile.
The Magenta person is one with whom you have an uncontrollable addiction to. It’s that person who walks into the room who you can’t stop staring at and want to be close to. Something about this person draws you in like a magnet and toys with you, and just when you think you’ve figured out why that might be it slips away again and you’re back to square one.
Like their scent, the Sapphire person is bold, strong and distinctive. Yet, there is a comforting warmth and spiciness to them that makes them so desirable and seductive. They are fiercely independent and are someone that everyone wants to be with for as long as they can.
Life is a celebration for the Scarlet person. They love all the finer things and light up every room they enter. They are the embodiment of class and masters of poise, and will never shy away from being the centre of it all wherever they go.
Emerald people are born regal. They command attention for being who they are and will unsparingly use the fragrance as a tool to communicate their presence and leave a lasting impression. People hang on every word they say as they are slow and deliberate; each move is calculated and purposeful. They’re the epitome of perfection and the closest there is to royalty if they aren’t already.
What does fragrance mean to you?
I believe fragrance is a very personal accessory. It not only allows us to express our individualities without having to say anything at all, but also helps us feel good about ourselves. One of my favourite things about fragrance is its ability to let us shape-shift into whoever we want to be on a particular day or night.
Also, because our sense of smell is so closely tied to our memory, the way it allows us to relive certain moments and keep them alive I feel is such a wonderful thing.
What fragrances have had the biggest impact on you?
I would have to say oud fragrances because that was the beginning of it all for me. The rest is history.
What are your main pieces of wisdom when it comes to fragrance?
Get creative! Experiment with layering and don’t be afraid to mix up the ways you wear your perfume. You can really control how strongly or subtly you smell of any fragrance – much like make-up really (your standard eyeliner can be put on as it is, or smudged for a smokey effect depending on what you want). For example, if you’d like a more understated effect with a fragrance, the classic perfume cloud is the best thing for it. Just spray a couple times in front of you and walk through.
Oud is a key characteristic in each of the SRI London perfumes. What made you want to explore this particular note?
Multiple things really. Its cultural significance in the Middle East, the way it’s used and presented… Though I felt that there wasn’t much variety in the way it’s used in fragrance, which is why I started learning more about perfumery and began experimenting. Also, I learned that the best oud comes from Thailand, where I’m from, along its borders with Cambodia.
What makes SRI London stand out from other fragrance brands?
We offer what I like to describe as ‘not your typical ouds’. I think the way that oud fragrances have been for the longest time has somewhat given it a bad rep for those who haven’t grown up with oud, and therefore aren’t as accustomed to the scent. It’s also been presented in fragrance in the same way for so long that even those who are very familiar with oud are looking for something different. SRI London offers a new, refreshing perspective on oud, with scents that are more modern and nuanced.
The SRI London fragrances are available at Harrods. Where do you like to shop in London?
I tend to shop more online, but my all-time favourite store to spend time in has to be Harrods. It’s such a magical place and you have such a great feeling just walking through its halls. It also has what to me is the most wonderful collection of fragrances. I can easily spend too much time going through them all!
What is next for the SRI London brand?
Exciting things are coming but I’m not giving any spoilers! You’ll have to wait and see.