Tucked away in an alley to the north of Kathmandu lies designer Tenzing Yangkyi Shrestha’s (pic, above) studio, a small attic-like space where she works on her fashion compositions, popularly sold under the label of ‘Teyang’.
Teyang is the reduction of her name and Shrestha says it allows her the opportunity to break free from being identified as a Nepali or Tibetan designer.
Shrestha graduated from the University of Northhampton and spent two years interning in London before heading back to Nepal. Lacking the foundation that most people enter designing school with, Shrestha found her formative years in university to be quite challenging.
“Most of my colleagues at university already had a taste of what they were getting into since they branched out immediately out of high school. I just about knew how to thread a needle,” recalls the 26–year–old, who has worked in close association with House of Fashion and has organised her own shows.
As a child, Shrestha was enamoured by the lavish flowing gowns and dresses. She remembers that was what sparked her initial interest in dress designing, but that is not what made her stay on in graduate school.
Pics: Prakat Khati
She was naïve enough to think that all fashion entailed was glamour, ball gowns, pretty dresses and fancy ribbons, only to encounter the messy and demanding world of construction.
“What attracted me to fashion and the reason I stayed on and eventually took on to garment designing are completely different,” she says. “Designing school changed the way I looked at things. I understood the amount of work that went into conceptualising and constructing a piece of clothing. I fell in love with the creative process, and stayed on.”
Once back in Nepal, Shrestha grappled to establish a customer base. Her designs were minimalist with only one idea per clothing. But Kathmandu banked largely on readymade garments for daily wear and turned to designers only for elaborate, festival clothing.
“I was trying to introduce a very minimalistic approach to fashion. But the construction of a garment, however basic, entails extensive construction and great detailing and the end product isn’t always inexpensive. When a piece of clothing is flamboyant, or dramatic and there is a lot going on, it looks expensive and people want to pay more ,” said Shrestha, who found out that social media was the most effective way to showcase designs and garner publicity.
In addition to social media platforms, her designs are also showcased in her flagship store at Nag Pokhari, a neat, sparsely-laid out store that complements its collection. Shrestha is happy with the progress she has made and is looking forward to many more creative ventures.
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