5-11 February 2016 #794

Living the dream

Rendezvous with Sanyukta Shrestha, a bridal wear designer with a conscience
Smriti Basnet

For London based bridal wear designer Sanyukta Shrestha, being in fashion isn’t just a nine-to-five job – it’s a way of life. A typical day begins with a team meeting, followed by a string of strenuous discussions with brides-to-be to finalise the perfect size, shape and style of their wedding gowns.  

Despite the constant stress of work, the 34-year-old is always in pursuit of new goals. Her unremitting dedication and elegant designs have earned her nominations for Best Bridal Designer and Best Bridal Collection for the 2016 UK Wedding Awards.  “My desire was always to bring out the inner beauty within every woman and to be able to do that on the biggest, most important day of a woman’s life is truly fulfilling for me,” she says. 

Following the lead of her older sister’s interest in literature and women’s rights, Shrestha found solace in the world of liberal arts. Most of her childhood memories, she recalls, are of listening to poetry, attending literary festivals, and frequenting book launches and charity events with her sister. “I was determined that whatever I do in my career has to be in the creative sector,” she shares. 

The 34 year old left Nepal in 2004 to pursue her post graduate degree. She now runs her own flagship boutique in London

That determination led Shrestha to the Lakhotia Fashion Institute in Nepal, where after graduating, she moved to the UK for postgraduate studies at the London College of Fashion. Today she runs her flagship boutique in London and her collection can be found in bridal boutiques across the UK and Ireland. Shrestha’s designs are inspired from heartfelt interactions she has had with her clientele. “In my collections I capture the dreams and stories that brides have shared with me over the years,” she says.

However, Shrestha’s work is not only about keeping up with the latest fashion trend, but also about making a conscious effort to give back to society. “I make sure the production process of my collection is ethical and as eco-friendly as possible,” she says. 

All hand-loomed organic cotton and bamboo fabrics used in her collections come from the Tulsi Mehar Mahila Ashram in Nepal.

Having volunteered with the Women’s Rehabilitation Centre Nepal and World Wildlife Fund Nepal in her youth, she was inspired to use sustainable fabrics and source them from fair trade certified manufacturers for her designs. She uses materials like hemp, organic silk, organic cotton, bamboo, and lace.

“Sanyukta Shrestha is beauty with a conscience. That is our ethos and the main message we deliver with every gown,” she says. All hand-loomed organic cotton and bamboo fabrics come from Tulsi Mehar Mahila Ashram, and the fabric used for her hat collection is sourced from other villages in Nepal. More cutting-edge ecofibres are sourced from Italy and France. Shrestha now plans to bring her clothing line over to Nepal. “I have great plans and I would love to expand globally. But one can’t rush things; the business has to grow gradually and continuously,” she said.

Shrestha with her daughter during one of her shows.

Even while keeping her nose to the grindstone, Shrestha is grateful for the full support of her family and makes sure to set aside ample time for them. “I love being with my little daughter Ameya and my husband. I think my family life is the perfect balance to my work life,” she added. Nonetheless for Shrestha, her work will never stop being an integral part of her life. Her determination for greatness never ceases, even in her sleep. “I am a very vivid dreamer – I find inspirations in my dreams at night.”

To vote for Sanyukta:

visit www.hitched.co.ukawards or 

www.sanyuktashrestha.com 

Voting closes on 11 February 2016.

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